It is sometimes described as “cancer” for your home. It is something that grows behind walls and sometimes cannot be easily seen. It is none other than mold. As a homeowner, we care deeply about keeping our home intact, healthy, clean, and in shape to last for many, many decades. That why mold is always something to be concerned about.
In Florida, the humidity is often higher than in other parts of the country. That is why you should have a heightened concern about mold. Mold tends to thrive in moist, humid environments.
There is some good news so you do not need to be overly worried. There are some easy steps you can take to control mold in your home. One of those steps is to use air conditioning to keep humidity and mold at bay. Accordingly, this blog will discuss the basics of mold, its causes, how you can prevent mold growth, and why you should and shouldn’t worry about mold in your home.
At Aztil Air Conditioning, we understand how air conditioning can help you put a stop to mold. We are one of the top air conditioning companies in the Palm Beach area, and we are ready to give your home an air conditioning checkup so you know that you can reduce the humidity in your home. Give us a call to learn more about what we can do to keep your AC system humming along. Our number is 888-729-8452, or you can fill out our online contact form.
What Is Mold?
There are different types of mold that can impact your home. In general, molds are types of fungi. Tiny mold particles are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air. Molds actually serve a purpose by breaking down dead materials and can be found growing on soil, foods, and plants.
In addition, molds are very common in buildings and homes. So, if you do have some mold in your home, you should not be incredibly alarmed. Mold is common in dwellings.
To grow, mold needs moisture. In houses, mold will be found where humidity levels are high – like most places in Florida in the summertime! Basements and showers are, as you would expect, the places where mold can be most prevalent because of the large amount of moisture in those parts of the house.
Molds produce very tiny cells, called “spores,” that are spread easily through the air, but can also be spread by water and insects. Spores are seed-like, in that they form new mold colonies when they land in a location that has the right conditions for growth.
What Causes Mold to Grow?
Mold only requires a few things to be able to grow and multiply:
- Nutrients (food),
- Moisture, and
- A suitable place to grow.
With regard to food for mold, building materials are mold’s chosen main course. Wood, sheetrock and other materials are sufficient nutrients for mold. In fact, even dust can serve as a food source for mold.
When it comes to where mold will grow, mold will be happy to grow virtually anywhere that there is sufficient moisture or high humidity. That is why the key to stopping indoor mold growth is to control moisture. As you likely know, there are many sources of moisture:
- Outside flooding, from storm water, or overflowing lakes;
- Indoor flooding, from sink or tub overflows, overflowing toilets, air conditioner drain pans, or sewerage systems;
- Condensation, when indoor humidity is too high or surfaces are too cold;
- Water leaks from outside the home, such as a roof leak;
- Indoor plumbing leaks or broken water pipes;
- Outdoor sprinkler spray hitting the house walls;
- Insufficient venting of humid areas like the kitchen or bathroom;
- Use of a humidifier;
- Hanging wet clothes in a non-ventilated area;
- Overwatering house plants;
How Can I Tell if There is Mold in My Home?
Indoor mold can typically be seen or smelled. If you can see mold growth, then you do not need to do a mold test. In fact, the Florida Department of Health does not recommend mold testing or sampling, which can be expensive.
Instead, here are some ways to check for mold:
- Look for visible mold growth. It often appears as a staining or fuzzy growth on furniture or building materials. Also, look for signs of moisture or water damage.
- Look around air handling units (air conditioners, furnaces) for standing water. Also, check evaporator coils, liner surfaces, drain pans, and drain lines.
- Look where you notice mold odors, which can be an earthy or musty smell.
How Can I Prevent Mold Growth?
Preventing or controlling moisture is the key. Without water, mold cannot start growing or spreading. Accordingly, keep your home clean and dry. Standing water left for even 24 hours could allow common molds to take hold. Overall, by keeping humidity levels below 60% and venting moisture from showers and the kitchen you can prevent mold. Other ways include:
- Clean and dry up spills within 24 hours;
- Dry out wet building materials and carpets within 24 hours;
- Most importantly, use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to reduce the indoor humidity levels below 60%.
- Do not put wall to wall carpets in your bathroom or basement.
To clean mold once discovered, you can use detergent/soapy water or a commercial mold and mildew cleaner to remove it. Use gloves and goggles to be safe during cleaning. Be sure to thoroughly dry the area cleaned, and dispose of any sponges or rags used to clean the moldy area.
So, How Worried Should I Be About Mold in My Home?
You should be somewhat worried, but don’t go crazy. There will always be mold in your home in the form of spores or mold cells. Mold in the air is normal. That being said, you should not let mold grow or multiply. More mold means that building materials and furnishings can be damaged. So, use your central air conditioning system with a dehumidifier to keep mold controlled.
For more information, call us at Aztil Air Conditioning. We are one of the best air conditioning companies in the area, making sure your home stays dry. We can be reached at 888-729-8452, or you can fill out our online contact form.