How Can You Prevent Mold in Your House?
(Spoiler: It’s Already There)
And How to Spot Symptoms of High Humidity in Your Home
- How do you detect mold in your home?
- Is there some form of mold spray that can banish the black death?
- Is there a mold detector at a big box store you can do at home?
Chances are, here in Florida, if your home or your neighbor’s home or your mother-in-law’s home is tested for mold, the test will come back positive and here’s why: Some mold is present in every home. Small amounts of certain kinds of mold do not pose a significant health risk.
What you don’t want are those black spots appearing on your bathroom ceiling or condensation constantly forming on your kitchen air vent. The kitchen and bathroom are where you most commonly find mold. Keeping mold from growing in your living areas is a reasonable expectation to meet.
You don’t have to wait for the inevitable day that you find evidence of mold to do something. Here are four simple actions you can take to protect your family and keep your home healthy and mold-free.
How to Discourage Mold from Growing in Your Home
1. Educate Yourself about the Ideal Environment for Mold to Grow
Do you know where the humidity of your home should be to prevent mold from growing? No? That’s why you’re here, right?
Let’s talk about the comfort level. This measure is a combination of the indoor humidity and temperature. Think about it. Sunny and 75 degrees in Tampa, Florida feels a lot less comfortable than sunny and 75 in Santa Monica, California. Why is that?
So keep in mind that your Air Conditioning System does more than keep the temperature low – it also dehumidifies the air. The combination of lower temperatures and low humidity keeps you comfortable. That’s why it’s called the comfort level.
According to ASHRAE Building Standards for the Tampa area, to prevent mold from growing and to stay comfortable, contractors, engineers, and architects design the indoor humidity in your house to be on average 50%. Remember, lowering the temperature does not address the humidity level. When the humidity gets above 55-60% over a sustained period of time, you create an environment where mold likes to grow.
There. You learned something new! But how do you know if your humidity is at 50%?
2. Monitor Your Home for the Ideal Humidity
The easy way to monitor humidity in your home is to install a thermostat that includes a humidistat like this one. Just as the thermostat tells you the temperature, the humidistat tells you the humidity level.
Installing a humidistat takes the guesswork out of gauging how humid your home is. If you don’t have a thermostat telling you the humidity level, here are some symptoms of high humidity in your home:
- Does condensation form around your bathroom and kitchen vents?
- Do your walls look or feel damp?
- Do you have black spots on your bathroom ceiling?
- Have you noticed mold spores on the clothes in your closet?
- Does your house feel sticky?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you should strongly consider having a licensed HVAC technician evaluate your home. A professional technician checks on every part of your air conditioning system to be sure they are functioning at peak efficiency for your home.
Not only will a properly designed system significantly improve your Comfort Level, but it can also find and resolve mold-friendly environments in your home before they become a big, expensive, and dramatic problem.
3. Call a Licensed HVAC Technician to Evaluate Your Home:
Air Conditioning is a system that includes:
- Outside unit
- Indoor air handler
- Air purifier (optional)
These different components work together to condition – not just cool – your air.
A real HVAC technician knows more than how to change and repair your outdoor unit. He knows how to properly design the air conditioning system to fit your home and your needs.
Getting your AC unit checked is one step you already know to take when your house is feeling sticky, but think about these factors:
- When was the last time a technician checked your ductwork to be sure it is still in good functioning condition?
- Did you have an AC unit put in recently, but now your house feels sticky all the time even though the thermostat says it’s at 73 degrees?
- Did you just upgrade the insulation in your home?
- Or did you upgrade to more efficient windows, and have the same humidity issues?
These are symptoms of an AC unit that is oversized for your home.
You did the right thing trying to make your home more efficient, but now you need to adjust your AC system to protect the investment you made in your home.
So call for your simple Comfort Evaluation to let you know if your humidity problem is due to something simple like programming your thermostat correctly or something more… complicated.
4. Talk to Your Technician about a Whole Home Air Purifier:
Do you remember that I mentioned air purifiers as an optional part of your Air Conditioning System? You probably thought, “Wait, aren’t those the obtrusively tacky machines that sit out in the room that it’s ‘purifying’?”
And the answer is: NO!
That is not what’s going on here. Those small inefficient, in-the-way machines are a thing of the past. What you look for is a Whole Home Air Purifier. These integrate with your Air Conditioning System.
Air purifiers are beneficial because they filter out and kill things like mold spores and viruses – bye-bye COVID! They also inhibit allergens and smells to keep your air clean.
They are also wonderful for removing smoke from when you burn the bacon…not that I’ve ever done that.
But REMEMBER: While air purifiers are a great addition to your Air Conditioning System, they only purify the air. If you have a serious leak somewhere that’s causing a humid, mold-friendly environment, the air purifier will not prevent mold from forming.
Let’s Make Your Home More Comfortable
When your Air Conditioning System is properly designed for your home, unhealthy amounts of mold will not have the environment it needs to grow. MMAC specializes in designing Air Conditioning Systems specifically for your home and needs.
Now more than ever, your home is your safe space. Make it comfortable. Keep it healthy. Your family will thank you! Call us and ask for your Comfort Evaluation today!
Written by Elon Jones
MMAC Services, Inc.