“Indoor air quality” has become a major buzzword in the home inspection industry in the last 10 years. We’re more environmentally conscious than we were 20 years ago, changing the way we heat, cool and insulate our homes. Prior to the 1980’s, homes in the US were virtually sieves. Air would move freely between the outside and inside because there were so many drafty windows, poor insulation and open areas in the foundation. On the plus side, outside air would quickly filter out any impurities. Substances like radon, carbon monoxide and mold were not a problem, because they could never build up to a point where the indoor air quality became dangerous to the inhabitants. Today, there are companies that specialize in the assessment of homes and businesses for the very purpose of identifying sources of air intrusion and eliminating them. While this is great for saving money on your heating and cooling bills, it negatively affects air quality and can harm the inhabitants of your home.
While this may seem like a major problem with very complicated solutions, it turns out it’s an easily corrected situation in regards to the most dangerous of indoor air quality issues, mold. Mold is found in every home in the US. It is part of the normal microbial ecology, and performs a lot of beneficial actions when found outside. Only under certain conditions can mold flourish and grow to unhealthy levels inside the home. Conducive conditions for mold growth are moisture (humidity or actual water) and a source of food (wood-based products). Cellulose is the best source of nutrition for mold, and is the main component of wood and wood-based products such as paper and cardboard. These items are very often stored in damp basements, and this will immediately lead to the proliferation of mold and an immediate downgrade in indoor air quality. The following are recommendations for a healthy home in regards to mold prevention:
- Keep the relative humidity below 50% ALL YEAR ROUND throughout the home.
- Install a dehumidifier in any space in the home that is damp or low-lying.
- Make sure that all areas that have moisture issues (bathrooms, kitchens, laundry) have exhaust fans.
- Routinely clean the HVAC ducts. These are a major source of mold distribution and growth.
- All attics must have a functioning heat-triggered exhaust fan to keep attics from overheating and to move air from outside in.
If you suspect you have any excessive mold growth, or you detect a musty smell without an identifiable source, it is a good time to call in an indoor air quality specialist like the experts at MoldRemovalPhiladelphia.net.