Many lake house and cabin owners are familiar with the musty or mildew smell each season as they enjoy their vacation houses. In some ways it can be a soothing smell - the scent of summer fun. Unfortunately, the smell is most often a solid indication of mold growth. Now the question becomes, "Why do I have mold, and how do I get rid of it?"
WHY DO I HAVE MOLD?
Mold can happen to any property owner, but it thrives most in moist, dark and warm conditions where a food source is present. Being near the water allows excess water into the air and the ground, giving mold spores an excellent environment to grow. It incubates and grows on materials it can digest and use to spread, like wood, paper products, furniture and textiles.
Closing lake houses and cabins is usually what happens at the end of each summer weekend and for the winter as tenants leave. If the property has excess moisture and no air circulation, the moisture cannot dry out. Air circulation and proper ventilation will help control the moisture and keep it at a healthy level. Keep interior doors open while the home is unoccupied for any length of time. This includes closet, pantry and cabinet doors.
A malfunction of your mechanicals, such as roof damage or a burst pipe may cause unanticipated moisture. Breakdowns occur at any time and not being at the property allows plenty of time for substantial, expensive mold damage.
WHAT DO I DO FIRST?
The first thing to do when you smell a musty odor or suspect mold in general, is to find the source of moisture. Maybe you can locate this on your own by using a moisture meter, but usually, an unknown source of moisture requires a professional. Menold uses commercial grade thermal imaging using infrared cameras to help detect hidden damp spots in floors, ceilings or walls. It also helps us track down the source of the water, making it easier to solve water damage mysteries. Depending on the level of intrusion, mold testing may be necessary to see what kinds of mold and the levels we are dealing with. From there, we develop a scope of work to get your property back to normal.
HOW DO I KEEP MOLD AWAY?
1. Find a way to increase air movement by investing in a dehumidifier or keeping keep the fan or air conditioning unit running while you're away, if possible.
2. Check the foundation of your property. Make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation to carry any excess water away.
3. Gutters and downspouts are necessary. Keep them clean and in good working condition.
4. Inspect the property often. Hire a housesitter to visit the house once a week, or if it's nearby, check on it when you can. Keep an eye on your water bill in case of leaks driving the monthly cost up.
If you suspect mold at your vacation property or your home-sweet-home, call us and ask to talk to a Mold Project Manager. We've seen a lot, and we know exactly how to help!