Mold Prevention Tips
Mold prevention can be quite a challenge here in Southwest Florida. In this post, we provide some tips on how to help prevent mold from becoming a problem in your home.
While the Florida lifestyle is the envy of many living in colder climates, our sub-tropical weather can do more than relax and soothe. Many home-owners find themselves stuck with unwanted house guest as the seasonal temperatures heat up – mold.
The Importance Of Mold Prevention
Stopping mold in its tracks is a challenge, but one that needs to be faced before the organisms damage equipment, destroy walls and floors, or harm the health of you and your pets. Cleaning and preventive maintenance of an air conditioning system is important in Southwest Florida.
Mold can accumulate in several difference areas of an air conditioning system, and it’s important to have your unit checked and cleaned once or twice a year. If mold is able to grow, it makes the air conditioning unit work harder, which costs more and decreases the life expectancy if your AC System. Additionally, the spores blow throughout the house, building up over time. This is particularly dangerous for people with asthma or other breathing problems.
Health Problems Related To Mold
The Florida Department of Health’s website points out that there are four kinds of health problems that come from exposure to mold: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and toxic effects.
The site explains: “For people who are sensitive to mold, symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, wheezing, skin rashes or burning, watery or reddened eyes may occur. People with severe allergies to mold may have more serious reactions, such as hay-fever-like symptoms or shortness of breath.”
What If I Have Mold?
The Environment Protection Agency suggests not running the HVAC system if mold is suspected, as it could spread the spores throughout the building. But stopping the use of an air conditioning system due to suspected mold growth in Southwest Florida would create uncomfortable conditions during the summer. That’s why regular cleaning and maintenance is crucial to your family and your employees’ health.
Most of us think we only need to prepare against mold if we’re going away for entire summer. Few realize that, under the right circumstance, mold can from in just 48 hours! And once it starts, it reproduces every six minutes. So do the math: if you’re leaving for more than a week, there’s an outside chance you could return to a funny smell that means there’s something wrong.
Generally speaking, if you’re only leaving for a week or two, all you need to do is set your thermostat at 80 or 82 degrees and you should not have a problem. If you plan to be away for a month or longer, that’s when it would be wise to take more serious precautionary measures.
What Steps Can Be Taken To Prevent Mold?
Here are some tips to help keep mold at bay while your away.
- Close windows before you leave (especially the bathroom and kitchen windows) and seal all sliding glass doors
- Draw all south and west-facing blinds and curtains
- Clean or replace your air conditioner filter
- Turn up spreads and dust ruffles on couch and chairs. Stand your couch cushions on end
- Open cabinet drawers and closets, especially bathroom and bedrooms
- Turn the hot and cold water off (This should be done even if you are gone for a short time). Flush your water for a few minutes when you return
- If you have a de-humidistat, set it at 55% humidity and 80 degreed. This means the temperature must exceed 80 degrees and the humidity 50% before the air conditioner turns on
Keep in mind that you want air to circulate, not to remain stagnant. Your thermostat control should be set to automatic and cool. Set your thermostat to a temperature that will allow it to run (80-82 degrees).