You’ve heard that too much humidity in your home can cause mold growth. But how much is too much? And how do you know how much you have? Clean Earth Restorations, experts in mold inspections in San Diego, gives you some pointers.
Mold exists naturally outdoors and indoors but needs oxygen, food, and water (even just airborn moisture) to thrive. Your home has an abundance of oxygen in the air you breathe, and your home is made of and contains any number of materials that mold can eat. Add moisture, and you’ve got a colony. Let it grow, and you’ve got a (potentially destructive and unhealthful) mess. So the best strategy is to keep moisture away from mold.
In addition to accidental events such as leaks or floods, a high level of humidity in your home can also provide the water that mold needs to survive.
How much is too much? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends keeping your home’s humidity level at no more than 50%. Presumably anything over 50% is too much.
How do you know what your home’s humidity level is? If your home is severely humid you will see condensation on windows and ceilings, letting you know you need to open windows, turn on dehumidifiers, or switch on the air conditioner. When obvious signs such as condensation are not present but you fear you may have an excess of humidity, you can also check the level with a hygrometer, a small instrument designed to measure ambient humidity. You can buy them at stores such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart.
What should you do if your humidity is too high? Indoor humidity levels can vary depending on many conditions: the weather, the time of day, whether or not windows are open or an air conditioner is on, the size of your home and how many people are in it (breathing adds moisture to the air!), how much you use your kitchen and the techniques you use for cooking, etc. Don’t be alarmed if your humidity level goes above 50%, you won’t be immediately subject to an onslaught of uncontrollable mold. But you should be concerned if in general it exceeds 50%. To create less humid conditions, make sure your kitchen and bathrooms are properly ventilated when you are using them. Open windows in your home on a daily basis to refresh the air supply. Use an air conditioner when outside humidity is higher than indoor humidity. Dehumidifiers are also a good investment if any of these other techniques are difficult or impossible to achieve.
For more information on mold in the home, see the CDC’s Facts About Mold and Dampness
Clean Earth Restorations serves all of San Diego County, providing mold inspection and mold remediation services. Contact us today for a free estimate or with any of your mold-related questions and concerns: