Alas, mold in homes that are left unoccupied is a South Florida curse! The very humidity and warmth that makes it an ideal vacation destination is also the cause of Florida mold.
That said, a common misconception exists that mold only grows during the summer months. Unfortunately, mold is not just a seasonal problem and can grow year-round in the right conditions. The three things that mold requires to grow are:
- Adequate moisture
- A suitable food source
- The correct temperature.
If the optimal environment is not available, mold spores simply rest in a dormant state until conditions are in their favor.
Mold and mildew have many similarities in that they are both fungi found in damp areas of your dwelling. However, mildew is a specific type of mold and therefore has differentiating characteristics. Either way, molds are nasty, unsightly, smelly, and a potential health hazard.
So, how do you prevent mold in your home? Read on for the hacks we have garnered from our years of experience in property maintenance and estate management services.
Watch the Temperature
Because most types of molds and mildew thrive in the temperatures as we humans like, mold in Florida can be reduced by keeping it cool. “What is the best temperature to prevent mold?”, you ask. Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended, as these fungi reproduce when temperatures range between 77- and 88-degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the top tips on how to reduce mold in homes that are unoccupied for extended periods is to check that the thermostat is set to a low temperature before leaving.
Install Humidity Indicators and Dehumidifiers
More than temperature, moisture plays the largest roles in the growth of mold.
The perfect breeding ground for mold has wet or damp conditions and 70 percent humidity. Hence the proliferation of mold in steamy kitchens and bathrooms from cooking and showering respectively.
Installing precautionary measures such as dehumidifiers, moisture absorbing bags, and exhaust fans go a long way to lowering the moisture levels in your vacation home. Remember to empty your dehumidifier whenever you run it.
If you have humidity indicators, you might be wondering, “What should the humidity be in my house in Florida?” The ideal range for your home’s humidity is between 30 percent and 50 percent. It is advisable to maintain a relative humidity level of 35 percent – low enough to prevent mold growth, yet high enough to avoid damaging your respiratory system with dry air.
Check Every Room with a Tap Often
Molds need water to grow and spread. Leaky foundations, flooding, water leaks, condensation, and even unattended spills provide the moisture required for mold to thrive. That is why the places you most frequently find mold growing include your bathroom, kitchen, and basement – basically every room that has a tap is vulnerable.
If you have standing water in your basement, it may be caused by a leaking foundation or groundwater. Use a sump-pump to remove all the standing water and seal both the inside and outside (if possible) basement walls to keep moisture to a minimum.
AC units are another typical source of dampness. Condensation from window air conditioners can produce moisture that eventually seeps into the carpet. To stop the growth of mold, regularly check your AC units for leaks.
Estate Management Services
The best tip we can give you on how to stop mold in houses left vacant is to let a licensed, bonded, and insured company like Florida Estate Management Services (FEMS) ensure that your vacation home is in tip-top condition when you use it.
Not only are we accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but we also know how to prevent mold in homes in Palm Beach County, FL. Contact us today for more information.