Mold grows where there is moisture and both can develop in areas where there is an unusually high level of humidity. Black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, can quickly develop if there is a relative humidity (RH) of fifty five percent or more. If the humidity in a room can be controlled, the risk of mold generation is greatly diminished.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the role that temperature plays in controlling mold. Mold needs moisture and condensation within the dwelling can make that happen. For instance, condensation can form on windows if the surface of the window or the window’s frames in a room with high humidity meets with low air temperatures from the outside. The EPA suggests the use of caulking not just to make the windows airtight, but also to keep the interior glass warmer. A humidistat can be used to determine the humidity level inside and the American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends that in order to control humidity, a proper balance be created between the temperature outside and the relative humidity level inside of the structure (e.g. If the outdoor temperature is approximately twenty degrees Fahrenheit, the RH inside needs to be about thirty five per cent).
If room thermostats are used, they can be coordinated with a humidistat to keep mold from developing. Corner rooms may be much colder than rooms adjoining them, and have a higher RH than those other rooms. If the RH factor is too high because of cooler temperatures, the temperature can be adjusted higher to bring the RH factor down. Conversely, if the RH is high in a room with a higher temperature, then there may be moisture in the air and there would be a need to decrease the moisture with perhaps the use of a de-humidifier (Please note that lowering the thermostat will not control humidity in the house. It can actually increase the relative indoor humidity). Air conditioners have always been used to make the air cooler in a home but its operation can enhance the proliferation of mold. The reason is that blower fans may throw back into the room moisture that has yet to be evaporated on the evaporator coil. Preventing this requires a person keep the air conditioner on AUTO and resist the temptation to have the unit set at ON.
Temperature control to keep mold from becoming a problem is very much a strategy of balancing humidity and room temperature. A digital temperature and relative humidity sensor can be purchased to monitor indoor relative humidity. The ducts of any ventilation system ought to be routinely inspected to see if there is any moisture collected and wipe off any moisture that may be there. Increasing the thermostat temperature has been recommended, and the use of ceiling fans can keep the room comfortable. All this considered, it is important to remember that adjusting the room temperature alone is not enough to prevent the growth of mold. The adjusting of room temperature has to be done in conjunction with other means of controlling the atmosphere.
Why go through all this trouble? Mold is more than just a house cleaning nuisance. Various forms of mold, including black mold and aspergillus, are recognized as health hazards and mold can weaken the wooden structure of any home. Preventing mold from growing isn’t really too complicated and mainly requires a bit of prudent maintenance. It is a definite example of an ounce of prevention being worth much more than a pound of cure.