News & FAQ

8 Ways to Keep Humidity Down and Mold Out

7/8/2016

Valerie Johannsen People & Brand Manager

One of the most destructive problems that a Des Moines homeowner can face is mold. In addition to expensive structural damage, it can cause life-threatening health issues for people who suffer from asthma and mold-related allergies.

In the summer, with humidity levels high, a leaky home is particularly susceptible to mold infestation. It can grow undetected for months, even years, in ceilings, behind walls and plumbing systems – anywhere moisture can collect and remain hidden. Mold can also grow inside a central air duct system, which is one of the worst places for it to proliferate. Airborne mold spores can cause serious respiratory problems including asthma exacerbation as well as coughing, wheezing and severe upper respiratory conditions in otherwise healthy individuals.

There are a variety of species of mold that can grow from high humidity alone if it stays elevated long enough. Startlingly, the humidity only needs to be higher than 55 degrees for certain molds to thrive. This is especially concerning for Des Moines homeowners, where the average outdoor humidity can range anywhere from 80 – 85 degrees. Of course, it’s the humidity inside the home that should concern us, but when it’s high outside maintaining a healthy level inside is not so easy.

8 Ways to Keep Humidity Down and Mold Out

The good news is that there are a variety of ways to keep indoor humidity levels down – as well as other proactive methods to keep mold from developing in your home this summer. Service Legends has compiled a list of simple strategies for keeping your home interior dry and your air free of airborne mold spores and other toxins.

  1. Buy a Digital Hygrometer – A hygrometer is an instrument that measures the moisture content in the air. These are especially useful if you are having trouble keeping a healthy humidity level. If you do not own a digital thermostat for your HVAC system (which also gauges the humidity level in the home), investing in one is recommended. 8 Best Residential Digital Hygrometers
  2. Portable Dehumidifier – If you have a humidity problem contained to one room, a portable dehumidifier can help manage the levels. Old homes with window or wall leaks are susceptible to mold infestation in the summer. For a room with poor ventilation and air leaks, a portable dehumidifier is a good short-term solution.
  3. Ventilation – In the kitchen, bathroom, basement and other areas that are prone to dampness, turn on the vent fans. If there are no vent fans in these rooms, consider having them installed by an electrician.
  4. Fresh Air – In the summer, during the morning when it’s cool and dry, open windows to help increase the ventilation. This is a great way to level out a humid home and lower carbon dioxide levels. If your home has been closed up due to the warmer temperatures, carbon dioxide can build up, especially in rooms where people spend the most time. Fresh air will also reduce odors and stuffiness – in addition to drying out those damp, musty areas.
  5. Vacuum with a HEPA Filter – A HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter can help to fight mold spore concentrations embedded in carpets and on the floor. These filters are easy to find at your local hardware store and are relatively inexpensive (though they vary from brand to brand). You can also use HEPA vacuum cleaners to clean air vents and registers – and musty areas in the home that might contribute to mold growth.
  6. Investigate Damp/Wet Areas – Do you have areas in your home that are often damp or wet? It’s important to dry wet areas immediately. A leaky pipe or faucet, a damp basement area, condensation on a window sill and even minor spills should be dried thoroughly within 48 hours. Also, don’t let wet clothing or bath towels sit out for too long. Once mold has infiltrated fabric, it is very difficult to completely get rid of it.
  7. Temporarily Replace Indoor Plants – If you have a collection of house plants that have been over-watered and smell of mold or mildew, try temporarily placing them on the patio or in the garage. Plants are a great way to improve indoor air quality, but they can also add quite a bit of moisture to the air. If you are having issues with high humidity, temporarily removing them is a good way to help combat it. Make sure that the plants have not been over watered and that the soil doesn’t contain mold. If you find mold in the soil, re-pot the plants with new soil before bringing them back inside the house.
  8. Ultraviolet Light Technology – Homes with particularly bad mold and mold spore issues can greatly benefit from ultraviolet light technology. UV lamps placed where mold and mildew are a problem can help to significantly reduce contamination levels. There are also UV lights designed to work with HVAC systems which have proven to be very effective in fighting mold as well. There are myriad UV products on the market for eliminating mold.

Heating and Cooling Des Moines Since 1997

If you think your home might have a mold problem, don’t wait to act on it. Mold is insidious and will only grow and spread over time – damaging your home and triggering allergy and respiratory problems. Service Legends has a wide variety of indoor air quality (IAQ) products and can help you with solutions for mold infestation.

Call us today at 515-657-6634 and we’ll send out a technician to give your home a full assessment.

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