Just the thought of living in a home with mold is enough to strike fear in the minds of most homeowners. Given the health risks and property damage that mold can cause, the experts at ServiceMaster Restore say it is important for homeowners to know how to identify mold on their property, learn where it thrives and understand the best ways to eliminate it from their homes.
Recently, the company is unveiled the results of its 2016 ServiceMaster Restore Franchisee Mold Remediation Survey, in which more than 250 trained and experienced franchise owners shared their expertise about this dangerous and costly issue that affects homes and businesses across the country.
"Mold isn't something most people think about until they experience it in their own home," says Peter Duncanson, director of system development at ServiceMaster Restore and chairman of the board of directors for The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). "It's important to beat mold at its own game -- this means taking steps to prevent mold from growing or calling in an expert right away to stop mold in its tracks once it begins to grow in your home."
According to the survey, many people believe they can kill mold on their own using powerful over-the-counter cleaners such as bleach; however, Duncanson says this is not true.
"Many retail products will change how mold looks, and you might think it's gone because you don't see it," Duncanson says. "But, the only way to get rid of mold completely and safely -- and to be sure you're protecting your property and health from additional risk -- is to have trained professionals physically remove it from the affected area."
According to the EPA, potential health effects associated with mold include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints, as well as irritation to the eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs. By living with mold, homeowners are exposed to these potential health risks.
Looking for Mold in All the Right Places
- More than half of ServiceMaster Restore survey respondents said that basements (64 percent) and bathrooms (58 percent) are the rooms where mold is most likely to be present.
- Common locations vary by region, say respondents, who also noted that in the Midwest and Northeast, mold is found most often in basements, whereas in the South and West, it is found most commonly in bathrooms.
- Nearly two-fifths (39 percent) say running the exhaust fan during showers is the most effective way to prevent mold in the bathroom.
- Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say properly maintaining ventilation throughout the home is paramount in preventing mold growth.
Top 10 Must-Know Mold Tips
To help homeowners who are facing mold damage or are eager to avoid it, Duncanson and the team of experts at ServiceMaster Restore have shared the top 10 things homeowners should do (or not do) in the fight against mold:
- The best defenses against mold are to take away its food source, ensure adequate airflow and reduce moisture in the air.
- Don't rely on retail products, such as bleaches that promise to kill mold, especially on porous surfaces.
- Vacuum vents every month to remove dust, a primary food source for mold. If you have central heating and air, remember to clean the baseboards, floorboards and bathroom vents, as well.
- If mold is visible, don't use a consumer vacuum to remove it. This includes wet/dry vacuums, which can actually make a mold issue even worse.
- If you see mold in an area, do not use a fan to dry things out. Call a professional, as you will likely spread mold spores and create the potential for even more damage.
- To reduce moisture and control ventilation in the bathroom, run an exhaust fan during a shower or open the door and windows in the bathroom after using it.
- Consider investing in small household de-humidifiers to reduce moisture. If you have a large home or business, you may need more than one.
- If you have terrariums and plants, be aware that these can be food sources for mold.
- Don't ignore the problem. Signs of mold could indicate the presence of larger issues that may cause health risks.
- If you suspect mold, call a trained professional, like those from ServiceMaster Restore, with the expertise and resources to restore your home to normal and prevent costlier damage.
For more information, visit ServiceMasterRestore.com.