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— One disadvantage of modern construction is our predilection for airtight facilities.

I’m basing that opinion on calls received in regard to the presence of mold inside many highly energy-efficient homes. Our grandparents never had the problem, but homes were so poorly constructed you could throw a cat through any wall.

In Arkansas, the humidity problem at times serves to make life almost unbearable. However, that same humidity level, when combined with moisture created inside the home, delivers an ideal environment for mold.

Farmers use air movement to efficiently remove moisture and odor from poultry houses. That same routine should be effective when we use home duct systems to circulate air throughout each room.

Ideally, air movement should cover every square foot, but we know that is virtually impossible. Referred to as “dead-air” pockets, every home has them. A couch pushed against a wall or other furniture placed over floor air vents work to void the efficiency ofany system. Ideal air movement is seldom achieved, because homes are made to live in and some furniture will be placed in a way to negate air circulation. If air doesn’t flow, moisture cannot be carried away and mold easily finds a spot to begin growth.

Realistically, since molds are naturally occurring organisms, we can’t eliminate their presence inside a home any more than we can avoid generating moisture there each day. However, we can improve air circulation, change furniture placement, leave the closet door open and take like measures.

The key to controlling mold is to keep homes clean and dry. Areas where mold growth has been noted should be cleaned periodically and targeted for a better air attack. If the duct system isn’t getting the job done, consider selective placement of small oscillating fans to enable better air movement. If the problem is really serious, contact your air-system contractor or a professional service provider.

My grandsons yell, “y-u-c-k-e-e!” when I remove a bit of mold from a block of cheese before slicing a bite.

“Boys,” I say in my most wise, grandfatherly tones, “If it wasn’t for mold, we wouldn’t have cheese, pizza or penicillin!” They have a lot to learn. ‘Til next week!

News, Pages 7 on 11/25/2009

Print Headline: When mold grows in homes:

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