When you first move into a new apartment or home, moisture and mold growth are probably the last things on your mind. You might have been surprised to see prevention tips mentioned in your lease agreement. However, if you've just moved to an area with high humidity and rapid temperature changes, you might find yourself battling moisture damage and mold growth. If you ignore these issues, it can lead to extensive damage of facilities, furniture, and put your health at risk. Here are a few ways that you can be proactive as a tenant to reduce these risks.
Check for Condensation
Moisture issues and mold growth typically begin when a window or wall begins to form condensation. If this moisture is left to collect over a period of time, then it can cause mold spores to grow on nearby fixtures and surfaces. Before it gets to this point, you should take care to wipe up condensation on your windows and dry up this moisture. Never ignore condensation, because the water can collect and drip onto valuable items and lead to water damage.
You can regulate humidity levels in your home by cross ventilating a space. Stagnant air and moisture causes the perfect environment for mold growth, so you just need to introduce some air circulation. Open up two windows on either side of a room or home, so that air can flow through the entire space. You don't need to open the windows completely – a few inches should be sufficient. If the affected area is nowhere near a window (such as a basement), use a fan or heater to circulate air within the space. Whenever you take a shower or cook, switch on the bathroom or kitchen fans to pull away steam that can form condensation. These small ventilations techniques can make a dramatic difference when it comes to reducing humidity in your home.
Some climates are just naturally very humid, and it can be difficult to get the environment to change. You might wish to purchase a small, portable dehumidifier for problematic spaces. This is a machine that circulates air and removes moisture, actually reducing the humidity in a space. Many people with allergies and breathing problems will use a dehumidifier in the bedroom, since some models have HEPA allergy filters.
Notify Your Landlord
If you notice mold currently growing inside of your dwelling, you will need to get it cleaned up. It can be very dangerous to do this on your own, especially if you don't have the proper particle mask. Renters should contact their landlord to learn about mold cleanup options, since spores can spread onto other belongings quickly. Use the aforementioned techniques to reduce the spread. Your landlord should also send an inspector to see what the source of the moisture is – if mold is being caused by leaks or fault piping, these issue will need to be addressed first before you can move forward with a full mold cleanup. You should also look into replacing damaged floorboards and areas that have been affected by moisture.
Moisture damage and mold growth in the home should never be taken lightly. They can lead to serious financial and health issues down the line. Ventilation, reducing humidity, and addressing current mold growth can ensure that you have a better experience at home.