You know how difficult humidity can be if you’ve ever lived in a humid area. If you have long hair, say goodbye to texture control. If you’re prone to perspiration, you’d better take a few extra shirts with you wherever you go. But one of the worst side effects of an excessive amount of humidity is the risk of mold.
Mold is a form of fungal growth that can be dangerous to your health, and it isn’t easy to get rid of. It’s always a good idea to be on alert for mold growth whenever the humidity in the surrounding environment or in your home rises above normal levels. If you suffered from a leak, for instance, be vigilant, and check the exposed area within 48 hours for signs of mold.
There are many ways to treat mold once it has already grown, and as many prevention methods before disaster strikes. Dehumidifiers are one weapon in the battle against mold, but how effective are they? Follow along to learn the causes of mold, how to treat it, and how effective dehumidifiers prevent the spread.
What Causes Mold?
Mold is a fungus, like mushrooms. The role of fungus in the natural world is to decompose organic matter. From animals to vegetables, mold sprouts to accelerate the conversion of biotic material into something like fertilizer, which sprouts new plant growths. Mold serves its purpose in nature, but like fire and spiders, that doesn’t mean you want it in your home.
Mold is spread through humidity and dampness. It thrives in dark, damp, contained spaces. You’re probably imagining all the places in your home that match that description–basements, attics, crawlspaces, in the space between walls. Mold growth in households is such a common problem that the CDC put out a guide of mold cleanup and remediation resources.
What Does a Dehumidifier Do?
It’s all in the name – the purpose of dehumidifiers is to take humidity out of air. They are mid-size cylindrical or rectangular devices that look like and sound like room fans. They have purposes distinct from fans and air purifiers, but most indoor AC units and air purifiers today come with programmable dehumidifier modes.
Dehumidifiers work by drawing in damp air over a rack of cold coils. The coolness causes the moisture to condense and remain trapped inside the dehumidifier while the air passes back over hot coils on its way out. Amazingly, dehumidifiers can remove between 10 and 50 pints of moisture from the air each day. The collected water drains into a trough that a hose must regularly siphon out.
Their benefits extend beyond making your living environment more comfortable and battling the growth of mold. Dehumidifiers also remove dust mites, microscopic organisms that like mold can exacerbate the symptoms of allergy sufferers.
Will a Dehumidifier Remove Mold?
Dehumidifiers are effective in the battle against mold, but can they “kill” it? Are dehumidifiers capable of completely removing mold once it’s taken root somewhere?
The answer, by and large, is no. Mold spreads through the transmission of tiny spores through the air. Once it’s in your home, it’s virtually impossible to eliminate all the traces of its spread without professional intervention. Dehumidifiers are a great tool in slowing down the spread of mold. Still, ironically, mold can take root and spread in the water collection trough inside dehumidifiers if they aren’t emptied often enough.
If you’ve already caught mold in your house, it’s too late to rely on a dehumidifier alone to take care of the problem. Dehumidifiers should be used in concert with oscillating room fans, wet vacs, opening the windows for cross-ventilation, and good old-fashioned cleaning.
Nothing will eliminate mold from a house like the professional help of mold remediation specialists with their industry-grade technology and special training. But dehumidifiers go a long way toward preventing the spread of mold before it starts.
Most people invest in dehumidifiers after a mold remediation specialist has thoroughly treated their home for mold and recommended they invest in one to prevent the mold from coming back. If you have leaky pipes or live in a high-humidity area, consider investing in a dehumidifier before mold becomes a problem.
The Limits of DIY
Mold remediation isn’t like building a hutch for your mother-in-law’s china collection. It isn’t something you can adequately do yourself. The mold remediation specialists at IDC Fire and Water Restoration have been returning homes to their mold-free conditions since 1988.
We are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to field inquiries, inspect homes, provide detailed scopes of work, and offer estimates with full explanations. We have 1000s of feet of warehouse storage to temporarily house your belongings while we execute the mold remediation job.
Don’t gamble with the health of your family. If you spot mold in your home, contact IDC Fire and Water Restoration.