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Published: Thursday, 5/18/2006

Tips on Controlling Mold in Your Home

(NewsUSA) - The growth of mold in your home not only can promote health-related problems, but it also can require expensive home repairs.

Mold can damage your furnishings, cabinets and even the structural elements in your home. Some homeowners who discover mold in their homes find that the only way to remedy the problem is to remove and replace the walls and ceilings where the growth was found.

Mold can grow when its food sources -- such as building materials, furniture, wallpaper and fabrics -- are exposed to high levels of moisture.

The National Concrete Masonry Association suggests taking the following precautionary steps to avoid mold growth.

* Look for visible signs of moisture and eliminate the source.

* Regularly maintain roofs, walls and openings. Replace caulking and repaint as needed.

* Keep the maximum relative humidity levels in your home at about 40 percent during the heating season and below 60 percent during the cooling season, as recommended by the National Association of Home Builders.

* Install bath and kitchen fans and vent fans to the outside of your home.

* Seal all outlets, sill plates and through-wall penetrations, including doors and windows, to minimize uncontrolled air infiltration.

* Regularly inspect and clean the condensation drain line for central air-conditioning units.

* Inspect the roof, windows and siding after storms to identify missing shingles, damaged flashing and visible water leaks.

Materials that are lighter in weight, which are used in many new homes, provide more food sources for mold. Alternatively, walls built with concrete masonry will not decay or rot when exposed to moisture or mold. When infected by mold, wood and drywall most likely will require complete removal; concrete masonry can be cleaned.

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