Some household ailments are due to age, wear and tear. That noisy water heater finally springs a leak, or the roof tiles you’ve been nursing along for years crumble apart. But mold can happen in your house whether it’s brand new or a nineteenth century classic. A serious mold infestation can cause all sorts of heath issues and empty your wallet, forcing you to live out of a hotel for a month while the costly mold remediation crew does their work. It’s impossible to rid your house completely of mold spores, but what you can do is minimize the chance of a real problem by limiting the presence of condensation in your home. The more humid the air, the faster mold will grow. So if you can do your best to cut down on the condensation, you’ll likely never have to deal with a mold problem. Here are five tips for preventing condensation and mold in your home.
Although you might never think to start here, prepare your home for the long haul by ridding it of as much clutter as possible. With shelves and tabletops covered in stuff, you’re actually cutting down the flow of air through your home. If the HVAC system can’t properly circulate air, condensation will result. Also keep an eye out for window treatments or furniture blocking your airways. Keep all pathways clear, and if you haven’t used something in six months or more, put it on the curb.
Summer is now in full swing, and in most parts of the country those high temperatures come along with more than a little bit of humidity. The more humid your home, the greater the condensation and risk of mold. So keep a close eye on your thermostat. Most people are looking for ways to save money, so they set their air conditioner at the highest possible temperature. But that will cut down on its ability to dehumidify the air. On the other end of the spectrum, set the A/C unit too low and condensation will collect on the surfaces. Leave the thermostat around 78 degrees or so, and you should be fine on all counts.
Perhaps that sounds like too strict a standard, especially during those intense heat waves. In that case, just make sure you have the correct size air conditioning unit for the space. This is tricky, especially if you are dealing with central air that was installed before you bought the house. If the unit is too small for your home, the temperature won’t be properly managed. But if it’s too large you’ll have a tough time reaching that balance as well, and will constantly deal with condensation issues. Reach out to a professional HVAC maintenance company in order to gauge if your current unit is right for your home.
This is a lot to think about, but there are ways to idiot-proof the process. Pick up a humidity monitor and you’ll take all the guesswork out of these efforts. The goal for preventing condensation is to keep the moisture level in your home somewhere between 50% and 35% relative humidity. In the dead of summer you might peak a touch higher, but if you allow the humidity level to reach 60% or greater you’re going to deal with mold. This won’t solve the problem, but it will let you know if you’ve got work to do.
The air conditioner isn’t the only appliance in your home that can cause moisture issues. So if all is good with your A/C unit, check your home for standing water. Pay close attention to your refrigerator and freezer, your hot water tank, your doors and windows and the sump pump if you have one. If there’s a crawl space under the house, look there as well to make sure there aren’t any leaks in the foundation. Sop it up and keep an eye on the issue, and definitely thy these quick fixes before you call a contractor. If it was an isolated incident you can probably handle it without an expensive repair bill.