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. But indoors, it not only can cause health issues for your family, but it can result in costly damage to your home and belongings.
While moisture problems in a home can be difficult to remedy, the good news is we know a whole lot about what it takes to protect Virginia homes and families. We suggest ONE simple and inexpensive solution that can really 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 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, the 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 the use of 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 major 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 puddle in your yard after a heavy rain? Sump pumps are amazing for some homes predisposed to ground water 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 good venting for any appliance that produces moisture is important.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and windows when dryer weather arrives.
- Pull up or away any carpet from areas where water has leaked. Increase ventilation and air temperature to quickly aid the drying process.
- Buy water detectors for your basement and near major appliances like water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers.
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.
If your home floods, 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. 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!