Humidity is defined as the amount of moisture in the air. Air contains a certain amount of water vapor. The amount of water vapor any mass of air can contain depends on the temperature of that air: The warmer the air is, the more water it can hold. A low relative humidity means that the air is dry and could hold a lot more moisture at that temperature. For example, at 20 degrees C (68 degrees F), a cubic meter of air can hold a maximum of 18 grams of water. At 25 degrees C (77 degrees F), it can hold 22 grams of water. If the temperature is 25 degrees C and a cubic meter of air contains 22 grams of water, then the relative humidity is 100 percent. If it contains 11 grams of water, the relative humidity is 50 percent. If it contains zero grams of water, relative humidity is zero percent. The relative humidity plays a large role in determining our comfort level. If the relative humidity is 100 percent, it means that water will not evaporate -- the air is already saturated with moisture. Our bodies rely on the evaporation of moisture from our skin for cooling. The lower the relative humidity, the easier it is for moisture to evaporate from our skin and the cooler we feel.
Air dehumidifiers can be used to control mold growth in areas of the home that are more susceptible to dampness. You may not be able to see the mold growing, as many times the contamination happens in the walls.
Basements are vulnerable to mold unless dehumidifiers are used on a regular basis to control the air. Condensation is a problem in basement areas, but you can fight it by covering pipes and other moisture collecting surfaces with insulation. In addition to running a dehumidifier, it's important to use fans to increase fresh air circulation. These things used together will all go a long way towards preventing mold growth. Also you must waterproof your basement.
A "minor flood" can be anything from an overflowing toilet to an inch of rainwater in your basement area. Even this amount of water can be enough to invite mold growth if the right procedures aren't followed. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends dehumidifying the flooded areas as quickly as possible, 24 hours or earlier after the incident is optimal. Simply letting fresh air circulate in the damp areas may not be enough. You must have your baseemnt waterproofed.
If you don't already own dehumidifiers, you should purchase one or more and allow the wet areas to be completely dried out. When you are remodeling the damaged areas, be sure to add mold inhibitors to any paints used to give added protection.
Mold grows best in damp and warm conditions. The air dehumidifier is an excellent tool to help fight mold growth, especially when used in conjunction with two other tools; your air conditioner and a humidity gauge. The humidity gauge does just what the name implies; giving you a reading for how much humidity is in the air. You want to operate your dehumidifier so that your humidity gauge gives a relative humidity reading of between 30 and 50 percent. Mold likes to grow in temperatures between 77 and 86 degrees. Set thermostats to keep the temperatures out of these ranges. With these three tools, you can prevent new mold growth in your basement.
Depending on where and how you live, it may be necessary to operate an air dehumidifier in the wintertime to prevent mold. Summer heat isn't the only problem!
Did you know that when heating your home you could create conditions ripe for mold growth? This is because anytime the temperature controlled air in your home contacts a cooler surface such as pipes in the basement, glass windows, mirrors, and other cool surfaces, condensation can form. The warm air of the home, combined with a buildup of condensation can allow mold to grow in bathroom areas, windowsills, basements, and other vulnerable spots. You can control the relative humidity with home dehumidifier, but also run ceiling fans to help prevent condensation on skylights or roof windows. Shorter showers, cooking with lids on your pots, and cracking open your windows slightly can also help prevent moisture buildup.
High humidity and moisture creates conditions ripe for mold growth. Mold is listed as an enviornmental hazard by the CDC, and those who are sensitive to mold should be very informed as to how it can enter the home, how it grows, and becomes a problem.
Did you know that mold-sensitive people are advised to avoid wooded areas and piles of cut grass? It's true. In the right conditions, mold can be found everywhere, especially in the basement where sources of heat and moisture can go undiscovered until the mold is already growing there. A good dehumidifier can help in these cases, as well as good temperature control in the home. You may need a basement dehumidifier, or a unit for the bathroom, or possibly a larger solution for the whole home, depending on where you live. Wherever you place the unit, be sure to also double check the area for leaks, condensation, and other moisture factors that can be corrected for maximum mold control. You may need to do some repairs!
Humidity doesn't just contribute to mold growth, it also adds to your discomfort level in the summer time. Many people have learned by accident that a dehumidifier can make 80-degree temperatures feel much cooler simply by removing "oppressive" moisture in the air.
Fortunately, the comfort level setting you'll need to make heat more bearable in the summer months is in the same zone as the humidity levels needed to prevent mold growth. If you keep the home humidity at 50 percent or lower, you will find high heat much less uncomfortable. An air dehumidifier is perfect for those who don't havecentral airconditioning. In other areas where central airconditioning is a way of life, you may be just as much in need of the benefits of a dehumidifier because of very humidity in these areas during the summer.
Flooding, combined with high humidity and heat, means the onset of mold growth. Even something as comparatively minor as a flooded out basement can become a huge health issue due to mold. If you are dealing with flood issues, here are some very important things to consider:
1. Replace all insulation touched by floodwaters. Even if the insulation is only slightly damp, it is a virtual mold incubator.
2. As soon as possible, get the flooded areas of your home and office to a strict climate control situation. Do not allow unrestricted temperature fluctuations if you can help it.
3. Employ dehumidifiers as soon as possible in addition to strict temperature controls.
4. Do not hesitate to completely remove damp wood, carpets, tile, sheetrock, and other potential mold-growth areas. Even a damp drop-ceiling panel should be disposed of right away to prevent mold growth.