It’s officially summer, which means the days are longer and much more humid. While everyone else may be thinking about barbecues and pool parties, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) and IAQ (indoor air quality) experts are on high alert about something else—mold.
Mold and mildew are caused by moisture, and the hotter it is, the more moisture you’re dealing with. We’ve put together this guide for homeowners and renters on how to detect and avoid residential mold problems and mold growth this summer.
Mold and Mildew Introduction
Mold and mildew are fungi that will grow and continue to grow anywhere there is identifiable moisture. Mildew is just mold in its early stage.
Mold and mildew are important to our planet, but we don’t want any of that in our home. There are many health hazards associated with a moldy home. We want to make sure your home and your family stays healthy this summer and all year round.
The best way to prevent mold is through moisture control. Homeowners need to be especially vigilant with moisture in the hot and humid summer months.
Respiratory issues such as sinus congestion and eye, nose, and throat irritation are caused by mold. Headaches are also a common symptom. People with asthma are especially vulnerable.
Those who are most susceptible to negative health effects from living in a moldy home are elderly individuals, pregnant women, children, and of course anyone with preexisting respiratory conditions.
Take precautions this summer and stay vigilant throughout the year to keep you and your family protected from health hazards caused by residential moisture issues.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms in the home, you need indoor air quality solutions—fast! If you want more information on Indoor Air Quality, contact Service Champions for a full home IAQ inspection and consultation.
How can you take control of mold and moisture in your home if you aren’t aware of where it lurks or what it even looks like? Service Champions helps you pinpoint signs of mold or mildew in your home. Early detection is always best.
If you aren’t sure what to look for, here are the telltale signs you have mold in home:
- Odor – Mold sometimes lurks behind walls, so smell can be helpful in the identification process. If you are aware of a musty or mildewy odor in a particular area, a professional technician can help you to identify if the cause is mold growth.
If the smell is strongest when your air conditioner is on, there may be a mold problem in your HVAC system. An HVAC technician would perform an inspection of your HVAC unit and diagnose any existing issue with mold.
- Visible Mold – In the bathroom, the appearance of mold may be a lot easier to catch. Mold problems often occur in the dampest and most humid areas, such as the basement and the attic. If you think there might be a mold problem in these areas of your home, schedule a professional inspection from Service Champions.
- Condensation – Visible condensation can be a sign that there is a moisture issue in the home. And where there is moisture, mold very happily grows. To conquer condensation, you will need to address the high humidity in the home. Ensure that mold growth does not occur as a result of high indoor humidity levels by seeking dehumidification solutions from a professional.
- Health symptoms – Although the mold may not be visible, those living in the home may be experiencing congestion or respiratory discomfort. Some people report that they feel fine when they are away from home, but feel sick when inside. If breathing and health difficulties increase when you are inside, you may have a mold and/or moisture problem.
Especially in the humid summer months, we handle many reported cases of mold and moisture issues. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to keep the mold away.
Learn how to control mold and moisture this summer and year round:
- Humidity Levels – A humidity level above 60% can lead to mold growth in the home. It is important to keep your home’s humidity levels between 30-60%. Humidity monitors and home-whole dehumidification systems will independently control the humidity in your home. If you are worried about moisture and mold growth in your residence, consider incorporating a dehumidifier or installing a more permanent humidity solution, available from Service Champions.
- Use Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners – When they are on, air conditioners naturally dry out the air. But simply keeping the A/C on is not a solution that directly addresses the problem of high indoor humidity. If you live in a humid zone, you will need to use a dehumidifier to get the humidity out of the air.
Whole-home humidification systems detect and dispense moisture and humidity automatically. It independently monitors the whole home for proper humidity levels and then works to add or remove moisture as necessary. These moisture control systems are installed directly into your HVAC system, so you’ll never even know it’s there.
- Air Filter – An upgraded air filter in the air conditioner is going to keep mold from growing in your HVAC unit. Be sure to adhere to recommended standards and change out your filter every 30-90 days or as needed based on use.
- UV Air Irradiation – Ultraviolet (UV) Air Cleaners are used in HVAC systems to kill mold spores, bacteria, and other germs and allergens. When cold refrigerant passes through your evaporator coils, condensation forms, much like a cold drink on a hot summer’s day. The condensate drips into a drain pan, which then gets released to the outdoors via the condensate drain line. Still, this moist environment in your HVAC system creates an ideal environment for mold, mildew, and other bacteria. A UVC germicidal lamp kills mold spores and other microorganisms by scrambling their DNA. Combine regular air conditioning cleanings and tune-ups with a UV air cleaner to keep mold, mildew, and bacteria from growing in your HVAC system and creating a musty smell throughout the home.
- Fix Any Moisture Problems – Leaky air conditioner ducts, for example, can create the perfect moist environment for mold growth. Especially if the ducts run through the hot and humid attic, consider sealing all duct joints. A professional HVAC technician should do this.
Another moisture issue could be a poorly ventilated bathroom or kitchen. Make sure you have working ventilation fans to keep mold and mildew from growing.
- Call an Expert – Service Champions offers a wide range of Indoor Air Quality Services. Our inspections are thorough, professional and honest. We want to ensure that our customers are healthy and their homes are operating within the safe levels of humidity.
If you feel you are already dealing with moisture issues, have your home checked out right away. Mold and mildew are very serious and need to be identified and addressed before further damage and health hazards ensue.
You May Also Like:
- How Ultraviolet (UV) Light Improves Air Quality and Well-Being
- Spring Cleaning Guide to Improve Indoor Air Quality
- 3 Signs Your Indoor Air Quality is Changing Every Summer
- 6 Tips to Extend the Life of an HVAC System
- UV Air Cleaner vs. HEPA Air Cleaner: Which Do You Need?
- How to Clear a Drip Line or Condensate Line
For more information on how to take control of moisture in the home, including UV air irradiation, HEPA filtration, and HVAC cleanings, don’t hesitate to contact us.