Like it or not, mold is everywhere. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mold can cause a litany of health problems including nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, and eye or skin irritation.
That’s why it’s important to proactively prepare for mold before it sprouts and be on the ready the second it makes an appearance. The NEWS recently polled a few industry professionals on what three steps they would take to avoid and remediate mold.
Humidity is Key
The key to controlling mold lies in a parallel ability to control humidity. “If the indoor humidity is above 70 percent, mold will tend to grow everywhere,” said Phillip Fry, a certified environmental hygienist, mold inspector, mold remediator, and author of five mold advice e-books. “The problem with air conditioning systems, when they are running, is humidity is below 70 percent, but often, especially in offices and commercial businesses, the air conditioning is turned off at night or during the weekends, and the humidity goes above 70 percent, causing mold problems inside the system, ducts, and the building. You have to monitor humidity readings in the building. Keeping the humidity low 24 hours a day is crucial.”
Mike White, CEO, Clean Air Systems of La. Inc., Shreveport, La., said in his home state of Louisiana he tends to see a lot of oversized air conditioners that don’t control humidity. “They control temperature, but they don’t control humidity. So, while temperature should remain around 74°, they turn the thermostat down because — due to the humidity in the air — they’re hot,” he said. “When that happens, the grille starts sweating. … When you keep the humidity low, you can have the same comfort effect with the temperature as high as 77°.”
And, according to Alan Wozniak, president, Pure Air Control Services, Clearwater, Fl, dehumidification must be maximized inside a building. “Obviously, any water intrusion events need to be handled expeditiously within hours of the event,” he said.