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Key to staying cool could bring unwanted mold into your home

Updated: Monday, August 12 2013, 12:48 PM MDT

By:Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, TEXAS: The most popular way of keeping your home cool in the borderland may be creating the perfect breeding ground for mold to grow.
The combination of evaporated coolers and El Paso's heat are two ingredients for mold to take hold in your home.

El Paso County is currently facing a nearly $1 million mold problem at the county jail. The sheriff's office said it was likely caused by the old evaporative coolers.
If you think mold can't grow in the desert, you would be wrong.
"Look at our houses, we have these big water boxes on top," said Paul Pietchman of Southwest Mold Detection.

Home after home in the borderland holds the key to keeping cool.

A swamp cooler.

"You drive up and down the streets of El Paso and you see evaporative coolers on more than half the houses," said Pietchman.

That moisture, plus our hot summer temps, could be all mold needs to take over.

"I see them sometimes that the water is overflowing out the side of it or water is literally being blown into the house, that's when we are going to start getting mold problems," said Pietchman.

Pietchman has seen a lot of members of the fungi family.

"Wow that smells musty, or it smells moldy, mildew, some people say it smells like grandma's basement," said Pietchman.

He said some molds are good, some molds are bad and then some molds are really bad.

Between the price of inspection and cost of cleanup jobs, mold is not cheap.

The key to prevention is good old fashioned maintenance.

"Its basic maintenance, start it up at the beginning of the season, clean it well, at the end of the season, shut it down...correctly clean it and you should have no issues," said Pietchman.

KFOX14 viewer named Dave told us his own cleaning routine.

"I tar up the bottom pan and use the pool chlorine tablets to keep it clean," said Dave.

When in doubt, Pietchman said, your nose, knows.

"If it smells like, it is," said Pietchman.

Pietchman said mold takes 24-36 hours to grow so if you're water heater breaks, or you have a leak or other moisture in your home, make sure to dry it out promptly and you shouldn't have a problem.

Key to staying cool could bring unwanted mold into your home

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