Mold and Mildew Information
Molds thrive and become a problem when the relative humidity level is above 60%, with temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees F. Always set the fan mode switch of your air conditioner thermostat in the AUTO position, never in the ON position. Why? When set to the ON position, the blower fan runs continuously and the moisture which has condensed on your air conditioner’s evaporator coil during cooling is re-evaporated and blown back into your home before it can drain off the coil and out of your home. This causes the relative humidity in your home to be significantly greater than if the air conditioner thermostat fan mode switch is set to the AUTO position.
Keep indoor humidity below 60%. Between 30% and 50% is ideal. Humidity meters are available at hardware stores. Mold can be visible or invisible, and can grow unseen. Hidden mold can be detected by smell. If you do not see mold growth, but notice a musty odor, mold may be growing behind water-damaged materials, such as walls, carpeting or wallpaper.
Mold can be dangerous to your health, even if you aren’t allergic. It should be eradicated as soon as it is found. If you notice a musty smell in your house, contact a qualified inspector to determine the source.
Try using one of the shower products to prevent mold from forming in your bathroom. Use an exhaust fan or open a window in a bathroom when showering.
Remove plastic bags from clothing – they hold moisture inside. If you prefer to cover an item, use fabric, not plastic. Use a mold/mildew inhibitor spray on outdoor furniture. Check the tracks of your sliding glass doors and windows INSIDE your home. The black streaks you see there is probably mold. Clean with water and a weak bleach solution. DRY when finished.
The Environmental Protection Agency offers the following tips to prevent mold:
- Make sure ground slopes AWAY from your foundation so that the water does not enter the house or collect around the foundation.
- Keep roof gutters and drains free of debris and in good repair. If you have a black discoloration on your roof, it isn’t dirt. Your roof is discolored and streaked because algae is growing on it.
- Examine the frame of your pool cage. If there is a dark discoloration, especially on the north side of each rafter, you have mold. Pressure washing can remove it. Pressure washing the pool deck can remove the fungus from that area. You will find the most accumulation around the entire inside perimeter along your house and pool cage, the stress relief cracks on your decking, and under the caps (lift up) that cover the holes where your handrail and swim ladder are attached to your concrete deck. The concrete pad under your pool equipment is also a prime spot for mold growth.
- Controlling moisture indoors can prevent indoor mold growth. If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem. If you remove the mold, but don’t fix the problem, the mold will return. If you see moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, dry the surface quickly. Insulate any cold water pipes that have a visibly damp exterior. Use an exhaust fan or open a window in the kitchen when cooking or washing dishes. Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves. Products such as Damp Rid Moisture Absorber prevents mildew, mold, and other musty odors. It’s ideal for use in closets, basements, cabinets, bathrooms, linen closets, recreational vehicles and more. Damp Rid can help remove excess moisture from the air.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, or a weak solution of water and common household bleach. Then dry completely.
Prevention is the easiest way to stop mold. However, if you do have a mold problem, to prevent further damage and potential health concerns, get to the bottom of the problem as quickly as possible.