We’re all familiar with the image of a soda can in the commercial. As the ice cold can beads up with moisture you are left longing for a refreshing cold drink. However, it is less refreshing to be reminded that cold surfaces in our homes can bead up with condensation just like the soda can in the commercial. The cold surfaces in our home are prone to condensation too. Fine in the commercial. But unfortunately not so good in your home. In some climates, mold can be hard to prevent. We explore ways you can avoid conditions that promote mold growth.
Once the embedded mold is difficult to remove especially from porous surfaces like timberwork or drywall and mold will quickly discolor interior paintwork too. Treating mold can be hard to deal with the technical problem, not as simple as just painting it over. When cleaning and treating mold protective clothing is recommended.
If not already obvious, when it comes to mold, prevention really is the best cure.
First Steps to Prevention - identify the Problem Areas and Activities
On an ongoing basis you should be aiming to avoid opportunities where additional moisture can be added to your environment raising the humidity levels in your home. Problem areas in your home can include the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry or utility room. These areas have ample sources of moisture.
First, you should inspect any appliances to make sure there are no leaks or standing water. Dishwashers or washing machines are obvious targets, but appliances such as refrigerators or freezers can be a forgotten source of moisture too. Check for any signs of any small leaks and make sure you empty any drip trays. In laundry areas, make sure you avoid leaving damp or wet laundry sitting for long periods. Use a dryer or hang wet clothes outside on a line where possible.
Use exhaust fans to help remove steam from source as soon as it occurs. In the bathroom use exhaust fans when bathing, consider reducing bath or shower temperatures too. After a bath or shower, wipe wet surfaces removing unwanted standing moisture. In the kitchen use cooker extraction fans to help remove unwanted steam immediately. Avoid leaving unwanted standing water around sink areas.
Your best mold prevention strategy is preventing the conditions that mold spores thrive in. You’ll know there is a potential humidity and related condensation problem if you regularly notice steamed or foggy windows. Other tell-tale signs to watch out for is any evidence of water gathering on sills or mold growing around your A/C unit. Musty or damp smells in your home can be another warning sign you may have a humidity and dampness problem.
Controlling humidity is your best starting point. Some A/C units have relative humidity controls that help keep conditions optimal for the comfort of you and your family while also helping to prevent condensation conditions from occurring. Make sure to check your HVAC settings. Consider using a dehumidifier too.
Avoid unwanted moisture sources that raise humidity levels
You are advised to avoid creating situations that raise the humidity levels unnecessarily.
Wet areas should be dried immediately possible. After a bath or shower, wipe surfaces to quickly remove unwanted moisture. In kitchen and bathroom areas, exhaust fans should be used to remove unwanted steam. Make sure your clothes dryer vents unwanted warm moist air outside.
Identify any copper pipes or other cold surfaces where condensation often occurs. These surfaces can be insulated to remove the condensation opportunity. Remove sources of moisture and you will also remove the opportunity for mold to get started.
Improving home ventilation can help prevent mold
The goal is to provide good ventilation, removing stale air and odors which helps keep your home fresh and air quality high, and at the same time maintaining a good temperature and humidity levels.
Consistent climate control is helpful. When warm air meets cold surfaces condensation can occur. Extra fans and good air conditioning can help reduce stale air and will reduce the opportunity for condensation. Cool air pockets can collect and gather around cold surfaces, but good ventilation and fans help move cooler air pockets and help regulate surface temperatures minimizing temperature differences that cause condensation.
Surprised? You can improve the air quality in your home with a UV lamp
Since most of us spend a large part of our time at home, it makes sense to ensure the air quality is high as possible. Sometimes warm temperatures, poor ventilation, and humid environments are unavoidable. However, you might find it surprising to learn that UV lights could offer an alternative solution.
In warm, moist locations tricky to ventilate, the addition of UV lights, invisible to our eye, but is proven to be damaging to mold spores. The proper UV light installations can be a contributing factor in helping prevent mold. These UV lights can be used in hard to reach areas, such as A/C vents where condensation might occur, or in basement or crawl spaces. UV lights can play a useful part in your mold prevention strategy.
The humidity levels in your home can be controlled. Inspect for leaks or standing water, remove any moisture and avoid standing water where possible. Use extraction fans to avoid steam, and promote better circulation where possible. Consider using a dehumidifier if necessary and check your HVAC settings to make use of humidity controls provided. Take any steps you can to help prevent condensation. Following these steps will ensure the best quality air in your home and will help prevent the conditions that can promote mold.
If you liked this article, subscribe to Rentometer's email newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in rental housing.