The really short answer to this is “excess moisture,” which probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. And in Florida, we have plenty of moisture! That is, in the form of humidity.
Humidity is a comfort issue first and foremost. Any relative humidity level above 50% doesn’t allow our bodies to sweat and, as a result, we cannot cool off. Running your air conditioner at a lower temperature helps a little, since lower temperatures do decrease moisture. However, your air conditioner is not built for this job and does very little for mold remediation in West Palm Beach, FL.
Besides, what if you aren’t home or your home is a part-time vacation home, and therefore you aren’t even using your air conditioner? Well, then you’ve just compounded the problem. What causes the worst of mold growth in situations like this?
Poor Outdoor Housekeeping
It starts outside of your home. Each spring, you should check your gutters and downspouts, which carry water away from your property. They can become clogged, and therefore cause water to sit stagnantly. As you may imagine, this encourages mold growth.
Many homeowners—particularly those who are only in their homes part-time, don’t notice things like cracked roof shingles, deteriorating sundeck flashing, or the loose frame of a door or window. The thing is, though, these all invite unwanted moisture into the home, therefore potentially causing mold development.
Poor Indoor Housekeeping
We mentioned the air conditioner conundrum above. When you consider how high our temperatures and relative humidity rises, and how long it stays up there, then you can understand how easy it is for mold and mildew to grow. We advise investing in a programmable thermostat, set to come on when the indoor temperature reaches 78-80°F. Remember, anything lower than that is a waste of energy, especially if you aren’t home to enjoy it.
If you are going to leave your home unoccupied for an extended period of time, then it’s a good idea to walk through and make sure you don’t see any leaks occurring in your plumbing appliances. This includes checking around your toilets, washing machine, water heater, shower stalls and bathtubs, dishwasher, and refrigerator. Be sure to have any plumbing problems repaired before leaving your home.
Another very important factor in reducing the risk of mold growth in your home is having your air conditioner properly maintained. While spring is typically the “best” time to have this service done, there really isn’t a bad time to schedule it, so long as it is scheduled once a year—or twice a year if you have a heat pump. Maintenance allows our professionals to fully inspect, adjust, and clean each component of your AC, looking for problems that could lead to mold growth.
Upon our inspection, we’ll make recommendations for anything we see needs attention. This may be a repair for an aging air conditioner, or it may even be for the installation of an indoor air quality product that can fend off mold before it even has the chance to form—a UV air purifier. We’re happy to answer any questions about what the best solution for your home is.
We are one of the very few HVAC companies in south Florida that are also licensed mold assessors, mold remediators, and duct cleaners. Contact Envirotech Air Quality Services today!