Best Humidity Level to Mitigate Mold Damage & How to Maintain It
Mold is a prevalent problem in nearly every household today. The bacteria primarily thrive on organic matter (such as wood and paper) and moisture.
Relative humidity higher than 55% should be enough to support the growth of various types of mold, including black mold (the harsher kind). The humidity levels of an indoor environment tend to fluctuate due to the effects of air conditioners, HVAC systems, and of course, the outside weather.
The best way to mitigate mold damage in Middle Tennessee is to control the moisture in the air. Household problems such as pipe leaks can provide the perfect environment for mold spores to grow. It is worth noting that it is not possible to eliminate the presence of mold completely. In fact, most mold spores will simply enter into a dormant, less harmful state until the moisture levels are ideal for growth again.
You’ll notice that mold often grows in hard-to-reach places with inherent water leak problems that go undetected for months (or years). As such, expect to find mold organisms in tight spaces and small corners of your house where there is high moisture content to keep them moist and allowing them to release mold spores in the air for further propagation.
Over time, this mold grows around wall cavities and ceilings – making it much more difficult to get rid of using simple DIY cleanup processes.
Floods and standing water within rooms can also provide high moisture content to sustain mold spores. Leaky roofs are another possible source of moisture for mold growth.
In general, basements with poor ventilation and damp environments often create the ideal conditions for mold to flourish. The high relative humidity, along with cooler temperatures, results in the unabated growth of mold. You’ll also notice a high degree of mold damage on wood surfaces because they act as a food source for the bacteria.
Rusting and condensation on pipes, walls, and windows can also cause a mold problem. Rusting indicates a high humidity problem due to a possible leak. Condensation shows that there is a source of water in the room that has been unaccounted for. Other culprits to look out for include yellow stains on walls that often turn green or black once mold grows.
The Ideal Relative Humidity to Get Rid of Mold
Experts agree that relative humidity in the range of 55% to 60% is recommended to get rid of mold problems. At levels higher than 60%, you’ll start noticing moisture problems. However, we recommend keeping the humidity levels at around 35% to 55%.
You shouldn’t reduce the moisture level entirely because this will bring a host of problems including static electricity, dry skin, and damage to wood and electronics.
How to Best Maintain a Moisture Level of 35-55%?
Mold remediation specialists in Middle Tennessee recommend using a dehumidifier to keep the moisture content at the desired range. A dehumidifier works by removing moisture content from the air itself, thereby staving off the water supply needed for mold growth. The results with a dehumidifier are often effective and immediate.
While mold remediation specialists in Middle Tennessee use commercial dehumidifiers for cleanups, most households will use consumer-grade dehumidifiers.
You can choose from whole-house dehumidifiers or portable dehumidifiers. The former requires extensive installations and can be prohibitively expensive for most homeowners. Portable dehumidifiers may not be very effective at reducing the humidity level of most rooms to the desired range.
When choosing a dehumidifier, you’ll be faced with two choices: desiccant and refrigerant.
A desiccant dehumidifier uses moisture-absorbing materials to extract moisture from the air. This operation is suitable for smaller spaces but will not yield any results for larger spaces. It is inexpensive and cheap to run.
A refrigerant dehumidifier, on the other hand, uses the same principle as a refrigerator. It works by draining moisture from the air and passing it over an evaporator. The moisture from the air condenses on the evaporator, and the liquid water is drained out. You’ll need to let this device run for a few hours to maintain the moisture at the desired level. You can control the humidity level with a humidistat control.
A refrigerant dehumidifier works best at room temperature, although it slows down at colder conditions because of ice formation on the cooling plates. This can take place at any temperature 16 degrees downwards.
Wrapping Up – Getting Rid of Mold
Other best practices for mitigating mold damage are to use exhaust fans when cooking or washing dishes and ventilating bathrooms for adequate air circulation. Open windows to increase ventilation in your rooms and allow fresh air to dry out the damp, musty areas. Try to open a window or two every day for about 15 minutes for natural ventilation.
Finally, if you think your house has a mold problem, call your local 911 Restoration team in Middle Tennessee right away. Our mold remediation team will remove the mold and mold-infested materials, clean the area, and restore your home.