Four Quick Tips for Preventing Mold After All This Rain
So much for white Christmases and winter wonderlands this winter. Thanks to El Niño, a periodic worldwide weather influencing band of warm water in the Pacific Ocean we have had a weird, warm, wet December here in North Carolina.
As of December 29th, rainfall totals are 1.57 inches above the normal amount for December at RDU. Since October 1st, totals are a whopping 6.76 inches above normal. With another 1-2 inches or more anticipated by the end of the day (12/30), many homeowners are going to be battling with mold development in the coming days and weeks.
It’s not just the rain, there has been an unusual amount of summer-like humidity this month, so even when precipitation is not actively falling from the sky, our homes and yards have not had an opportunity to dry. Further, though we have experienced unseasonably warm temperatures, HVAC units often remain dormant when the air is mild. Humidity is allowed to persist in the home when the air conditioning is not running.
Mold thrives when moisture is in excess. Whenever the rain stops (assuming it will one day), here are four quick tips to help prevent the development of harmful mold.
1) Check Your Crawlspace
Crawlspaces can be a major culprit for mold development. When the rain stops, grab a flashlight and look inside your crawlspace for standing water or evidence of lingering moisture. Standing water will most likely be in the lowest places under your home; however, it could be anywhere, so make sure you thoroughly examine the entire area.
Even if there is not water ponding underneath your home, you may see moist places on your foundation, which can also lead to mold development. Any moisture underneath your home is worth calling a professional for further examination.
2) Check the Drainage Around Your Foundation
Rain runoff should drain away from your home. If there is standing water near your home’s foundation after all this rainfall, especially if it lingers for several days, it could result in major, expensive issues down the road. Persistent drainage issues and ponding water could lead to condensation in your crawlspace or basement, and where there is moisture, mold can develop.
Unless you live in a castle surrounded by a moat, call a professional if you have water ponding around the base of your home.
3) Check Your Attic, Roof, Soffit, and Gutters
With this much rain, the slightest roof leak can lead to major moisture and mold problems. When the weather settles down:
- Look in your attic for signs of moisture or water damage. Look especially in corner and around vents.
- Check to make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris. Gutters can back up and cause water damage around the roof and lead to ponding around the foundation.
- Check the roof for missing or discolored shingles, soft spots, and any other visible damage.
- Check the soffit for signs of water damage, rot, and mold.
If there is water damage up high, it means mold may be nigh. If you find any signs of water damage or leakage in and around your attic or roof, call a professional immediately.
4) Check Your Indoor Moisture/Humidity
One of the major functions of your heating and air conditioning system is the dehumidification of your home. When your HVAC system is not running, your home is not being dehumidified and moisture is allowed to collect in areas prone to it: bathrooms, kitchens, basements, etc.
Check those moisture prone areas in your home for signs of excess, and run your air conditioning some while it is still mild. If you see signs of mold development, contact a professional immediately.