(NewsUSA) - What's green, smells bad and can eat you out of house and home? It's not that week-old broccoli in your refrigerator. It's mold.
The right combination of oxygen, moisture and temperature can trigger mold growth in your home, a problem that may result in significant property damage. Mold frequently grows on drywall and other types of wood or paper construction materials. But if your home's walls are made from concrete masonry, the resulting damage may be far less severe.
"You might find mold growing on the surface of concrete masonry, but unlike wood and paper products, you'll never find it eating concrete masonry," said Harry Junk, residential markets manager at the National Concrete Masonry Association. "But with paper-faced or wood walls, if the mold's consumption of those materials has gone too far, you have no choice but to tear them out and rebuild."
Regardless of your home's construction, mold is a problem that experts at the NCMA say should be taken seriously. Junk offers the following tips to hinder mold growth in your home:
* Regularly check mold-prone areas of the home. Inspect and clean the condensation drain line of your central air conditioning unit. Also inspect the roof, windows and siding after storms to identify any missing shingles, damaged flashing or visible water leaks.
* Control your home's humidity. Keep the maximum humidity levels at about 40 percent in the summer and spring, and below 60 percent in the fall and winter. Hygrometers, devices that measure humidity levels, are available at most major hardware stores.
* Seal your home. To help maintain humidity levels, seal all outlets, sill plates and through-wall penetrations including doors and windows.
* Install ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Make sure they vent to the outside of the building.
* Know how to clean mold if it grows. Drywall materials infested with mold may require replacement. If your home develops mold growth on concrete masonry materials, it can be cleaned with simple tools.