Dealing with household mold and mildew

You don't want to see mold creeping up in your basement

I don't think there's anything that freaks out my wife more than mold or mildew. She and I go through great lengths to take care of our home and keep it free from these "imperfections," so I think she perceives the mere sight of fungi as a failure on our part.

Personally, I try to take a less defeatist attitude. Fact is, mold and mildew occur naturally, and they can crop up no matter how clean your keep your home. These threats are most likely to appear in your basement or crawlspace.

Why is that? Well, biological growths are typically the result of excess moisture, which provides ideal living conditions for fungi. That's why you'll typically encounter mildew in your bathtub or shower if you're not careful about cleaning it regularly.

High humidity is what creates the moisture mold needs to grow. Basements and crawlspaces can be ideal breeding grounds for humid conditions because they're underground. Without getting too technical, the cool conditions in your underground basement decrease the temperature of the air that enters this space, increasing its relative humidity and leading to condensation and moisture.

So, how do you control the level of moisture in the air in your basement? Well, if you find that you have a water leak from some of the plumbing in the space, you'll need to have that fixed immediately.

If your problems are related to high levels of humidity in the air, a dehumidifier can help. These machines dry out the air in the basement, robbing mold and mildew of the ripe conditions they need to exist.

We've had one in our home for a few years now, and the wife and I encounter far less mold and mildew downstairs. It's simple, cost-effective and spares us the "shame" of an unkept home.

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