Homewrecker takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to MOLD at your vacation rental… Growing anywhere moisture takes root, mold can spread and grow fast, which isn’t ideal for your wallet or your stress levels. When mold creeps into your vacation rental, it threatens not only your property but also the health and safety of friends, family, guests, maintenance workers, housekeepers, and other staff members. As a significant financial investment, your vacation property deserves the same great love and care shown to your own home, and that includes mold prevention and treatment if needed.
Mold: Invisible Home Destroyer
What is mold? Well, if you’ve ever seen fallen leaves turning black on the wet ground, that’s mold. This living organism keeps the circle of life flowing, traveling through the air as invisible spores in search of moist surfaces to cling, grow, and break down dead matter. While mold plays an important role in the environment, mold in your vacation home is hazardous.
When mold sets in, parts of the home can be damaged or even destroyed beyond repair. Of course, mold is more dangerous to inhale, stirring up allergies, infecting lungs, or even causing more serious respiratory issues. While any exposure is unsafe, prolonged exposure can be especially harmful. It’s vital to take precautions, recognize signs of mold, and treat mold issues immediately upon discovery to keep yourself, staff members, and guests safe.
What about mildew?
Mildew is a type of mold that typically grows on top of surfaces and is often found in bathrooms and kitchens. While mildew is not as dangerous as black mold or other types of mold, it’s important to stay on top of cleaning to prevent build-up, damages, and any adverse health effects that could develop over time.
5 Steps to Prevent Mold + Routine Inspections
What’s the best way to battle mold? Take preventative measures and do everything in your power to stop it from growing in the first place! Along with routine inspections for mold and water damage plus swift action to address any mold-growing conditions — recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) — protecting your vacation rental from mold starts with the following 5 steps.
1. Remediate any existing mold.
Before implementing any active preventative measures, homeowners need to make sure there is currently no mold in their vacation home. If there’s already mold at your property, hire a certified mold remediation company to completely clear the house of mold growth.
2. Divert water away from the property.
Channeling water away from your vacation home is an important step to help prevent mold at any property, especially if yours deals with heavy rainfall or flooding. Install French drains, barriers, or a ground system where appropriate and keep the gutters properly maintained and cleaned with 2 professional inspections annually.
3. Control indoor humidity levels.
Battling dampness at your vacation property starts with controlling humidity levels. Mold thrives in 60+% humidity, so it’s important to use dehumidifiers at your vacation rental as needed. Higher humidity levels typically occur in naturally damp places in the home, like basements, attics, crawl spaces, bathrooms, and saunas or hot tub areas. Keep your vacation home between 30-50% humidity to help prevent mold growth from taking root.
4. Ensure proper ventilation.
Ventilating your vacation home properly can help reduce the chances of mold by preventing condensation when warm air rises. Installing bathroom fans, attic fans, and a ridge vent on the roof is a good start to create proper air circulation and prevent excess moisture build-up!
5. Opt for mold-resistant materials.
Last but not least, using mold-resistant materials — including porcelain flooring, quality insulation, moisture-resistant drywall, mold-killing primer, and even moisture management house wrap — can help prevent mold in your vacation home.
Signs of Mold
Moisture attracts mold like vacation property owners to quality property management. Shameless plug aside, once mold spores latch onto a moist area, it only takes between 24 to 48 hours for your property to display signs of mold and cause symptoms.
Most commonly, your vacation rental will start to smell musty. Visible indications of mold can take anywhere from a few days or even weeks to produce. Sometimes, there won’t even be a musty odor, so it’s important for homeowners to watch out for any possible sign of mold and act accordingly.
Common Signs of Mold
- Damaged drywall
- Furniture discoloration
- Musty smell
- Peeling wallpaper
- Rotting wood (walls, floors, furniture, etc.)
- Structural problems
- Unusually damp areas (including bathrooms)
- Visible growth
Symptoms of Mold
Another important way to tell if mold may have infected your vacation home is to take note of any physical symptoms you feel or guests or staff report. Even if you don’t smell or see signs of mold, a variety of symptoms can be a tell-tale sign that mold is present. This is especially vital because children, seniors, and anyone with immunodeficiency are particularly vulnerable to mold. So, be sure to assess for mold in any case.
Please note the following symptoms should be taken seriously, regardless of whether mold is present at your vacation home or not, as they are only potential indicators of mold growth and can be associated with other conditions. If you or anyone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention right away.
Potential Symptoms of Mold
- Aggravated asthma
- Allergic reactions
- Difficulty breathing
- Flu-like symptoms
- Itchy eyes
- Memory loss
- Skin irritation
5 Steps to Treat Mold at Your Vacation Rental
Addressing mold at your vacation home as quickly and efficiently as possible is vital, especially at a vacation rental that sees a lot of foot traffic. Once mold has been discovered, it needs to be stopped immediately with professional mold removal.
1. Move/cancel upcoming reservations.
Once the mold is a potential concern, safety is YOUR top priority. Moving or canceling reservations protects your guests, and pressing pause on maintenance and cleaning protects yourself and/or your staff.
2. Switch off the HVAC system.
Mold spores like to travel through the air, so turning off your air conditioning system can help stop the spread.
3. Ask an expert to test for mold.
Maybe your vacation rental smells musty, but you can’t find any visible mold growth. While DIY mold tests can be helpful, bringing in an expert in mold inspection from the get-go helps speed up the process, saving valuable time in the vacation rental business.
4. Hire a certified mold remediation company.
There’s only 1 way to successfully treat a mold infestation at your vacation home — hiring a professional remediation company! Yeah…bleach does not work (more on that in a bit).
5. Start mold prevention!
Now that your vacation home is clear of mold, it’s time to implement the previously covered 5-step mold prevention plan.
Why Bleach Does NOT Work
Wait a minute… Can’t I just use bleach and hang up my hat? No, and here’s why bleach won’t solve your mold problem, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) doesn’t recommend bleach for mold cleanup under normal circumstances. While bleach does kill mold on contact, it often leaves behind spores.
If moisture becomes an issue again, new mold will simply grow back. Not to mention, even dead mold can cause allergic reactions and respiratory issues. Hiring a certified remediation company is your only option to rid your vacation rental of mold. They not only kill the mold but also remove it properly as well.
Interactive Mold House Tour
For more information on mold prevention and treatment, the EPA created an interactive mold house tour. You can move through the property and see common areas where mold likes to grow plus learn tips on how to treat and prevent mold.
Professional Inspections with Georgia Cabins for YOU
Regular property inspections with Georgia Cabins for YOU offer additional peace of mind when it comes to preventing mold growth at your vacation rental. Our trained professionals know how to spot areas of improvement to help prevent mold at your property as well as identify any potential mold problems quickly.
Additionally, Georgia Cabins for YOU has employed maintenance professionals and connections with local contractors to help reduce mold prevention and treatment costs as much as possible. Our Owner Relations team can also help tailor a mold prevention plan to your property, further protecting yourself, staff, and guests.
Feel free to reach out anytime at 1.800.580.5524 or shoot us an online message!