Healthy Indoors Magazine

HI April 2018

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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Page 25 of 51

26 | MAY'S WAYS— April 2018 Moisture stains and mold under a plant pot due to overwatering May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Watch the hot-water tank. Put a battery-operated floor-wa- ter alarm near your hot-water tank, so you'll be alerted if the tank starts to leak. If you have a central alarm system, consider having a floor-water alarm tied into the system. If you have a gas-fired hot-water heater, plan to replace it right before the warranty expires. Electric hot-water heaters tend to last longer than their warranty, but still, keep an eye on the warranty date. Control the relative humidity below-grade. Mold growth doesn't always require standing water. Some molds can begin to grow when the relative humidity (RH) is over 80%. As air cools, its RH rises. Below-grade (below ground level) spaces like basements and crawl spaces are naturally cool and damp, so the RH must be adequately controlled. Use a thermo-hygrometer to measure the RH. The RH should be kept at or below 50% in unfinished basement spaces and in crawl spaces, and below 60% in finished basement spaces. Between mid-April and mid-October, add dehumidifica- tion as needed, even if your finished basement has air con- ditioning. Be sure that your dehumidifier is adequate for the space, and attach the machine to a condensate pump, so that it can drain into a sink or to the exterior. That way, you won't have to empty the reservoir (when the reservoir is full, a dehumidifier shuts off). In the winter, you do not need to dehumidify an unfin- ished basement, but a finished basement must be kept con- sistently warm, whether in use or not, with the thermostat set at a minimum of 57 o F. Mold can pose serious health risks – especially for peo- ple with allergies and asthma. The key to controlling mold growth is reducing moisture, whether from leaks, high hu- midity or variations in temperature in your home. Below are ten tips to help you keep your home drier and thus mold free. Dry up drips. Even a small water leak can develop into a major mold problem, so check pipes under sinks, and be- hind your washing machine and refrigerator (if it has a water line). Repair leaks right away. Mold growth in cabinet under kitchen sink May Indoor Air Investigations LLC Don't be sloppy when watering your indoor plants. I can't tell you how many homes I've seen with moisture stains on the floor under or near an indoor plant. Be careful not to spill or overwater when you are watering a plant, and put a dish under the pot in case the pot leaks. It's also not a great idea to put a plant pot on a carpet or rug. Ten Tips for Controlling Moisture Levels in Your Home ©2018, Jeffrey C. May

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