Managing Mold in the Summer to Protect Your Home and Belongings
Managing mold in the summer presents many challenges because all the conditions are optimal for its growth. The air is warm, indoors and out, and the humidity in unconditioned spaces could be quite high. Homes provide a naturally supportive atmosphere for mold growth since they offer plenty by way of organic materials for food and hospitable surfaces on which to grow. The best ways to tackle mold head-on are to manage the indoor humidity and limit the number of active spores in the air. Your home’s HVAC system is perfectly suited for managing mold in the summer.
Every time your air conditioning system runs, it extracts a certain amount of water vapor from the air. This is a natural byproduct of cooling since water condenses whenever it hits a cold surface, like the cold refrigerant coils inside an air conditioner. How much it removes depends on how much cooling your home needs and what the indoor humidity level is.
In some places where summer humidity is high and temperatures moderate, you may need to use portable dehumidifiers or install a whole-house dehumidifier to your HVAC system. A whole-house system provides greater convenience, less maintenance, and better energy efficiency than using portable units throughout your home.
Ridding the Interior of Mold Spores
Mold reproduces through tiny, lightweight airborne spores. When a spore takes root in a damp spot, it starts to produce a colony. When it’s mature enough to reproduce, it produces more spores that redistribute themselves whenever the air moves. Getting rid of mold spores is central to eliminating an indoor mold problem.
UV (ultraviolet) lights are a chemical-free way to stop the spread of mold spores. These lights can be placed inside the ductwork or the indoor air handler, where their rays won’t affect the eyesight of household members.
Whenever a mold spore passes by the lights, the UV rays alter the mold’s DNA structure, which renders it unable to reproduce. Besides managing mold in the summer, the UV lights also reduce the populations of bacteria and viruses, along with harmful gases from common house cleaning chemicals and remodeling products. This method may keep the spread of mold spores at bay, but it is best to call a home inspector who is mold certified to find out if professional mold removal services are required.
Air Filtration for Managing Mold in the Summer
The last way for managing mold in the summer is to use an air filter whose MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating is 13, which is higher than most HVAC systems can use. The MERV rating indicates the smallest particle that the filter can trap, and most residential HVAC systems shouldn’t use a filter that is denser than 11. You can add a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration system to your home to trap mold spores, but considering the cost and maintenance these filters require, most HVAC experts recommend using UV lights for better spore control.