Mold and Mildew
Molds and mildews are fungi that reproduce by releasing tiny spores into the air. If the spores land on moist objects, they will likely begin to grow and eventually release more spores. We encounter mold and mildew every day, inside and outside, but we certainly don't want to find them growing in our homes.
Some molds, like
There have been cases in which homeowners have burned down their homes, and everything in them, because they felt that it was the only way to get rid of the mold. The real-estate community has had a surge of liability issues involving toxic black mold. Juries have awarded large sums of money to homeowners whose insurance agencies did not pay for moisture-related repairs in time for mold to be eradicated. The problem was so severe for a while that some insurance companies put a moratorium on issuing coverage for mold-related problems.
Mold is a hot topic with buyers and tenants, so it's critical to take care of it immediately if your home or other property is affected. Even if the mold in your investment property is not toxic mold, it can still be a problem because mold growing on organic materials will destroy them if left unchecked. Too much mold or mildew of any type smells bad and degrades air quality — and odors are one of the biggest buyer turnoffs you'll encounter.
Mold and Mildew Prevention Tips
The best way to control mold and mildew is to prevent it from occurring. Use these tips to protect your property:
Install an exhaust fan.
Repair leaky water pipes.
Fix roof leaks.
Clean up flood waters as quickly as possible.
Vent clothes dryers and exhaust fans to the outside, never under the house or back into a room.
Don't use carpeting in damp areas.
Install storm windows to eliminate condensation on glass; insulate pipes and other cold surfaces for the same reason.
Ventilate the structure's crawlspace and cover crawlspace dirt with plastic.
Keep your eyes open for mold and mildew growth. If you find it, try to determine why it is growing and make changes to eliminate the cause.
Cleaning off Mold and Mildew
Ventilate the room and clean visible mold and mildew with detergent and water. Allow it to dry, using fans to speed up the process. Finish by applying a solution of ½ cup bleach per gallon of water to help kill the remaining spores. Remember that mold and mildew will return unless you eliminate the problems that allowed it to thrive.
The EPA publishes a book for owners of larger buildings, called