How To Win the Mold War by Preventing Mold Growth
by Phillip Fry and Divine Montero,
mold consultants, Certified Environmental Hygienists,
Certified Mold Inspectors, and Certified Mold Remediators, published in the San Marcos Daily Report
newspaper, San Marcos, Texas, July 22, 2011, as posted at
The San Marcos Record, San
Marcos, Texas, Jul 22, 2011.
— Because any type of mold growth in elevated levels indoors can harm
occupant health, the prevention of indoor mold problems in Texas homes,
offices and workplaces can significantly improve the health well-being of
residents. Visit the
Here are 12 tips to prevent indoor mold problems in homes, condominiums,
apartments and other buildings, as recommended by Phillip Fry and Divine
Montero, Certified Environmental Hygienists, Certified Mold Inspectors,
Certified Mold Remediators, and co-managers of
1. Keep year-round indoor humidity to less than 60 percent through adequate
ventilation air movement and the use of air conditioning and dehumidifiers.
Indoor mold grows very well when the indoor relative humidity is above 70
percent. In addition, minimize the use of live indoor plants, which
facilitate mold growth and increase indoor humidity due to frequent
High Texas humidity (Gulf coast and East Texas areas); roof leaks; plumbing
leaks; basement wall, siding, and window water leaks; internal air
conditioning condensation/dust accumulation; and ground water wicking up
through concrete floors and inside crawl spaces (e.g., beneath manufactured
homes) are the major causes of Texas mold problems.
2. Keep indoor humidity levels low by never: (a) using a humidifier to
increase humidity; (b) hanging wet clothes, towels and linens to dry
indoors; and (c) taking a shower or bath without first turning on the
bathroom exhaust fan or opening a bathroom window to exhaust humid air to
3. Use a digital hygrometer to check humidity levels in all rooms and areas
of your house or condominium. Record the humidity percentage and the
measurement dates for each room in a journal or log book.
4. Clean window air conditioners, central air conditioning equipment and
ducts, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers at least every three months to get
rid of accumulated organic dust and dirt (good mold food) and mold growth.
Air conditioners: (a) enable mold to grow through the internal condensation
of water; (b) blow airborne mold spores into the indoor living area.
5. Install HEPA filters inside the heating/cooling air supply duct
registers, return air register, and the fresh air supply intake to capture
and remove airborne mold spores from the air flow. Use portable HEPA filter
air cleaners to remove airborne mold spores.
6. Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to vacuum carpeting and rugs and mop tile
floors daily to remove deposited/landed mold spores and dirt and dust (good
mold food). Use borax laundry detergent or boric acid powder in warm water
to wash down all walls, floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets and surfaces,
and furniture and appliances at least monthly for the same reason.
7. Mold test the outward air flow from window air conditioners and heating,
ventilation and air conditioning (hvac) duct registers and the air of each
room at least annually for elevated levels of airborne mold spores. You can
do it yourself with mold test kits from http://www.envirodetectives.com/mold_test_kits.htm.
8. Use your nose to detect mold problems: if you smell mold, there is mold
growing, whether visible or hidden, inside the air conditioning equipment
and ducts, walls, ceilings, attic and/or crawl space.
9. Inspect the roof, attic, exterior siding, ceilings, walls, floors, rugs
(both sides) wood furniture, and behind and beneath furniture on a regular
basis for water leaks, water stains, water damage and mold growth. Mold
causes visible discoloration of wood and other building materials. Mold can
be many colors including black, white, blue, green, white, yellow and pink.
10. Inspect inside the attic (the open space between ceilings and the roof),
crawl space beneath a building, basement, garage and exterior siding
regularly for water leaks, water stains, water damage and mold growth. Such
areas often have high humidity and water intrusion problems that drive mold
growth. Mold can then grow upward, downward, or sidewise into the adjoining
floors, ceilings and walls.
11. Inspect bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room plumbing areas (such as
inside and beneath sinks and sink cabinets) regularly for water leaks, water
damage and mold growth.
12. Monitor residents’ and employees’ health. Are family members, residents,
employees, guests and/or their pets suffering from health problems that may
be mold-related, such as chronic coughs or sneezing, sinus problems, chronic
tiredness, headaches, difficulty in remembering and thinking, skin rashes,
open skin sores, abnormal hair loss, chronic dandruff problems or breathing
If someone is suffering chronic health problems, such difficulties are a
possible sign that the residence, office or workplace should be
mold-inspected. Visit your doctor promptly for help with any health problem.
For inspection, use do it yourself
mold test kits or contact a Certified
Mould Inspector or Certified Environmental Hygienist.
Mr. Fry is author of five mold advice ebooks: Mold Monsters; Mold Health
Guide; Mold Legal Guide; Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Inspection, Testing,
Remediation, and Prevention; and Mold Home Remedy Recipes, all available for
purchase and download from