With the holidays behind us and the dead of winter upon us, many homeowners tend to stay busy by turning their attention to various indoor projects around the home. A project worth thinking about for the new year is whole home health improvement.
We’ve often discussed how the damp conditions typically present in basements and crawl spaces provide an ideal place for the growth of mold. Exposure to mold spores is known to trigger a variety of allergic reactions. For asthma sufferers, such exposure may sometimes be enough to trigger an attack.
The Mother Nature Network website identifies some of the more common symptoms of mold allergies. These symptoms include itchy and/or watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, a stuffy/runny nose, wheezing and rash or hives.
When the combination of the above symptoms persists year round, this may be an indication that they are being caused by exposure to mold, as opposed to just seasonal allergies. The most effective way to prevent mold allergies is by addressing the mold itself. While small things like a leaking crack in the basement wall and/or floor may be taken for granted, such infiltration of water is actually part of the problem. The leaking water turns into moisture, which mold feeds off of. If you’ve experienced a basement flood in the past, the leftover ramifications often result in the growth of mold, especially in carpeted areas and behind dry wall.
These problems may be avoided by properly addressing them from the very beginning; or by taking the necessary precautions to minimize problems down the road. As soon as a crack becomes visible in the foundation, the low pressure injection of a liquid polymer (epoxy or polyurethane) can properly fill that crack within one day. If water is coming through cracks in the floor, that is a sign of a problem with the drain tile system, assuming there is one. The chance of a basement flood may be minimized by backing up the primary sump pump with a fully-powered battery backup system. Emecole has contractors around the United States and Canada available to help with such problems.
In addition, the Mother Nature Network offers a few additional smaller-scale ideas. Storage items from the basement or crawl space should be thoroughly wiped down before being brought upstairs (a good example would be holiday decorations). A natural way to kill mold is to wipe down any items with plain white vinegar.
The Colorodan (a newspaper from Northern Colorado) has a similar article on their website about controlling humidity levels within the home. During the winter months, a humidifier will help keep the home from becoming too dry. The recommended level according to their source, allergist Dr. Joseph Leija, should be no higher than 48 to 50 percent.
While musty smells are often taken for granted in basements and crawl spaces, they typically are an indicator that moisture is present. With the combination of removing existing mold and by taking the necessary steps to minimize future growth, homeowners can enjoy healthier lives, in 2011 and beyond.