What can be done to control moisture in my home and prevent mold from growing?
The following excerpt was taken from the American Lung Association and the U.S. consumer Product Safety Commisions publication Biological Pollutants In Your Home:
Fix leaks and seepage immediately. * If water is entering your house from the outside, your options range from simple landscaping to extensive excavation and waterproofing. Make sure that the ground slopes away from the house. * Water in the basement can result from the lack of gutters or a water flow toward the house. * Water leaks in pipes or around tubs and sinks can provide a place for biological pollutants to grow. * Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well ventilated. * Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic). Vent your clothes dryer to the outside. * Turn off appliances such as humidifiers or kerosene heaters if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces. * Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air. Be sure that the appliances themselves are not sources of biological pollutants. * Raise the temperature of cold surfaces where moisture condenses. Use insulation or storm windows. Keep in mind that a storm window installed on the inside is more effective than one installed on the outside. * Open doors between rooms, especially doors to closets which may be colder than the rooms. This increases circulation which carries heat to the cold surfaces. Further increase circulation by using fans and by moving furniture away wall and corners. * Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home. * Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and become a breeding ground for biological pollutants. Use area rugs–check them frequently and wash them often. In certain climates, if carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem. Moisture problems and their solutions differ from one climate to another. The Northeast is cold and wet while the Southwest is hot and dry. The South is hot and wet, and the Western Mountain states are cold and dry. All of these regions can have moisture problems. For example, evaporative coolers used in the Southwest can encourage the growth of biological pollutants. In other hot regions, the use of air conditioners which cool the air too quickly may prevent the air conditioners from running long enough to remove excess moisture from the air. The types of construction and weatherization for the different climates can lead to different problems and solutions.