A Minnesota Guide to Sighting and Fighting Mold

The bane of every homeowner: unsightly, unsanitary, and unbecoming sight of mold. As Minnesotans, we experience intense rain in summer months and fast thaws in the spring, both of which can lead to extra moisture in and around our homes. If you suspect mold in or near your home take into consideration a comprehensive strategy rather than jumping right into the battle. We’ve got the tips you’ll need to get rid and keep mold away.  

1. Pay attention.

Before mold even has a chance to appear, look for signs that often lead to it and address them before it becomes a large scale problem. The first sign of trouble is dampness or water around the house. This may be in the bathroom and kitchen, but also any other room as well. Dampness may be along floor boards or present itself as discoloration on the ceiling originating from a leak located on the floor above or along the building’s exterior. Discolored furnishings are also revealing signs of leaks.

2. Check the attic.

When was the last time you were in your attic? It’s important to visit the often forgotten room for an inspection every once in a while. Take a look around and make note of any dampness, water stains, or mold beginning to form. Pay particular attention to roof decking, the floor joists, and even underneath and behind insulation. Among mold’s favorite places to loiter are the paper backing on fiberglass insulation and the organic material deposited between the fiberglass strands.

3. Inspect the roof and ceilings.

After inspecting the attic, move to the roof and ceilings. A leaking roof is a fast avenue toward a moldy attic. In addition to the obvious cracks or holes, also check that the proper flashing is installed around vent pipes and air conditioning units. This will help direct drainage off the roof – and keep it out of your home.

4. Seasonally change the humidity levels in your home.

Invest in a de-humidifier if it’s not already built into your HVAC system to keep humidity levels below 50%. Anything higher can create enough dampness, the perfect environment for mold.

5. Slope away.

The sloping around your home and surrounding buildings should be angled downward and away from the structure. If the ground slopes towards the structure, rain water can collect at the base causing dampness around the structure where mold may grow. If you suspect that there’s a drainage issue within the community, contact your property management company to investigate. (click here to read about community drainage risks)

6. Trim regularly.

When trees and shrubs become overgrown, dead leaves and underbrush create a shady, moist place for mold to grow. If you leave the overgrowth of foliage near your home and mold is forming, the tiny spores can travel into your home through nearby windows and doors. 

7. Don’t wait, take action.

It’s important that mold be managed by a qualified professional in order to fully determine the extent of the problem. The inspector will use a digital hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in different areas of your Minnesota home to pinpoint the spots most conducive to mold. They may also take core samples from affected areas in order to identify the type of mold. Lab tests will identify the mold to help determine a custom plan to remedy the problem. If your community is managed by a professional management company, then your community or association manager will be able to refer you to a qualified inspector in the area to complete the above tasks.
The most important information to take from this is that mold loves moisture. Leaks, flooding and humidity levels all conspire to create the perfect conditions that can result in mold infestations. Taking swift action to repair the causes of moisture and eliminating the mold itself go hand in hand. For more information on mold remediation and other helpful tips, contact FirstService Residential.

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