Hurricanes: Mold - Protecting Against

Material provided by Federal Alliance for Safe Homes http://www.flash.org/

Maintain Your AC System

Regular maintenance, such as making sure your drain lines are clear, is essential. If you notice condensation, your system may not be dehumidifying adequately and you should consult a repair professional. 

Don't Turn Off That AC!

You're leaving town for a few weeks, so turn the AC off and save some money, right? In warm and humid environments, the AC does more than cool things down, it de-humidifies. In humid periods this is critical. Turn it up but not off and keep the fan on at all times. Mold does not like dry air that circulates! The relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50% at all times. 

Check for Leaks

Water can get into your home in a variety of ways-cracks in walls, gaps in window flashings, leaky roofs (especially around chimneys and vents) and of course all of your plumbing systems. Inspect and repair these problems when they are first detected. 

Act Quickly

If you have a water leak, promptly shut off the water source and remove standing water and all moist materials. Consider contacting an emergency water removal company right away if you believe the amount of water may warrant expert attention. Remember to promptly report damage to your insurance company. 

Ventilate

Mold may grow fast in humid air. Ventilate rooms with a fan, particularly bathrooms and kitchens or crack open a window. 

Check Your Washing Machine Hoses

Every day there are stressed or cracked washing machine hoses that fail and flood homes. Replace them if signs of wear are showing. 

Replace That Worn Out Water Heater

These are infamous for flooding the inside of homes when a little rust on the side turns into a big leak. Replace it now if it is showing signs of deterioration. A drain pan will help properly dispose of any water from a leaky water heater. 

Open the Blinds

Mold likes dark, damp areas. Open the blinds and expose all of your rooms to sunlight periodically. 

Close the Shower Curtain

A wet, bunched up curtain traps moisture. Building codes require fans in bathrooms for a reason; turn them on during and after bathing or showering. 

Keep All Clothing Dry

A common mistake is to toss wet clothes in a hamper. Air-dry them first or wash right away.  Clean up and kill the mold. When it starts to grow, kill the mold immediately. Consult the EPA Mold Remediation guidelines. 

Board Up After Wind Damage

If your home sustains wind or other external damage from a storm, board it up promptly, especially during the rainy season. There are many emergency services that will do this for you. Materials such as plastic tarpaulins and plywood can be obtained at any local home improvement store. 

Eliminate Standing Water

Adequate drainage outside, adjacent to, and especially under your home is essential. Standing water under a home can cause high humidity levels inside and cause floors to warp and buckle.  "Moisture control is the key to mold control" according to the EPA. The EPA recommends keeping your household relative humidity between 30% and 50% and points out that you can monitor this with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at any home improvement stores.