Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips

mold on interior wall

Outside of flooding, water can cause some serious damage inside your home. Leaks from sinks or appliances are some of the most common ways water damage begins indoors. It’s important to act quickly when this happens to prevent mold and control moisture.

Tips to Maximize Mold Prevention

Usually, when a wet or damp area is dried within the first 24-28 hours, the risk for mold is lowered significantly. This means you should monitor areas where leaks or spills can occur on a regular basis and be prepared to dry them as soon as moisture is discovered.

  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60%. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter.

Again, if you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes do not hesitate, act quickly to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.

Reduce Humidity

Keeping relative humidity under control will help the overall moisture level of your house and reduce your risk for mold. You can easily test the indoor humidity with an affordable humidity meter to make sure it’s within a reasonable level. You can also try some of these tips.

  • Vent any appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.
  • Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering, and afterward until the humidity goes down
  • Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.
  • These are relatively simple steps to take and can easily be done by anyone in your family. Start establishing the habit of running the exhaust fan or bathroom fan during showers and you’ll see it becomes routine quickly.

    Prevent Condensation

    Along with reducing humidity, prevent condensation will help avoid mold. In general, the more you can avoid having moisture in the air or on materials in your home, the better chance you have at preventing mold.

    • Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical.
    • Use exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and even box fans as needed to dry a specific area or keep the air moving.
    • Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation to prevent the dripping of condensation.
    • Considering increasing air temperature

    Condensation happens when something cold inside meets warm air outside. Just like when your cold water makes the outside of your cup wet. When thinking of it this way, you’ll be able to notice the areas you need to keep track of.

    Testing for Mold

    If you think you may have mold growing in your house, you’ll want to make sure right away so it can be treated. There are some ways you can easily see mold, like rust on drainpipes, and a few other methods for testing are available. If you can see mold, you probably don’t need to test for it. Currently, there are no federal limits for mold or mold spores, and therefore testing can’t be used to check compliance with standards.

    If you suspect mold but can’t see it, surface sampling may be an option. It’s a good way to see if an area that had moisture has been properly cleaned and dried. Professional mold testing is the best option, but there are some home testing kits you can purchase to start the process if you’d like. Ultimately the samples should be analyzed in line with the recommended methods set by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

    The easiest way to prevent mold is to manage any moisture as quickly as possible. By taking steps to prevent condensation and reduce humidity, you’ll be well on your way.