Mold in the Southwest? Really?

We live in the desert. It’s hot, dry, and the temperatures reach 90, 100, 110 degrees. It barely rains.

So we don’t have to worry about mold, right?

Wrong. Even in the desert, biological pollutants –mold, dust mites, pollen, and other infectious agents — can and will find the excess moisture needed to grow and multiply in homes, offices and schools.

Water can do great damage when it doesn’t behave. When we finally discovered the tiny drip drop from the valve of what I call the evil toilet in the rarely used fancy powder room at my house, it was too late. Black residue settled in the grooves between the oak planked floor, which had begun to buckle.

A new floor, a new toilet, new drywall, mold remediation–then the day after everything was all fresh and clean again, our insurance company denied further coverage on our homeowner’s policy.

That slow leak might have been far less dramatic than the pipe burst that caused the deluge that poured in through the ceilings of our Raising Arizona Kids offices, (watch as editor and publisher Karen Barr surveys the damage) but it certainly was proof that water cannot be underestimated…even in a dry climate.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, for some people, poor indoor air quality can cause allergic reactions such as headaches, nasal congestion, watery eyes, itching and fatigue.

There’s no simple or cheap way to perform a test on indoor air, but one easy way to help reduce the risk is to check for moisture.

As the de-humidifiers extract the damp from the slushy carpets, walls, and ceiling tiles from the RAK offices, we’re particularly aware of how nice it is to breath fresh, dry air.

Hopefully you will never experience the disasterous effects of a burst pipe in your home, or a very slow leaking toilet. Here are some tips from the CPSC to prevent unwanted moisture around the house.

  • Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic)
  • Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Evaporative coolers can encourage the growth of biological pollutants. Change padding regularly.
  • Don’t ignore leaks or seepage: fix promptly.
  • Have a professional Inspect and clean major appliances, such as furnaces, heat pumps and central air conditioners, regularly, and especially before seasonal use.
  • Remove mold from walls, ceilings, floors, and paneling. Do not simply cover mold with paint, stain, varnish, or a moisture-proof sealer, as it may resurface.
  • Replace moldy shower curtains, or remove them and scrub well with a household cleaner and rinse before rehanging them.

One response to “Mold in the Southwest? Really?

  1. Pingback: The fine art of flooding « stage mom

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