Have you found any mold in or around your house? How did you handle it? Please share with others in the comments field below. Or click the link below to read about how to prevent and clean mold, a GPS dog and cat collar, a warning when searching for real estate agents and more.

With recent storms, exceptionally rainy weather and, of course, Hurricane Irene, many homes throughout the country have been exposed to excessive moisture and water, which could lead to mold growth if not handled properly.

To help raise awareness, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency dedicates the month of September as National Indoor Mold Awareness Month. Follow these tips from CertainTeed, a building products manufacturer headquartered in Pennsylvania, to ensure a healthy home.

Fix leaks. Homeowners should check for leaky roofs, foundations, faucets and pipes on a regular basis, making sure they aren’t allowing extra moisture to accumulate in these areas. Leaks should be fixed as soon as they are found.

Keep humidity under control. The ideal humidity for a home is between 30 and 50 percent. Relative humidity can be measured with an inexpensive moisture or humidity meter, available at most hardware stores. 

Keep it dry. Homeowners should clean and dry any damp furnishings within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mold growth.

Check for odors. If you have had a leak, then the first sign of mold may be musty or moldy odors in the vicinity of the leak. Keep in mind you do not want to sniff for mold or touch for mold –– if you suspect a mold problem contact a certified mold inspector.
 
Watch for ground water. Checking the exterior of homes regularly will help avoid the accumulation of ground water, which can cause mold. If found, homeowners should route water away using downspouts and re-grade to slope water away from the home.

Tip of the week: Prepare your house for fall

Now is the right time to spruce up the outside of your home. By updating external paint colors, fresh landscaping along pathways and porch accessories, you can increase the value and appeal of your home. On the interior, clean your shiny surfaces. To clean chrome, glass or stainless-steel appliances, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of 50 percent rubbing alcohol and 50 percent water. -- Scripps Howard News Service

Home-Selling Tip: Beware when picking an agent

When interviewing real estate agents, beware anyone who caters to your wishes too much. If most agents are suggesting sale prices around a certain range but one agent is suggesting you can get much more than that, he or she may be engaging in a questionable sales practice called “buying a listing,” with the intentions of talking you into a lower price down the road.

-- RealEstateABC.com

Going Green: Use food packaging for storage

Stop buying plastic baggies to store and freeze your foods because food packaging you already bought can do the same thing. The plastic bags inside cereal boxes, for example, are great for freezing food because they have a moisture-blocker to preserve freshness. Get as much air out of the bag as possible, and then seal it with a potato chip clip.

-- Earth911.com

Did You Know …

National pending home sales in July fell 1.3 percent from June but are 14.4 percent above 2010 numbers. – Realtor.org

New Product: GPS dog and cat collar

Having trouble keeping track of your dog or cat? Qualcomm, more closely associated with mobile phones, according to Consumer Reports, is now selling Tagg the Pet Tracker, an electronic, water-resistant collar with a GPS receiver chip, a Verizon wireless communication chip and rechargeable batteries that last about 30 days. It costs $140.

Garden Guide: Tricks to remember to fertilize

If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, fall is the time to do it. Rhonda Ferree, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, recommends using holidays to remember when to fertilize your lawn. "If you fertilize once a year, do it around Labor Day; twice a year, Labor Day and Mother's Day; three times a year, Labor Day, Mother's Day, and Halloween."

GateHouse News Service