How to Prevent the Growth of Mold in Florida
Florida has a very warm and humid climate. While these weather conditions are great for spending time outdoors, the same circumstances could contribute to mold growth in your home.
Compared to states with a dryer climate, Florida homes have a higher risk of dealing with mold issues. This isn't only a matter of ruined aesthetics in your home. Unchecked mold growth can cause a variety of illnesses. Certain types of mold could also directly damage your property's surfaces.
In this article, we'll look at practical ways of countering and preventing mold intrusion in your Florida home.
#1: Install HEPA Filters
Do you have HEPA filters installed inside the following components?
- Return air register
- Cooling and heating supply duct registers
- Fresh air supply intake
HEPA filter stands short for “high-efficiency particulate air filter”. These filters trap unwanted particles including dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.
These mechanical filters work wonders for removing allergens and irritants from the air inside your home. The mold spores die once inside the HEPA filter. The dry and sterile atmosphere inside the filter leaves mold spores without moisture and nutrients that are necessary for them to thrive.
#2: Inspect the problem areas
Your Florida home has numerous areas that have a higher risk of mold growth. You should check these areas of your home on a regular basis to ensure that no potentially visible mold growth goes undetected.
Here are the top places you should inspect:
- Walls and ceilings
- Both sides of your rugs
- Attics, crawl spaces, garages, and basements
- Wood furniture
- Exterior siding
- The roof and its adjacent areas
- The plumbing areas of your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room
It's not only actual mold colonies that you should watch out for. Any water damage, leaks, or even minor stains should raise alertness when you spot them.
Signs of water damage and leaks are pretty straightforward. However, many homeowners wonder how does mold growth exactly looks like. The appearance will depend on the particular mold strain but the following warning signs cover the most general characteristics and symptoms of all strains:
- Moldy patches in a variety of colors including green, white, yellow, blue, and black
- The presumed mold spots have mostly irregular outlines
- A musty odor that resembles the smell encountered in damp basements or crawl spaces
- Discoloration of wood or other building materials
- The suspected mold looks slimy or fuzzy
- Surfaces under the mold, such as textile or wood, begin to rot or disintegrate
#3: Use a hygrometer
Digital hygrometers are useful for detecting the mold risk in your home. Since it's established that high indoor humidity is linked to mold growth, keeping an eye on your home’s moisture levels is a great idea.
There are many hygrometers available on the market. You can find these devices under the names of humidity gauge or humidity meter. Use the following criteria to find the best product on the market:
- Can you control the device by using your smartphone?
- Does it run on a battery? If yes, for how long?
- What is the price-functionality ratio?
- How often does the hygrometer need calibration?
- Does it have weather prediction functionality?
- How many sensors does the device have?
The annual median indoor humidity level of your property should be less than 60 percent. Mold spores favor an indoor climate with humidity levels that exceed 70 percent.
While hygrometers may prove to be very useful, there is a piece of information about mold growth and humidity that you should always remember. This is that the relative humidity of your home's ambient climate and local surfaces can vary greatly. This is why you should watch out for other signs of mold growth in addition to your home’s moisture and humidity levels.
#4: Lower the humidity levels
Your hygrometer may show higher humidity levels in your home than you expected. There are practical steps that you can take to lower the moisture levels of your indoor atmosphere.
Run the exhaust fans whenever necessary
After showering or cooking, run your exhaust fans to help circulate the air. This circulation has a direct benefit: any standing water is more likely to dry up.
Purchase a dehumidifier
You can opt for a portable or whole-home dehumidifier. The former is cheaper and can remove extra moisture in a confined space, such as a living room or kitchen. The latter option is a more expensive device. But the major advantage is that you can use whole-home dehumidifiers centrally to remove humidity from all your rooms. This device must be installed in your HVAC system.
Maintain your A/C unit
Regular maintenance is important to keep your A/C running efficiently. Part of this efficiency is based on its ability to remove excess humidity from your indoor air. An irregular or substandard maintenance routine stops the A/C unit from doing this job.
Boost the air movement
Run ceiling fans to enhance the air circulation inside your home. The additional movement of air can help to decrease the overall moisture indoors.
Conclusion: Preventing the Growth of Mold in Florida
Mold growth is a considerable threat to your health and property. The expansion of mold spores can damage your indoor surfaces, including textiles and wood. Plus, the moldy air can cause or exasperate health issues in susceptible individuals.
Here are the top things you can to do prevent mold growth in your Florida home:
- Keep a close guard on the problem areas in your home
- Purchase a hygrometer to detect humidity levels favoring mold growth
- Install HEPA filters to remove mold spores that fly around in the air
- Conduct proper maintenance of your A/C unit
- Consider purchasing a dehumidifier when your home experiences high humidity levels
You can also hire a professional mold inspection company, such as Markham Inspection Services, to inspect your home for mold. Give us a call at (407) 913-6363 to get a clear picture of your home’s indoor air quality today!