With today's homes being built tighter and tighter, the risk of having a mold problem has increased. The tighter a home is, the more likely the buildup of moisture that invites household mold and mildew. When preventing mold from spreading in your home consider the following:
- Mold and mildew on exterior and bathroom walls is common, and reducing the relative humidity indoors stops these problems. Indoor relative humidity is controlled with proper use of efficient kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
- Vent your clothes dryer to the exterior of your home. A heat-recovery ventilation (HRV) system can also be installed to bring fresh air in and exhaust stale indoor air, but to avoid mold, this systems must be kept scrupulously clean, and have pleated media filters with an efficiency rating of at least MERV 6.
- One of the most common places for mold growth is carpeting in finished basements. Using a dehumidifier and keeping the relative humidity in a basement at no more than 50% will keep mold from growing in carpeting, though it's safer to use resilient or ceramic-tile flooring instead of carpeting.
- Dusty, dirty liners (insulation) in heating and air-conditioning equipment also invite mold growth. Using pleated media filters (with at least a MERV 6 rating) in heating and cooling systems will minimize the chances of the growth. Also make sure that construction dust, particularly sawdust, is prevented from entering the duct system during construction or renovation.
- Another option in prevention is to install a whole-home dehumidifier. Unlike portable dehumidifiers which serve just a small area and must be constantly emptied, a whole-home unit is permanently installed by a qualified HVAC technician into your heating and cooling system. It runs 24/7 to automatically reduce the amount of moisture in the air in your home. Whole home dehumidifiers can remove as much as 90 pints of water a day from the air inside your home.
Preventing mold is really all about managing the moisture inside your house. Keep moisture to a minimum is the most effective way to prevent mold in the home.