06 May Great Tips To Controlling Moisture Levels In Your Home
Mold can pose serious health hazards, especially for those with asthma and allergies. Controlling mold growth requires reducing moisture levels, such as from leaks, high humidity or changes in temperature.
Here are 9 tips that will help keep your home dry and mold-free.
Get rid of any drips
Even a small leak could lead to major mold problems. Make sure you check the pipes behind sinks and behind your refrigerator and washing machine (if they have a water line). Repair leaks right away.
When watering indoor plants, don’t be lazy
When watering plants, be careful not to overwater or spill. Also, keep a dish underneath the pot in the event of a leak. It is also not a good idea to place a potted plant on a rug or carpet.
The hot water tank is being inspected
Install a battery-operated floor water alarm near your hot-water tank to be alerted in case it leaks. Consider having a floor water alarm connected to your central alarm system. You should replace your gas-fired hot water heater before the warranty runs out. Although electric hot water heaters are more durable than their warranties, it is still important to keep track of its warranty date.
Keep the relative humidity at a minimum of 5%
Standing water is not always necessary for mold growth. Some molds can grow even when relative humidity (RH), is above 80%. The RH of air will rise as it cools. Below-grade spaces (below ground) such as crawl spaces and basements are naturally damp and cool, so it is important to control the RH.
To measure the RH, use a thermo- hydrometer. In finished basements and crawl spaces, the RH should not exceed 50%.
Dehumidification is recommended for spring and summer months between mid-April to mid-October in northeast.
Make sure your dehumidifier has enough space. Attach the condensate pump to the machine so that it can drain to the outside or into a sink. This will save you the effort of emptying the reservoir.
Unfinished basements do not need dehumidification in winter. A finished basement should be kept warm throughout the year, regardless of whether it is being used or not. The thermostat must be set at a minimum temperature of 57 degrees F.
Do not over-humidify
Winter is when we close doors and windows less often. This can lead to moisture buildup in rooms above ground. An exhaust fan that vents to the outside of your cook stove can be used to cook or bake.
After you have finished showering or taking a bath, turn on the exhaust fan in your bathroom for twenty minutes. To dry the surfaces, open the door and use an oscillating fan to cool the bathroom.
Keep the RH below 40% in rooms that are not subject to extreme cold if you have central humidification. If you have a portable humidifier, the same applies to any room. Use a thermo-hygrometer to measure RH.
Keep your exterior closets warm
High humidity can occur in closets with walls that face the exterior. These conditions can cause mold growth on walls and on cool-contained goods. Avoid overfilling a closet with personal items. Keep your stuff off the floor and away form cool walls.
Do not install carpeting or place rugs on your closet floor. Carpeting traps biodegradable dust. Clean the baseboard trim and dust off the floor.
A heater or just the light can be used to heat an exterior closet. This will warm it and reduce the RH. You can also leave the door open to allow warm air to flow into the space. A louvered closet door can be installed in place of a solid one.
Keep some rooms cool and heat others
It’s tempting to heat the rooms you use most in winter and keep the rest of the house cool. Many times, wood-burning stoves can make some rooms warm while others feel cold. While this may save you money on heating, it can lead to elevated RH conditions in rooms that aren’t heated enough. Then you’ll be able to see what could happen next: mold growth.
Isolate your crawl space
The crawl space should be sealed off from the outside and dehumidified. If the crawl space is not properly sealed, humid air could enter and cause mold growth and condensation on cool surfaces.
To limit moisture evaporation, a crawl space with a dirt floor should be covered with a mesh-enforced, vapor barrier or with the appropriate cementitious material.
Attached garages shouldn’t be flooded with moisture
In summer, you can dehumidify your garage in particularly humid conditions. Just keep the RH below 70%. Before you drive your vehicle into the garage, remove snow from the car. If snow falls on the garage floor, wipe it off before it melts.