NEWS | Aug. 6, 2013

Joint Base Housing Partners offer mold fighting tips

By Jeff Garrett 628th Civil Engineer Squadron

South Carolina's semi-tropical climate often lends itself to high levels of humidity, which can contribute to mold and mildew growth when condensation gathers within a home.
Despite the challenges posed by the local climate, Joint Base Charleston's privatized housing partners are educating residents on steps to fight off a growing problem.

Locally, Forest City Military Communities' homes at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, and Balfour Beatty Communities at Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station, take a proactive approach when it comes to moisture-related issues.

Both companies continuously inspect homes through their preventative maintenance and change in occupancy maintenance programs in order to identify any moisture or water intrusion issues that could lead to mold or mildew issues.

When residents report incidents of mold or mildew, the respective housing agency responds immediately and follows a strict protocol developed by safety and environmental professionals to assess the situation and make all necessary repairs.

Mold and Mildew Prevention

There are thousands of species of mold and mildew present in our homes and everyday lives. Fortunately, only a few species of mold are harmful to humans and they are not common.

Residents of Forest City Military Communities and Balfour Beatty Communities are encouraged to practice a few simple daily habits to minimize the potential for condensation to gather in the home and potentially allow the growth of mold or mildew. These tips can also apply to residents living off base.

Tips and Reminders:

· Using bathroom exhaust fans during and after showers, as well as kitchen exhaust fans when cooking on the stovetop, can be very effective in preventing mold and mildew growth.

· Avoid positioning large pieces of furniture in front of or on top of any heating, ventilation or air conditioning ducts.

· Promptly report any water problems or leaks to the housing manager of your privatized community. These should be repaired as soon as possible.

· Keep indoor humidity levels low (30 to 60 percent is ideal) by venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture generating sources to the outside, as well as using air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

· Increase seasonal cross flow ventilation by opening windows and doors periodically during milder weather.
· AC thermostats must always be set on AUTO; never on continuous fan mode.

· Don't install carpeting in areas likely to become damp (bathrooms, garages or foyers).

· Dry out wet areas as soon as possible, at least within 48 hours, to prevent significant mold growth.

· For routine housekeeping, clean small amounts of suspect mold on hard surfaces using soap and water.

· Wear rubber gloves and scrub the affected area with soapy water until clean. Rinse with clean water. Let the treated area dry naturally overnight.

· Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.

· If you have been diagnosed with mold allergies or sensitivities, or are sensitive to the cleaning solution, you may need to get someone else to do the cleanup. Do not clean large areas of mold.

Any water leaks or moisture in the kitchen, bath, AC registers or utility closets should be reported to the appropriate maintenance points of contact by calling Forest City Military Communities at 855-831-3499 or Balfour Beatty Communities at 797-5631.

For additional information on mold and mildew prevention and who to contact if you feel that you are experiencing health-related symptoms caused by mold or mildew, review the attachments below:

Forest City - What you should know about moisture control

BBC Mold Tips

BBC Tips on water and moisture control

BBC - What and How to Report Moisture Concerns