Living in the wide open spaces of Kansas helps a person appreciate the relatively clean air quality outdoors. But since many people spend a significant amount of time indoors, October is the perfect time to be reminded of indoor air quality.
The above normal rainfall and flooding in early August brought a number of mold and mildew questions to my desk. While there is no inexpensive test to check for mold, I am reminded of a specialist from Wichita who presented a program about indoor air quality a few years ago. His advice was, “If you see it or smell it, you have it.” While that may sound a bit simplistic it really is true.
The best way to get rid of a mold problem is to clean the affected area with soap and water. All too often homeowners want to get the bleach out and kill the mold with a strong solution. Studies from the EPA stress the importance of cleaning the area and then disinfecting with a weak bleach solution. I have an excellent bulletin about controlling mold that is free of charge.
Of course, mold is not the only indoor air contaminant. Radon is a real issue too. Barton County has had a number of higher than normal readings and several homes have undergone radon mitigation to rid the house of this odorless and colorless compound. The only way to determine if there is radon present in a home is to perform a test. We have short term test kits available for $5.50 at the Extension office. That is certainly a small price to pay for peace of mind about the radon level in your home. Exposure to high radon levels has been linked to increased incidence of lung cancer.
For more information about indoor air quality issues feel free to contact me at the Barton County Extension Office.
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension, Barton County. You may reach her at (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org