Virginia weather is anything but predictable. But this time of year, it’s reliably hot and sticky! Heat and humidity are really uncomfortable and make your A/C work twice as hard. But the mold it invites into your home is the bigger villain of this mischievous moisture that plagues Virginia summers. Many types of mold naturally play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees.
Indoors, it can not only cause health issues for your family, it can also result in costly damage to your home and belongings. While small problems can be cleaned, a larger mold issue may require professional cleaning to be safe.
While moisture problems in a home can be challenging to remedy, the good news is there are things you can do to prevent it. We suggest ONE simple and inexpensive solution that can help keep those indoor moisture levels down. It can help protect your home and its contents, and keep the mold outside where it belongs!
Get a Portable Dehumidifier
No mold grows without water or moisture. Ideally, homeowners should keep aim to keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity, and a dehumidifier is the easiest way to do it. While whole house units require a professional and can be pricey, a large amount of moisture they remove lets you run your air conditioner less. But depending on your square footage, a good medium or large capacity floor unit for just a few hundred dollars can do the trick. If your indoor space is at the high end of a dehumidifier's capacity, choose a larger size to ensure efficiency.
Floor dehumidifiers require minimal maintenance other than finding the ideal location, emptying the collected water as needed, and occasionally cleaning the filter. A basement is a great spot and may allow for a hose to automatically move collected water straight into a floor drain or sump pump.
There is a caveat!
If you’ve got a water problem, you’ve got to fix it.
Water damage in homes is a significant source of costly insurance claims. It can come from flooding, a failed appliance, leaky pipes, seepage in basements, and old weather stripping on your doors and windows. Maybe you need to clean and repair your gutters to working order. Have you ever ensured your yard properly slopes away from your foundation? Do you ever have water puddles in your yard after heavy rain? Sump pumps are fantastic for some homes predisposed to groundwater and drainage challenges.
Here are a few more tips:
- Keep your air conditioning drip pans clean and its drain lines clear and flowing.
- Ventilation is key and fans are your friends! Bathroom fans and exhaust fans in the kitchen and proper venting for any appliance that produces moisture is essential.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and windows when dryer weather arrives.
- Pull up any carpet from areas where water has leaked. Increase ventilation and air temperature to aid the drying process quickly.
- Buy water detectors for your basement and near major appliances like water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers.
- Clean mold safely with white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. Because mold is resilient, it's best not to dilute the vinegar. Spray it directly onto the mold, and let it sit for at least an hour without rinsing or scrubbing so that the vinegar gets completely absorbed by the mold.
Even wintertime can bring mold!
- Keep cold surfaces prone to condensation covered with insulation, such as cold water pipes.
- If you ever see condensation build up on your window panes during winter months, you’ve got high levels of moisture in your home. Act quickly to wipe the surface down and turn up the dehumidifier setting.
Flooding emergencies and mold
If your home floods from an equipment breakdown, it may be covered under your home insurance policy, unlike flood water damage. Timely cleanup is critical. Mold will begin growing within 24-48 hours of water damage and can be expensive and difficult to remove if it’s not nipped in the bud quickly. This is where that dehumidifier can come really in handy. While most of the time you can digitally set your unit to maintain a good humidity level in your home, you can manually keep it running for quicker results during the cleanup period.
There you go! One really good solution to help a complicated problem for Virginians. Not a bad trade for the preservation of home and family. Now go pour yourself a tall glass of sweet tea and enjoy your summer!