High Humidity, Mold Growth and Moisture Damage Go Hand in Hand
It’s a combination you want to avoid: moisture and humidity. Together, they can breed mold growth that can trigger allergic reactions and also cause extensive damage to your home. Some humidity is a good thing. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that during the summer, the indoor relative humidity should be about 60 percent. During the fall and winter, this humidity level should register less than 40 percent to keep condensation problems at bay. While there are many different types of mold spores, they all have one thing in common: they flock to moisture and then propagate quickly. The key, then, is to prevent mold growth in the first place. You can do this in myriad ways:
- Immediately repair water damage inside your home. Get expert help if you’re unsure whether water remains under floors or inside walls — two dark places where mold finds a safe haven to grow.
- Keep a dehumidifier in your basement to soak up condensation.
- Run a bathroom exhaust fan during baths and showers, and keep the fan running for a few minutes afterward until the humidity is gone.
- Clean your bathtubs and showers once a week with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water to ward off mold growth.
- Check the ventilation of all the exhaust fans in your home. The wiring should be sturdy and sound and the vents should lead outdoors.
- Check single-pane windows for signs of moisture. Blot it up immediately and seal these windows with weatherstripping. Windows that face north or south are particularly prone to condensation problems.
- Avoid leaving windows in your home open for long periods of time when it’s humid outside.
- Keep all the doors in your home cracked open slightly, especially those that lead to closets. Dark places are obvious breeding grounds for mold spores.
- Check your downspouts regularly and clear them of leaves, dirt and other debris.