Although true homesteading disappeared when the U.S. Homestead Act was repealed in 1976, the ethic of homesteading didn’t. Self-sufficiency, government skepticism, and veneration of nature are common values among people with homestead-style houses.
Living off the grid comes with some drawbacks, of course, including mold accumulation. Mold loves damp, dark, improperly-ventilated places, and can be lethal in abundance. How to keep your homestead mold-free with little assistance from the outside world is good knowledge for any homesteader.
Have Proper Ventilation And Insulation
A homestead without electricity is particularly susceptible to mold. Even if your homestead runs on electricity in the form of a generator, air conditioning may be too much for the generator to handle. An indoor residence needs to stay below 60 percent relative humidity to keep mold at bay. This can be achieved with other methods besides AC, however. It all starts with ventilation.
Your homestead needs to have several entry points for air to permeate and circulate, such as windows and a fireplace. The dwelling should also be insulated and contain a vapor barrier, so that when outside temperatures fall below freezing, your homestead’s walls will not develop condensation. The foundation must also be solid. Cracks in the foundation can lead mold into the house, especially when it’s raining, and remedying this can require professional intervention.
Check For Mold With Your Eyes And Nose
Your homestead can have all these considerations met and still produce some mold. Besides seeing evidence of mold as a black, green, blue, or multi-colored splotch on your walls, floors or foundation, there are other ways that mold can let you know that it has invaded. A strange mildewy smell permeating the air may be a sign that mold is hiding somewhere in your homestead.
Also, if you find yourself sneezing or coughing and don’t know why, mold may be the culprit. Mold can cause respiratory problems and exacerbate allergies.
Remove All Mold To Prevent Reinfection
Once your eyes, nose, or allergy symptoms have led you to the mold, you can remove it with nontoxic cleaners like hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, or baking soda. If the mold is extra resilient, it may be in your best interest to remove the material that the mold has infected.
However, once the mold and/or material has been removed, the process is only half over. Mold leaves spores in the air that must be cleansed before the homestead can be considered safe. Cracking open all windows, turning on the fireplace, or powering up a fan or dehumidifier for a few days should remove the spores. After you’re reasonably sure that the spores are gone, take preventative measures to avoid future infestation.
Living in a homestead is the right choice for a lot of people. Obvious challenges accompany this lifestyle, however, one of which is mold accumulation. But by installing ventilation, checking for signs of infestation, and removing all mold residue, you can keep your homestead mold free — even without electricity and chemical cleaners.