Mold is one of the major issues any homeowner can face, creating both health problems and property damage if left long enough. With the humidity that’s common around the Tampa area, many property owners want easy solutions for dealing with mold when it happens and often turn to dehumidifiers. Use this guide to learn the facts about your home, humidity, mold, and how dehumidifiers fit into the picture.

Your Home and Mold

Some people think the best way to deal with and prevent mold is to simply get rid of any trace of mold in your home, including your air. Unfortunately, this is an unrealistic expectation and can lead to spending considerably more money than the benefit you’ll see.

Mold spores are constantly in the air around you, both inside and outside your home. Problems arise when the volume of mold in a space starts causing odors, allergies, and visible mold. It’s important to remember that mold spores alone don’t cause this, but it’s when those spores find the right environment.

As you consider trying to rid your home of mold, there are two primary goals. First, ensure there are no areas of mold infestation. The second is to reduce the number of spores in your home to the point where they aren’t causing problems.

Understanding Humidity and Mold

It’s the right environment that allows for the visible mold that grows in so many homes. For mold to grow, there are two factors that are generally needed: moisture and a food source.

With the humidity around the Tampa area, most untreated homes have plenty of moisture to encourage mold growth. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests anything over 50% relative humidity creates an environment that’s ideal for mold, with higher levels being more favorable.

Homes usually have plenty of food to feed mold, including wood, drywall, potted soil, natural fibered carpet and so much more. The point is that with the right humidity levels, mold will find the other factors needed to thrive.

Dealing With and Preventing Mold

Because of the significant problems mold can pose, it’s best to rely on a professional remediation company to deal with any current infestations. However, the process they’ll use is similar to the process you should use to prevent mold in the first place.

Remove the Moisture Source

Start by removing the source of excess moisture in your home. If you’ve had a leak or some form of water damage, you may have a specific source. Otherwise, the air around your home contains enough moisture if it remains above 50% relative humidity.

Dry out any area that has excess moisture, including subfloors, carpets, bedding, clothes, and bathrooms. Next, tackle managing the humidity in your home, aiming to keep it between 30% and 50% relative.

Remove Sources of Excess Spores

Next, you’ll want to remove excessive levels of spores around your home. If you have any place that has mold growing, you’ll want to deal with that first. Some spores are toxic, releasing mycotoxins that cause health problems in humans. This is why you should leave dealing with mold infestations to trained remediation professionals.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Once you remove any large source of spores, you’ll want to remove the excess spores from your air. Remediation companies have special tools that specifically measure how many mold spores are in the air. The goal is to return the level to the level of the air outside or lower.

This process may leverage a high-efficiency filtering unit, which includes a high-volume fan. It may also include ionization, which releases negatively charged ions into the air that cause contaminants like spores to stick together and fall out of the air. Remediation companies use special units that leverage these technologies to cycle your space’s air frequently, allowing it to rapidly remove the spores.

How Do Dehumidifiers Help?

First, it’s important to know that dehumidifiers will not kill mold or get rid of it. Rather, they’ll help remove the excess moisture that creates the right environments for mold to thrive. Most people think of the benefit this gives for airborne moisture, which it certainly helps with.

However, dehumidifiers are also an important part of water and mold remediation efforts. By drawing moisture from the air, higher-power units can draw out the moisture from water-logged flooring, wood, and other materials. Once you dry the mold out, it becomes a little easier to clean and remove.

Dehumidifier Options

Many people associate dehumidifiers with the portable units commonly available at big-box retailers. However, these are far from the only options available. Your full range of options also includes industrial and whole-house units. Consider their differences and when each may be the appropriate option.

Portable Consumer Units

These are smaller units that are used when you have specific needs in smaller areas of your home. They can prove extremely effective in areas like bathrooms and basements.

The challenge to these units is that they aren’t usually effective at dehumidifying your entire house. In a small residence, a high-capacity unit may provide sufficient circulation. However, in larger homes with many rooms, you’ll need more than one unit to effectively manage your home’s humidity.

These units come with a variety of capacities in terms of both air circulation and how much moisture they can draw. There are also a number of different technologies, including condensing units that use refrigerant and desiccant wheels that use silica gel to absorb moisture. Then there’s the consideration of whether the unit collects the moisture or drains it and if there’s a drain pump to help get it to the drain.

Portable Industrial Units

Industrial units are similar to consumer models, except that they usually have a higher capacity in terms of how much moisture they can pull and how much air they can circulate. While a consumer model may work well for normal humidity management, industrial models are more effective at removing moisture after a flood incident or water damage. For general household use, these are often more than what you need.

Whole-House Dehumidifiers

The other popular residential option is the whole-house dehumidifier. This is installed as part of your home’s central HVAC system. The benefit to this is that it draws in humid air from around your home and then distributes drier air throughout your home. In terms of providing the best option for preventing mold growth, the whole-house unit is the best option to keep the environment hostile to mold proliferation.

People around the Tampa area have turned to Comfort All-Stars since 2018 for customer-focused services to keep their homes comfortable and safe, including humidity control. Our expert team provides indoor air quality solutions, including humidity control and air cleaning options, along with heating and AC installation, maintenance and repair and a full range of residential electrical services. Call to schedule a consultation with one of our indoor air quality experts today.

Meet the Author

company icon