Mold indoors is unwanted and unsafe! Of the many severe and sometimes deadly potential health effects and symptoms include allergic reactions, asthma and respiratory constriction. According to the EPA, indoor mold growth is often a result of excessive accumulation of moisture in not-so-obvious places, such as doors, windows and carpet. Mold can grow on just about anything that’s porous, including wood, paper, carpet and foods.
When mold reproduces, it multiplies into tiny spores which continually waft through the air (indoors or outdoors), and when they land on wet spots inside your home they grow by digesting the surface they are growing on. Unfortunately, it is not possible to eliminate all molds and mold spores indoors. The only way to control these micro-monsters is to address the moisture inside your home.
Windows are one of the most common sources of unwanted moisture in the home. Window condensation is a result of temperature interaction (contact between hot and cold temperatures), lack of air movement and humidity.
Any one or combination of these could be the source of your moisture problem; therefore, you should consider each of these factors carefully to help you establish an eventual solution to rid the condensation in your windows.
- Keep a good amount of air circulation in your home:
- Check to make sure all ventilation equipment is properly adjusted.
- Vent clothing dryers and gas burners outside.
- To reduce condensation in your kitchen, laundry room and bathroom, make use of exhaust fans.
- Try to control the humidity levels in your home (you can do this with a humidifier, dehumidifier or humidistat). Homes with humidity levels above 50% are more likely to have formation of window condensation (even if they are low-e and insulated).
- Inspect the ventilation in your attic and crawl spaces. If you are unsure if you have proper ventilation, contact your local heating and cooling contractor. Also inspect to see if your attic louvers remain open year round.
- In a worst-case scenario of replacing windows, low-emissivity, inert gas fill and Energy Star Qualified windows help to keep the surface temperatures of the glass higher, thus reducing condensation. For more information on low-e windows, consult the U.S. Department of Energy.
General household tips:
- Always dry water damaged areas within 24-48 hours.
- Fix leaky plumbing and other sources of water leaks in and outside the home.
- To wash mold off of hard surfaces, use detergent and water, and be sure to dry thoroughly.
- Do not try to wash mold out of porous, absorbent materials such as carpet and ceiling tiles—these should be replaced.