For many people in Maryland and Washington, DC, the worst thing about the summer isn’t the sweltering heat – it’s the nasty, sticky, exhausting humidity that our area faces every year. And that stickiness isn’t the only problem that comes with excessive humidity – there’s also the mold and mildew that thrive in it.
Mold and mildew do more than just smell bad – if left untreated, they can have devastating effects on your health and your home. Not only that, but mold and mildew development can indicate potentially serious moisture problems within your walls, indicating leaks that could harm your homes plumbing system.
Where do mold and mildew come from?
Mold and mildew spores travel through the air and thrive in hot, humid environments. When they settle down, either on organic material or inorganic materials such as tile, plastic, insulation and sheetrock, they can manifest themselves in different ways – mold as a black, green or brown fuzz or film and mildew as a flat, powdery substance.
Both mold and mildew need moisture to start growing and organic material to eat, so any surface that has both of these things is fair game – this includes walls, ceilings, books, furniture, even clothes and paper! Mold can appear literally anywhere where there is moisture.
How do I know when I have a mold or mildew problem?
Finding mold is easy – usually, you’ll be able to see it! Mold or mildew infestations start out as growths or clusters of specks on moist surfaces, often accompanied by a musty odor. If worsening allergy symptoms or frequent illnesses are making you suspect you have a mold problem that you can’t see, call an HVAC contractor to locate mold behind your walls.
How do I control mold and mildew growth?
The only way to stop mold and mildew growth in your home is to call a plumber control the moisture problems first. In addition, there are a number of things you can do to get the problem under control while you wait on a more permanent solution.
First, locate and eliminate all moisture leaks in your home (this may require the help of a plumber). Leaking roofs and plumbing fixtures or aging HVAC systems should all be inspected and fixed (if necessary) as quickly as possible. In addition, consider installing a sump pump or dehumidifier if there is moisture accumulation in concrete slabs or basement walls.
Once you’ve found all the points where moisture is entering, you should make sure your home is as well ventilated as possible. Run a dehumidifier and keep windows open as often as possible. Use ceiling as well as exhaust fans to keep fresh, warm air circulating through your home. This will help prevent moisture accumulation and will help blow mold and mildew spores out of your home.
You should also make sure you seal all air leaks in your home by caulking or stripping doors, windows and walls. This will prevent mold and mildew spores from entering your home without you realizing it and having no way to get out.
Make sure you clean and dry any wet fabric (clothing, upholstery, etc) as soon as possible and that you don’t leave it lying around.
If the mold is in your ducts, call a professional HVAC contractor and schedule air duct cleaning services. If your ducts are mold-free, running your air conditioner will also dehumidify your house, stopping mold before it starts.
If you think you have a mold problem in your Maryland or Washington, DC home, call Michael Bonsby HVAC & Plumbing today!