It is finally here. Spring has arrived. The ice on your roof and yard has finally disappeared, the snow is gone and you are certainly ready to get out in the yard and clean up, plant flowers, enjoy sitting on your deck.

But before you pick up your shovel and bring out the lawnmower, you may want to check your house for moisture. Snow and ice melt often equate to wet conditions in the walls, under the carpets, between the insulation, under the paneling and throughout the basement.  It is vital that you dry the water in your home because mold can begin growing in wet spots in as little as 24 hours. And once it begins spreading, mold growth can lead to health concerns. Allergic reactions to mold spores are increasingly common and include coughing, wheezing, sinus issues, asthma attacks.  Certain strains of mold such as Stachybotrys Chartarum (commonly referred to as Black Mold) have been linked to serious respiratory  issues. And once mold begins to grow, it can spread throughout your house in a matter of weeks. The more it spreads, the harder it is to eradicate from your home.

 BELOW ARE SOME COMMON SENSE TIPS ON KEEPING MOLD FROM CREEPING INTO YOUR LIFE:

1. CLEAN, DRY AND DUST-FREE  – Trapped moisture is the leading cause of black mold.  Holes in your roof, cracked foundation on your home, dirty wet areas of your garage or basement are all breeding grounds for mold. Wipe these areas down frequently and keep an eye out for leaks and open seams.

2. HUMIDITY IS YOUR ENEMY - A few days of humidity will lead to mold growing rapidly in your home. A humidifier is key. Keep the setting on the humidifier below 55% to keep mold at bay.  When you shower, always well ventilate the room. Steam from warm showers will lead to mold within two days.

3. MOLD FEEDS ON SOFT/TEXTURED MATERIALS such as magazines, clothing and newspapers. It also loves to consume drywall, wood and cotton. Leaving sweaty dirty or moist clothing in a pile can led to mold. Washing clothing and letting it sit too long before drying can lead to mold.  

4. IF YOU HAVE A LEAK, YOU NEED TO FIX IT. Clogged gutters and downspouts need to be cleaned out at least twice a year. Walk though your attic and crawlspaces to check for leaks and fell around for moisture spots.  If you don’t fix what is causing the moisture to build up this will be a continual and reoccurring problem.

There are dozens of websites that will give you tips on preventing and removing mold from your home or office building, including important information from the Environmental Protection Agency and the CDC below. Your home is a huge investment. Something as simple as tiny mold spores can lead to big expenses. The key is to check for moisture in your home regularly, keep your environment dry, and fix any leaks before major damage occurs. Simple steps for a happy "healthy" home.:)

http://www.epa.gov/mold/mold_remediation.html

www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm