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"12 Tips To Prevent Indoor Mold" by mold experts Fry and Montero,

published in the Hong Kong daily newspaper The Standard, July 21, 2011


http://www.thestandard.com.hk/images/print_header.gif

 Hong Kong http://www.thestandard.com.hk

Breaking the mold

The black spots on your walls are more than just unsightly. Because any type of mold growth in elevated levels indoors can harm the occupants' health, prevention can significantly improve the well- being of residents. Here are the top 12 tips to prevent indoor mold:

by Phillip Fry and Divine Montero

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The black spots on your walls are more than just unsightly. Because any type of mold growth in elevated levels indoors can harm the occupants' health, prevention can significantly improve the well- being of residents. Here are the top 12 tips to prevent indoor mold:

Keep year-round indoor humidity to less than 60 percent. Adequate ventilation, air-conditioning and dehumidifiers can help. Indoor mold grows very well when the indoor humidity is above 70 percent. Minimize the use of live indoor plants, which facilitate mold growth and increase humidity due to frequent watering. High humidity in southern and eastern Hong Kong, leaks, internal air-conditioner moisture and dirt accumulation and ground water wicking up through concrete floors are the major causes of growth.

Don't make humidity levels worse. Never use a humidifier to increase humidity, hang wet clothes to dry indoors or shower without turning on the exhaust fan or opening a bathroom window.

Use a digital hygrometer. This can check humidity levels in all rooms and areas of your house or flat. Record the humidity percentage and the measurement dates for each room in a journal.

Clean air-conditioners, air purifiers and dehumidifiers at least every three months. This gets rid of accumulated dust and dirt. Air-conditioners enable mold to grow through the internal condensation of water and blow airborne spores into the living area.

Install high-efficiency particulate air filters. Important areas are inside the heating/cooling air supply duct registers, return air register and the fresh air supply. Use portable HEPA filter air cleaners to remove airborne mold spores.

Clean well. Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to clean carpeting and rugs and mop tile floors daily. Use borax laundry detergent or boric acid powder in warm water to wash down all walls, floors surfaces, and furniture and appliances at least monthly for the same reason.

Test for mold. Use test kits, which you can buy online to check the outward air flow from window air-conditioners, heating, ventilation, and air- conditioning duct registers and the air of each room at least annually.

Use your nose. If you smell mold, there is mold growing, whether visible or hidden.

Use your eyes. Inspect the roof, attic, exterior siding, ceilings, walls, floors, rugs, wood furniture, and behind and beneath furniture on a regular basis. Mold discolors wood and other materials. It can be many colors including black, white, blue, green, white, yellow and pink.

Look for leaks. 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.

Inspect dark nonliving areas. Danger zones include the attic, crawl space under a building, basement, garage and exterior siding regularly for leaks, stains, water damage and mold growth. Such areas often have high humidity and water intrusion problems that drive growth. Mold can then grow into the adjoining floors, ceilings and walls.

Monitor residents' health. Are family members or pets suffering from health problems that may be mold- related? These problems include chronic coughs or sneezing, sinus problems, chronic tiredness, headaches, difficulty in remembering and thinking, skin rashes, open skin sores, abnormal hair loss, chronic dandruff or breathing disorders?

Phillip Fry and Divine Montero are certified environmental hygienists, mold inspectors and remediators. E-mail them at phil@moldinspector.com or go to www.envirohongkong.com

 

Picture of Certified Mold Inspector doing mold remediation in Thailand.
Certified Environmental Hygienist Phillip Fry overseeing the mold remediation of
over 3,000 sewing stations in three Thai clothing manufacturers, Dec., 2011
Picture of Certified Mold Inspector Phillip Fry supervising mold remediation project in Thailand.
Certified Mold Inspector Phillip Fry supervising mold remediation for clothing manufacturing equipment in Thailand, December, 2011.
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