The summer season brings bright sun, warm weather, and longer days with it. But something a bit more unpleasant comes alongside those wonderful things: mold.
Mold thrives in the humidity of summertime. Once it starts to grow, it can be difficult to stop the spread. Read on to learn why mold is dangerous and how to prevent mold using an HVAC system.
How Dangerous Is Mold?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, molds are a natural part of the environment and don’t typically cause problems. But when mold begins to grow indoors, it can become dangerous fast. Once mold spores land on a wet spot, they spread quickly, releasing allergens and irritants into the air.
These allergens can negatively affect indoor air quality. Inhaling mold spores can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma attacks in certain individuals. Exposure to mold is also associated with a variety of other health effects and symptoms, including a runny nose, irritated eyes, skin rashes, and more.
What Causes Mold to Grow?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold grows in places with a lot of moisture. It can enter the home through doors, windows, and vents, or it may be brought in from the outside by people and pets. Once inside, it can grow on almost any type of material, including wood, tile, fabric, and more.
Chances are, you have mold in your home. It is impossible to eliminate mold, but the key to prevention is managing moisture. If mold lands on a damp or wet area, it will multiply.
You can identify mold growth by sight and smell. It may smell musty and look like dark green, yellow, brown, black, or gray spots. If you are wondering how to prevent black mold, there are ways to test for mold type, but regardless, you should remove any mold as soon as you are aware of it.
How Can an HVAC System Help?
As temperatures and humidity levels rise in the summer, the risk of mold growing in your home increases. Mold also thrives in stagnant air. Luckily, an HVAC system can help in all those areas.
The perfect mold growth temperature in Fahrenheit ranges between the high-70s and the mid-80s. Because of this, you should aim to keep your house temperature around the low- to mid-70s. If you keep the inside of your home cool with an HVAC system, you can prevent mold from being able to grow in the first place.
Stagnant air allows mold spores to settle, enabling growth. An HVAC system is designed to improve air circulation throughout the home. This helps in keeping mold spores from landing and staying put in one area of the house, making it easier to ventilate and improve air quality.
When it comes to the ideal humidity level for mold growth, you should aim to keep indoor humidity levels under 60 percent. Low humidity means less water vapor is in the air, and mold cannot grow. If you can get it there, try to stay between 30 and 50 percent humidity indoors.
HVAC systems actually extract water vapor from the air. Removing water vapor decreases the humidity level and helps regulate it. Before summer starts, you may want to have a professional take a look at your A/C to make sure it is running optimally and removing as much water vapor as it should.
If you are going on a summer vacation, you should factor in the temperature of your home while you’re away. Set your thermostat to regulate the temperature and keep it around the low 70s. This will help prevent mold from growing, so you can enjoy your time away without worry.
What Else Can You Do to Stop Mold Growth?
While using an HVAC system can help prevent mold from growing and spreading, you may need to take additional steps to combat it.
For example, while an HVAC system can decrease humidity indoors, it can only do so much. You may need to invest in a dehumidifier to regulate areas prone to dampness. If you live in an area affected by hurricanes or floods, then a dehumidifier is a necessity to manage moisture.
Certain indoor activities can increase humidity levels, too. For instance, cooking on a stove, showering, doing laundry, and washing dishes can up the humidity inside your home.
The key here is to ventilate. Open the windows or set up fans to improve airflow when you are doing these activities. Doing so will help keep the area dry.
Spills and leaks should also be cleaned up as soon as possible. If you are aware of a plumbing leak, don’t let it sit, or moisture will begin to build up. You should also close widows if it starts to rain to avoid wet windowsills and floors.
If it has started to grow indoors, you need to clean up dangerous mold in house areas immediately. With a simple mix of detergent and water, you can scrub mold away on your own. But make sure the windows are open and the area dries completely.
After cleaning up mold, you may want to get an air purifier. Setting one up near the moldy area can help grab and remove mold spores from the air. An air purifier can also extract other allergens and pollutants to improve air quality, which may help to prevent future mold growth.
If you are still struggling with mold after taking these preventative steps, you may need to talk to a mold removal professional. These experienced professionals will inspect your home and provide recommendations on how to go about cleaning up the mold. If the mold only affects a small area, you may be able to tackle it on your own, but professional removal services will be needed for large areas.
Ask an Expert About How to Prevent Mold
If you have more questions about how to prevent mold using an HVAC system, seek out professional advice. Here at Florida Heat & Air, our on-call technicians are available to answer questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We provide prompt, expert service, and we can help you schedule A/C and heating services or get a quote.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today.