If you have a problem with recurring mold, one thing you should definitely check is whether high humidity is making your home into a paradise for mold and mildew. If your home is too humid, you'll find that mold grows more often and more quickly, and lowering the humidity to a reasonable level can make a big difference.
How Can You Know If Your Home Is Too Humid?
There are some signs of high humidity that you might notice – excessively high humidity can make the air in your home feel sticky, and you may find that it feels hotter in your home than the thermometer says it is. People with allergies are likely to have their symptoms triggered – but since mold itself can trigger these symptoms, this isn't necessarily a reliable indicator.
It's much simpler to purchase a hygrometer and measure the actual humidity inside your home. These cost around $15-$80, and they'll prevent you from wasting your time fighting humidity if that's not causing your problems. And if you already own a dehumidifier or humidifier, some models have built-in hygrometers so that they can shut off automatically at your desired humidity.
What Is The Right Humidity?
The Mayo Clinic recommends you aim to keep your home's humidity between 30-50%. This is the sweet spot to avoid problems like mold and allergens that thrive in high humidity as well as the dry skin and irritated respiratory system that low humidity can cause.
What Can You Do If Your Humidity Is Too High?
The first thing that might come to mind is to run a dehumidifier – this is certainly an easy way to lower the humidity, especially if it has an automatic setting. However, dehumidifiers can be expensive to run, using plenty of electricity. If you do want to run a dehumidifier for long periods of time, you can help counteract this by purchasing an Energy Star model.
It's worth trying some simpler ways to lower humidity first. Do all that you can to increase the ventilation in your home: open windows as often as possible and run ventilation fans when cooking or showering. Dry your clothing outside, where it won't add moisture to your air. If you have taps that drip or other plumbing leaks, have them fixed as soon as you can.
You've Lowered Your Humidity – But The Mold Keeps Coming Back
Sometimes, mold keeps recurring because the conditions for it are ideal and new infestations keep popping up. But if you've lowered your home's humidity and you still have a mold problem, it may be coming back because it never really left. Even when surface signs of mold are cleaned away, it can hide within porous materials such as drywall, insulation, and even wood. A mold remediation contractor can pinpoint where your mold is coming from and get rid of it; then, with proper home humidity, you shouldn't see it come back.