Ask the Expert:
Q: What are the best steps I can take to prevent mold from ever starting to grow in my home?
The US Environmental Protection Agency states: “The key to mold control is moisture control.” Check for leaks in bathrooms, kitchens, crawlspaces, around ice maker lines, etc. A small drip can lead to major water damage and mold if left unattended. Another essential step is to make sure you use correctly sized exhaust fans to move the moisture to the outside (not the attic) whenever you are showering or cooking, and to make sure appliances are vented correctly. If your exhaust system in a room isn’t adequate, open a door or window to add extra ventilation. Make sure your crawlspace has a plastic cover over the soil and is well ventilated with vents installed in the outside walls, and fans if necessary.
Nowadays, newer homes are being built so tight that heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems are a must. They work best when they run continuously in conjunction with other exhaust fans to replace the humid air with dry, fresh air. Dehumidifiers also help to reduce moisture in the air. They are available as portable units, or can be added to your current forced air heating system.
Depending on the outdoor temperatures, your goal should be to keep your indoor humidity between 30-60 percent. If you see moisture collecting on the walls or windows, it is a sign of high humidity.
Bottom line: “Build Tight, Ventilate Right!”