Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
There is no doubt Ontario has had a run of memorably stormy winter weather lately.
At just the point in the season when most of us are starting to look forward to spring, with its warmer temperatures and outdoor adventures, instead we got whooped with a giant wave of rain, sleet, hail, snow, and generally dangerous weather conditioners.
Part of adjusting to unexpected and unseasonal wet weather is taking precautions against the growth of mould and mildew that can lead to allergies, asthma attacks, and respiratory illness.
Localized flooding as well as ongoing wet weather can create conditions ripe for mould and mildew colonies to form both indoors and outdoors. Basements, attics, garages, outdoor work and storage spaces, and other vulnerable areas can harbor these colonies and protect them while they grow and spread.
In this article, we take a look at how to keep your indoor humidity levels balanced so mould and mildew don’t have a chance to gain a foothold!
Urgent Storm Cleanup to Stop Mould In Its Tracks
Once the wet weather passes, there is no time to waste in making your home inhospitable to mould and mildew.
1. Do a visual inspection
The first step is to do a visual inspection of your home premises. This may seem obvious, but consider if moisture may have entered your home through smaller cracks and crevices or even via loose or damaged areas.
In particular, head to the basement, attic, and outdoor garage or sheds to take a look around. Feel for damp interior areas along the floorboards, walls, and around windows and doors.
Also use your nose: it may be too early to smell mould and mildew, but if you detect any whiffs of stale, dank, musty, or “grassy” odours, these can also be warning signs that colonies have begun to grow.
2. Remove any waterlogged or water-damaged items
Examine lawn furniture cushions, outdoor mats, entryway rugs, and pads and any other items that can harbour mould and mildew. Discard those that can’t be completely cleaned and sanitized.
Ultraviolet light from the sun is still the number one best purifier and decontaminant there is, so for those items you do want to salvage, place them in direct sunlight so they can dry completely before reusing them.
3. Carefully clean and sanitize any small areas of mould or mildew
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states it is usually safe to proceed with do-it-yourself cleanup for small areas of mould or mildew that measure less than 10 square feet (0.92 square meters).
You can use a solution of 1 half-cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water to clean and disinfect these small colonies. But be aware that you must keep that area completely dry to ensure the mould does not return and spread! Using fans, dehumidifiers, your air conditioner, or local desiccants can also help keep the area dry.
For larger areas of mould and mildew, the EPA recommends hiring a professional mould cleaning specialist.
Preventative Measures to Keep Mould Away
Severe weather over the winter and in spring can often cause damage to roofing, siding, or flooring that can allow moisture to seep in and bring mould and mildew along with it.
In particular, when moisture gets in through the roof, it can then cause damage to your air ducts and HVAC system. Sometimes, this mould and mildew stays invisible until the colonies become sufficiently established to start emitting their trademark musty, dank, damp smell.
By this time, you may have a major remediation project on your hands!
Luckily, there are steps to take to help you stop mould and mildew before the situation becomes too dangerous for you and your family to remain in your home.
1. Schedule a professional indoor air quality test
A professional indoor air quality test is not the major undertaking it may sound like it is! This test is really quiet and won’t interrupt your daily home life at all.
We install air quality monitors in an unobtrusive location. These monitors run continuously for 72 hours, taking small samples of your indoor air and testing them for airborne contaminants, toxins, and pollutants.
At the end of the 72-hour period, the air quality meter generates a full-color printout of all detected toxins along with remediation recommendations, if applicable. If you have mould and mildew growing inside your home space, this test will let you know it!
2. Schedule an indoor air duct cleaning
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly advises against running your HVAC system (air conditioner or heater) if you even suspect there is trapped mould or mildew inside it.
A professional indoor air duct cleaning is the only method that can remove all trapped mould and mildew spores safely and permanently.
3. Install appropriate preventative indoor air quality equipment
Once you have cleaned and remediated your indoor air and your home space, you will want reassurance that mould and mildew cannot gain a foothold in the future.
We also recommend retrofitting your HVAC system with a heat recovery ventilator to keep your indoor air humidity balanced seasonally.
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Contact us online, or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn more!