Yearly Mold Maintenance and DIY Hot Fogging to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays
By Cesar Collado
Now that the extreme heat from summer is past and prior to winter freezing, I often suggest to mold sensitive people that Fall is an ideal time for Yearly Mold Maintenance. A quick inspection for moisture in your home and yearly mold maintenance by DIY hot fogging. The mild weather combined with moisture and falling leaves create an abundance of mold created by the natural decay of all the leaves and plants. The comfortable temperatures does aid in our ability to get ahead of the holidays by fogging any holiday decorations and performing a small particulate and dust cleaning of the home prior to any family visits.
During the fall, your AC is working less but your filters are working more. It is important to implement as many of the following suggestions as is possible.
- Inspect your home for water damage, dust, and mold, especially your HVAC system
- DIY Mold Testing using Immunolytics Mold Checkup Kit
- Have someone else clear leaves from your home. I recommend removal vs mulching
- Wear a NIOSH rated N95 mask when raking leaves, gardening, or cleaning compost bins
- Before you turn on your heat for the first time, clean heating vents and change the filter(s). Bits of mold and other allergens can get trapped in the vents over the summer and can fill the air as soon as you start the furnace.
- Use a MERV-13 or greater filter in your heating system to remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the air
- If necessary, use a dehumidifier to keep your air between 35% and 50% humidity
- Find and eliminate any pipe leaks or groundwater seepage in basements and sub-grade living areas
- Toss or recycle old books and newspapers. If left in damp basements, they can quickly become moldy
- Invest in an air purifier for areas of your home where you spend significant time
Fall Leaves Require Yearly Mold Maintenance
When leaves change colors and fall during autumn, layers upon layers of moisture and leaves naturally decay increasing mold levels. Leaf molds are important to consider because of the sheer volume of spores that are produces during the decay and the spore activity created by raking, blowing, or mowing leaves. Unusually large volumes of spores are released into the air. The most common molds here are Cladosporium and Microsporum as they are a common soil fungi. Aspergillus and Penicillium are also abundant in leaf decay. Wet, cool, and damp weather keep leaves moist with some warmth. As temperatures fall and humidity rises, mold spore production rises. As a result, cleaning leaves should be done by others or with caution for mold sensitive individuals.
Mold spores are commonly tracked inside the home by people and pets. Taking shoes off when indoors and wiping pet paws when they enter a home will help. Pets can also track mold onto furniture. More regular vacuuming, paying attention to high traffic areas and entry ways, is important during the fall. These microscopic mold spores can remain in carpets and dust in a dormant fashion until activated with moisture without yearly mold maintenance to precisely remove.
During the fall, medical complications from mold inhalation include:
- Mold-induced asthma. In people allergic to mold, breathing in spores can trigger an asthma flare-up.
- Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses.
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores causes lung inflammation. It can also be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust.
- Other infections of the skin or mucous membranes. Systemic infections are rare except for people with impaired immune systems.
DIY Hot Fogging is a Game Changer
The most effective way to remove mold contamination in a home is conducting yearly mold maintenance with a thorough DIY hot fogging and small particulate/dust clean-up. This allows a hot fog to reach all surface areas exposed in the home. The fog is pumped into the air where the fog takes up the air volume and can be seen reaching all surface areas. It is common to use enough fog to exceed the air volume in the home. This allows for the fog to penetrate and reach cracks and crevices. A well-planned fogging effort will include the following:
- Opening cabinets and drawers to reach all that is contained
- Items that are porous should be left out in the fog so the fog can penetrate the items.
- Pay special attention to fogging inside closets to reach clothing and shoes.
- Fog into the air return vents to reach inside the duct system and identify leaks.
Another benefit of hot fogging is the ability to see where a home or duct system is leaking by watching where the fog comes out of the home, the attic, or the ducting system.
The EPA explicitly recognizes that fogging a home without the proper clean-up of the debris is inadequate. This is because the debris from dead molds and mycotoxins remain allergenic and toxic if not removed. Fogging is safe and effective!
The fog is carried by a carrier that is safe to inhale. Propylene glycol has been used in the theater, fire training, and cleaning industries for over 50 years. The fog is “social” so it will collide with airborne mold spores and dust and cause agglomeration. Agglomeration is the clumping of the particles until gravity pulls the mass down to the floor or other horizontal surfaces.
After letting the fog settle for a day, a HEPA vacuuming, and microfiber wipe down of all horizontal surfaces to remove any mold debris or dust will leave your home particulate free. Replacing the HVAC filter right after will help maintain clean air in the home.
6 Steps for Yearly Mold Maintenance
Yearly Mold Maintenance Summary
A through fogging during the fall not only removes the mold tracked inside from the outdoors, it also removes all of the dust particles, and debris. Even when mold is dead or inactive, it continues to be a health issue. The EPA is clear that fogging should always be followed by a thorough cleaning to remove harmful debris.
You can also take advantage of this process by fogging any holiday decorations being stored in basement or attic spaces. Decorations are notorious for bringing mold into the home.
Cesar Collado is a former pharmaceutical R&D senior executive, venture capitalist, and seasoned strategy consultant in biotechnology and technology industries in general. He currently works as an advisor to multiple technology start-ups and advises several companies with technology solutions, including companies that provide healthcare and other services for environmental illness.
Cesar worked with MicroBalance Health Products from 2014-2019, where he had responsibility for strategy, revenues, marketing, and finance, as well as, writing all original content for the company’s newsletters during his tenure. Cesar is passionate about awareness and treatment of environmental illness as a significant, unmet and misdiagnosed, medical need. He has partnered with Integrative Physicians, Bau-Biologists, Environmental Inspectors, Mold Remediators, HVAC IAQ Specialists, and other professionals to generate educational materials for the environmentally ill. Cesar currently writes original content for ImmunoLytics, Bio-Balance, and CitriSafe: Protocols and Products for a Healthy Life.