A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home
Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips
Moisture Control is the Key to Mold Control
Mold growing on the surface of a unit ventilator. Click on the image for a larger version.
Actions that will help to reduce humidity
Condensation on the inside of a windowpane.
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
- Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.
Actions that will help prevent condensation
Mold growing on a wooden headboard in a room with high humidity. Click on the image for a larger version.
- Reduce the humidity.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
- Increase air temperature.
Renters: Report all plumbing leaks and moisture problems immediately to your building owner, manager, or superintendent. In cases where persistent water problems are not addressed, you may want to contact local, state, or federal health or housing authorities. [
Rust is an indicator that condensation occurs on this drainpipe. The pipe should be insulated to prevent condensation. Click on the image for a larger version.
Is sampling for mold needed? In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building's compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results should conduct sampling for mold. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.
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