Winter is coming and with it rain (here in California) and snow. The victims of Hurricane Sandy, some of whom are still without shelter, power or heat, are expecting a nor’easter on Wednesday or Thursday, as if they need any more weather! But anywhere there is moisture, there can be mold. And there will be, if it is left alone. Bathrooms, kitchens, basements and roofs are classic places where moisture collects and can become harbors for mold spores to grow and spread.

How can you prevent mold?

1. Keep it dry—Monitor the moisture level in your home and use a dehumidifier if the humidity inside is high.

2. Keep it aired out—Use the fans in the bathroom and kitchen to remove steamy shower and cooking water vapor from the house before it gets a chance to condense on the walls or in the corners.

3. Fix leaks—Water damage is a major cause of mold growth. If you have a leak, fix it right away or call in a contractor to deal with the problem. Mold will grow where you can’t see it if there is water present in walls, foundations or basements.

4. Clean your gutters—Clogged gutters can cause water to back up into your roof, causing mold to grow where you are least likely to be aware of it. Make sure you get the leaves out of the outflow.

What if I have mold?

A little mold can be cleaned with a mild bleach cleanser and some elbow grease. But if you have a big mold problem, you need to call a professional cleaning company. In California, Alliance Environmental Group uses Thermapure heat treatments to kill mold and then our highly experienced cleaning crews will remove all wet materials from the site and provide the necessary air circulation to deter dampness before bacteria can multiply.

Where water damage and mold have had a chance to spread extensively over time, we will perform a survey to determine the best way to remediate the problem based on what kind of mold it is and the extent of the damage. Mold has to be contained during removal or it will spread to other areas, so Alliance offers proper containment and removal as well as thorough decontamination of the area.

Remember: mold only takes 24-48 hours to grow and it can be damaging to your health, causing allergic reactions, skin irritation, respiratory problems and infection. Immediate removal is essential to your health and the health of your family. If you need help removing mold in your home or other building, please contact us!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions. She welcomes your comments! For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!