To prevent mold growth, you must reduce the humidity in your home to below 50%. Mold spores are everywhere, and all it takes is a little bit of moisture for them to start growing on whatever surface they land on. Dehumidifiers lower humidity levels by removing moisture from the air, which will help prevent mold growth.
A dehumidifier collects water from the air and drains it to a container, usually a bucket or drain hose. Some models can connect directly to a drain. However, dehumidifiers do not help with mold ultimately. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air to reduce humidity levels in closed spaces. Mold will grow anywhere there is enough moisture to support its growth. With no excess water, mold cannot spread or grow where dehumidifiers are present. Removing excess water is the best way to prevent mold from growing and spreading.
Mold usually grows very quickly back after it’s removed from a surface where humidity is high enough to allow mold growth.
What is the best way to kill mold?
There is no single product that works for every situation when dealing with mold. Different types of mold require different treatments. To find the best method to kill mold, you first need to know what type of mold (or molds) you are dealing with.
- Black toxic mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum. This mold has a dark appearance and is often found in homes following flooding.
- Toxic molds, such as Aspergillus, Fusarium, Alternaria, and Penicillium, grow on damp, porous materials such as wood or drywall. Toxic molds can also be found in insulation and dust.
- Other molds, including Cladosporium, can produce new spores from a single spore. It can grow into many mold colonies after it gets wet and then dries out again. Commonly found in homes following flooding or high humidity situations.
The best way to clean mold is to remove the source of moisture that’s feeding it, then kill and dispose of any contaminated material. Depending on the size of the area, you may also need to use a particular mildewcide product to kill off remaining spores so they won’t grow back.
What size dehumidifier do I need?
This question can be very complicated because many different factors determine which size dehumidifier you will need. Here are some guidelines for choosing the appropriate capacity or size of the dehumidifier.
- What is the square footage of your space? A general rule-of-thumb to use when choosing the dehumidifier capacity (in pints) is to take the square footage of your space, divide it by two, and that will give you the approximate capacity needed in pints per day. Example: If your living or family room is 1,000 square feet, you would need a 30 pint/day unit.
- Know what normal indoor humidity levels should be: Most homes have a relative humidity of between 30 and 50 percent.
- Is your home particularly damp? If so, it will require a larger unit. If you have already tried a lower capacity dehumidifier in your home and it didn’t work, try a larger capacity one.
- What is the temperature in your home? This factor will affect how much water the dehumidifier will be pulling out of the air. It pulls more moisture out of the air in warmer temperatures than cooler ones. If you live in an area with hotter summers, you should purchase a unit with a higher capacity or size. If you live in an area where you only have a few months of warmer temperatures, it would be better to purchase a lower capacity unit and keep it set at a low temperature so that the dehumidifier will function as efficiently as possible. If you live in an area with high humidity levels, it will require a more powerful dehumidifier. However, it is not recommended to purchase one with just one pint per hour for every 300 square feet of home because the air would be too dry and could cause damage to your furniture or other household items
- If you want your room or area to maintain a humidity level of around, for example, 50 percent, then purchase a unit with an automatic shut-off because you don’t want it to run all of the time. If you are looking for a unit that quickly removes moisture, purchase one with a high-capacity air pump.