In the prevention of mold, dehumidifiers go a long way. A dehumidifier is an appliance that removes moisture from the air in a room. Dehumidifiers are used to reduce relative humidity, which can make rooms feel more comfortable and which also help with the prevention of mold.
How Does a Dehumidifier Prevent Mold?
Mold grows best in damp environments. If there is a lot of humidity, or water vapor in the air, in your home, that creates an ideal environment for mold. Some strains of mold require more moisture than others, but keeping the relative humidity in your home below 50 percent will go a long way toward the prevention of mold, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
So how does a dehumidifier do this? By pulling room air over a cooling unit, moisture in the air evaporates and that water is then collected in a collection bucket. As water vapor is removed from the air, the relative humidity decreases.
Some dehumidifiers come with air filters and the air is filtered to remove particles of mold, dust and other allergens before it leaves the dehumidifier and returns to the room.
With less moisture available, mold is less able to grow. If the dehumidifier filters air to remove any particles of mold that may be circulating in the air, that will also help prevent mold from developing in your home. A dehumidifier alone will not always prevent the development of mold in the home, but if you want to avoid mold dehumidifier appliances are one of the most effective steps you can take.
Getting the Most from Your Dehumidifier
Follow these steps to get the best results from your dehumidifier.
- Choose the correct size dehumidifier. If your dehumidifier is too small, it simply won't be up to the job. For detailed information on sizing a dehumidifier, follow the link.
- Follow the operating instructions as well as all safety precautions that come with your dehumidifier. Improper use may result in decreased effectiveness.
- Choose a dehumidifier with an air filter that will remove mold particles as well as dust and other debris from the air while removing moisture. Clean or replace the air filter as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Clean and disinfect the water collection bucket regularly so that it does not harbor mold or bacteria.
- Choose a dehumidifier that shuts of automatically when the desired humidity level is reached.
Additional Mold Prevention Tips
Using a dehumidifier is a highly effective way to prevent mold. Dehumidifier appliances alone are not always enough, however.
- Turn on an exhaust fan when showering and cooking to decrease humidity in those areas.
- Don't use carpeting in bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms, where humidity tends to be high and water leaks or spills are common.
- Clean up any spills or leaks right away. If carpet gets wet, blot it dry with a towel and allow it to air dry. If it's very wet, consider using a fan to help increase air circulation and dry the carpet out faster.
- Repair any leaky pipes or faucets promptly. We recommend leak detectors be put under sinks so you will be alerted about a leak before any damage occurs.
- Maintain your roof in good repair and fix any leaks as soon as possible.
- Make sure your gutters are not clogged as this can cause the fascia boards to rot and lead to leaks. In the winter clogged gutters can freeze and cause ice dams which can lead to leaks as well.
- A musty odor in the home is an indication of mold. Some strains of mold produce gasses called microbial volatile organic compounds and some of these have a musty smell characteristic of mold. You may not see the mold because it can grow in hidden places, including inside walls and in your heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts. If you suspect hidden mold, you should inspect carefully for mold or call in a professional to inspect your home for mold. You can learn more about hidden mold here.
- If you find mold in your house, have it removed as soon as possible.
Click here to find additional mold prevention tips.
Mold Dehumidifiers We Recommend To Prevent Mold
We recommend dehumidifiers from Frigidaire if you're serious about preventing mold. They are highly rated by homeowners that use dehumidifiers because they effectively reduce relative humidity, run quietly, and are energy efficient, with all models carrying the Energy Star rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. To learn more about Frigidaire dehumidifiers and to read reviews from homeowners that have purchased them, just follow the links.
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CDC - Decreasing Mold Exposure