"Mold" has become a part of our lives. Out of approximately 10,000 different types of mold, probably 10-15 types can affect human beings in adverse ways. Even these 10-15 types have not been scientifically proven to cause health problems but we should all be aware.
With the recent increase in our home insurance, it would be beneficial for each of us to prevent mold from growing in our homes. How to do this in our humid Houston climate? it can be difficult, there is really no way in Houston, Texas. We will never be mold free; this is the price we pay to live in a high humidity area. Mold must have a source of consistent moisture to grow. This can come from leaks in plumbing, windows, roofs, foundations, A/C drain lines or anywhere that moisture can enter your home.
I believe that home maintenance is the first line of defense against mold growth. If you can see any signs of moisture, stop it and eradicate it - ASAP Be diligent about finding any water leaks from plumbing, roofs, windows, door seals, drains, A/C ducts, chimneys, etc. try to eliminate it immediately!
Your A/C system needs to be checked regularly to make sure it is removing humidity from the air and directing this moisture into the sewer drainage appropriately. Also, you're A/C system needs to be checked regularly for mold growth. Mold spores can easily be sucked into the A/C system from the growth source elsewhere in your house, even from outside. It then can grow in your A/C system.
Maintenance of your A/C can help head off problems with mold in your home. This is why we recommend an A/C check up at least once a summer, in Houston.
Also, keeping the relative humidity in your home in the mid 50% range can inhibit the growth of mold. The lower the humidity, the harder it is for mold to grow. Keeping our homes close to 50% humidity would be ideal but can be difficult in Houston. We suggest every homeowner buy an inexpensive digital hygrometer to monitor the humidity. Remember, the humidity in your home is not an absolute constant. The humidity rises when you are cooking, bathing, washing clothes, when the outside humidity is high or when the A/C system is not running.
Older homes leak air and allow humidity in. Newer homes are built so tight that they don't allow the house to breathe and trap humidity and out gases inside the house.
So how do we keep our humidity low enough to hinder mold growth? I'm afraid no one has the perfect answer, but we do have some possible solutions as far as your A/C is concerned:
1. Keep your A/C filters clean. A dirty A/C system can encourage mold growth. There are 2 purposes of the A/C filter:
A) Keep the A/C equipment clean (have your system checked annually! We can put you on our calendar and call you automatically to take the hassle out of remembering to have it maintained)
B) Clean the air you breathe. How often do you change your filters? The only true answer is "When they get dirty!” Every home is different. it could be every 3 weeks or every 3 months. (Gossett offers this service to our customers! Ask for details. We will carry all sizes and will install at a reasonable rate)
1. Maintain your A/C system to peak performance. Keep your Evaporator Coils and Condenser Coils clean.
2. Maintain the drain system on your Evaporator Coil. Keep it clear and clean so the condensate will drain away properly. Install a clean out port on your main drain if it doesn't have one and use it!
3. Use Pleated Media Filters in your return air grill. We do not recommend Electrostatic Filters in Houston, Texas.
4. Be aggressive with your A/C system to remove more humidity. Lower the thermostat 1 - 2 to keep it running longer periods of time and thereby removing more humidity.
5. Have an A/C Co. recommend equipment solutions to remove more humidity from the air with your A/C system, such as Thermal Expansion Valves, Lower Air Speed, By Pass Systems, 2 Stage Systems.
6. Install Dehumidifiers in your home to boost the removal of moisture from the air.
7. Keep your home under a positive or at least neutral air pressure to keep from sucking humid air into your home. Remember when you exhaust air out of your house with kitchen vents, dryer vents, bath exhausts, fire place flues; that air must be replaced by outside air being drawn in thru doors, windows, cracks, etc. A controlled, filtered & dehumidified source of fresh air may be needed to do this in tightly sealed homes.
8. Air filtration - use Electronic Air Cleaners, 4" - 5" Pleated Air Filters or at least 1" Pleated Filters.
9. Air Eradication - U.V. Light bulbs installed in the supply area/evaporator Coil area to kill spores, germs, and bacteria.
10. Air Dehumidification - install a central system dehumidifier with fresh air in- take.
PLEASE REMEMBER: If you find mold in your home, you must first find the source of the mold and eradicate it before you make additions to your A/C system. Your A/C system cannot eradicate the source of the mold for you.
Please feel free to call us about any questions you have. We hope you find this information helpful.