The Texas-sized summer temperatures are here as expected, with June, July and August all averaging well over 90ºF during the daytime and in the mid 70’s even while the sun is down. But even with the humidity here in Austin averaging its lowest percentage of the year (between 63% and 69%), mold growth can still be an issue for many Austin homeowners. Which begs questions like, “at what humidity does mold grow?” and “ how can I prevent mold in my house?”
As the trusted heating, cooling, and insulation experts serving the home comfort needs of the greater Austin, TX area, the Green Collar Operations team has been helping homeowners gain a greater understanding of how the humidity here in Texas can affect mold growth. At the end of the day, controlling mold comes down to controlling the moisture in your home. Here is what you should know about how humidity affects mold growth, and how you can prevent it from making you and your family sick!
Getting Rid Of Moisture: The Do’s and Don’ts
Mold spores need a combination of moisture, the right temperature, and a food source to grow. Oftentimes this growth can happen in areas of your home that you won't be able to see. When the outside humidity is between 60% and 70% and temperatures are in the mid to high 90’s, any existing mold spores in your home have two of the three things they need to flourish. Combine that with the “food” that your drywall or other building materials can provide, and summertime can be a playground for the stealthy destruction of mold.
Though using a dehumidifier may help with some of the moisture that is already in your home, we do not recommend this as a comprehensive solution to preventing mold in your house. A dehumidifier is a bandage-fix — it does not prevent future moisture from infiltrating your home! Think of it like trying to fix a leak in your water bucket by catching all the water in another bucket. This doesn’t fix the leak, it just catches all the water coming out of that leak!
We also discourage homeowners from keeping their air conditioner in the “on” position, but instead using the “auto” setting. When your AC unit is constantly running, the excess moisture that is pulled from your living space does not have an opportunity to properly drain off of your evaporator coil. This just recirculates the same moisture throughout your home, over and over!
In our 11 years making homes healthier and more comfortable for our friends and neighbors here in Texas, the Green Collar Operations team has found that the most effective solution to preventing mold growth is maximizing the effectiveness of your air conditioner. For many homeowners, this can mean updating your AC unit with a more efficient, properly sized model. But there is a catch — what good is a new air conditioner if all the moisture reducing and cooling power is lost through poor insulation and air leaks in your home or ductwork?
Energy Audits: Knowledge is Power
Before you start looking up new air conditioners, make sure you know what else may be affecting the humidity in your home. Are there air leaks in your roof or attic that are allowing for the humid outdoor air to freely move in and out of your living space? When was the last time you checked your insulation, or the hidden ductwork of your central AC system?
Even in the summertime, proper insulation is integral to keeping the summer heat out. And did you know that ductwork is particularly prone to developing air leaks that can account for up to a 30% loss in efficiency for your air conditioner? This is why we recommend starting your mold prevention project with a professional energy audit from Green Collar Operations. An energy audit is a thorough diagnostic assessment of your home performance, that will provide you with all the information you need to make the targeted home improvements that will prevent mold growth in the future (and reduce your future energy bills!)
After your energy audit is completed, we may recommend the following services:
Stay Cool, Dry, and Healthy in Austin with Green Collar Operations
If you’ve been feeling stuffy, smelling that musty mildew odor, or are experiencing an uptick in allergy-like symptoms in your own home, it’s time to bring in the pros. Give the experts at Green Collar Operations a call, and take control of the moisture in your Austin TX area once and for all.