That muggy, sticky, wet feeling in the air when you walk outside in the summertime is called humidity and it is caused by a high water content in the air. When the humidity inside your house is high, you will feel it and see the damage it is doing over time. One of the most damaging effects of high humidity in your home is mold growth. The solution for many homeowners is a dehumidifier. Today we are discussing dehumidifiers and mold prevention in your home.
Dehumidifiers play a crucial role in mold prevention by controlling and reducing excess moisture levels in indoor environments. Sometimes the excess moisture is limited to one room or one floor of your home. Unfortunately, once mold begins to grow in one area of your house it can easily spread to the rest of your home. This not only damages your home but also your health!
The Ideal Conditions for Mold
The Environmental Protection Agency states that the key to mold control is moisture control. Mold is crucial in nature for the breakdown of dead plant material. Their spores are airborne and invisible to the naked eye. When they land on surfaces in our home and moisture is present, they can quickly grow and multiply.
Mold thrives in environments with high humidity levels, typically above 60%. The optimal humidity level inside a home is between 30 and 50%. When there is excessive moisture in the air, it creates favorable conditions for mold spores to settle and grow on various surfaces, such as walls, ceilings, furniture, and fabrics.
Certain areas in a home are more prone to excessive moisture and mold growth. Basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and crawl spaces are common trouble spots. Perhaps you have noticed corners of your home that are growing darker or drywall that looks as if it is stained. Blinds on windows can easily host mold growth because of the condensation that forms on the windows. That musty damp smell in areas of your home is an indication of moisture in the air and a good possibility that mold could be growing in your home.
Mold Growth and Your Health
While molds are a natural part of the outdoors, when they begin growing indoors and you are exposed more often to their spores, your health can be affected. Symptoms of mold exposure include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
Many people can have immediate or delayed allergic reactions. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. Mold exposure can also irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.
How Dehumidifiers Help in Mold Prevention
The first step in mold prevention in your home is to remove any current mold growth and fix the water problem. If both are not done, the mold will return. Mold remediation specialists may be needed to remove the parts of your home with mold growth or treat the mold currently there. Dehumidifiers help combat mold growth by extracting moisture from the air. They work by pulling in humid air, passing it over cold coils, and condensing the moisture, which is collected in a reservoir or drained away. The dehumidified air is then released back into the room with reduced humidity levels.
Air Conditioning units work in a similar manner as dehumidifiers but often are just not enough when the humidity is high in your home. An air conditioner’s main job is to cool your home so relying on it to control the humidity in your home is not energy efficient and may cost you more money. A dedicated dehumidifier is one of the best ways to prevent mold growth in your home and save money.
Many dehumidifiers have a built-in hygrometer. A hygrometer monitors the amount of water vapor in the air and signals the dehumidifier to run as needed. You can also purchase a hygrometer to measure the humidity for as little as $10. The ideal indoor humidity range for preventing mold growth is generally between 30% and 50%. By using a dehumidifier that monitors the humidity level, you can effectively regulate and maintain humidity within this recommended range, creating an environment inhospitable to mold.
Best Practices for Dehumidifiers and Mold Prevention in Your Home
● If your home experiences water leaks, flooding, or high humidity due to environmental factors, using a dehumidifier can aid in drying out those areas. Promptly addressing and drying wet spaces with the help of a dehumidifier can prevent mold from taking hold. Take a moment and evaluate your home to see if you can find a source for the excess moisture. Is it the laundry room, basement, crawlspace?
● Choose a dehumidifier that is appropriately sized for the square footage and humidity level of the area you intend to use it in. Some rooms may have adequate mold prevention with a small model whereas other homes may benefit most from a much larger whole-house dehumidifier.
● Consider the collection tank size and style of the dehumidifier. Some tanks must be emptied by hand as smaller tanks may require more frequent emptying. Other dehumidifiers offer drains that can be connected to hoses to remove the collected water. Most styles have an auto-shut-off if the tank is full of water.
● While it is tempting to set up your dehumidifier and forget about it, it’s essential to regularly maintain and clean your dehumidifier. This includes emptying the water reservoir, cleaning or replacing filters, and inspecting the unit for any issues. Proper maintenance helps ensure that the dehumidifier continues to prevent mold growth effectively.
Aqua-Guard Waterproofing and Mold Prevention in Your Home
Remember the key to mold control is moisture control. Aqua-Guard Waterproofing professionals are moisture control experts. We can evaluate your home for sources of water invasion and fix any and all water problems. We can recommend appropriate dehumidifiers for your space and get them working quickly and efficiently. Contact us today for a free estimate!