Winter is here, and with it colder temperatures and dry air in your house. Walking across the carpet will cause static electricity and cause you to shock your family when you touch them. Your skin will dry out faster, and lotion will need to be kept nearby.
Prudent homeowners will take a lot of precautions to make sure their house does not get too dry. Just as is true if your home gets too wet in the summer, if your home is too dry in the winter it can cause problems. Dry air creates an unpleasant living situation for you, and can even hurt the structure of your house.
So you will run a humidifier. Or, if your house has a furnace constructed in the past 25 years or so, that furnace will have a built-in humidifier that will need to be turned on.
Problem solved, right? Not so fast.
Humidifiers can be a breeding ground for mold
Unfortunately humidifiers can be a breeding ground for mold. Even in the winter, the warmth generated by the motor or the furnace combined with the water itself are exactly the ingredients needed for mold to appear and propagate.
And humidifier mold can be worse than wall mold.
Why is this? Well, your humidifier is actively expelling humid air out into your home. if this air is laced with mold spores it means that mold has a head start in spreading see new places in your house.
Wall mold often forms in places that are dark and where the air is very still. That mold must rely on growing outward from a center source.
Airborne mold is far more likely to cause breathing conditions and to spread mold more quickly.
How can I prevent humidifier mold?
Luckily, humidifier mold can be easily controlled.
Here a few tips on how to do it.
- A typical humidifier has a basin that you fill with water periodically. Simply adding a half cup of vinegar to every gallon of water will prevent most molds all winter long. You can use other additives like hydrogen peroxide (just a few drops per gallon), or tea tree oil (just a few drops). Hardware stores also sell humidifier tablets to prevent mold. Look for one that matches the size of your basin.
- Before you use the humidifier, scrub the areas that get wet with a brush and a mix of water and white vinegar. Pay special attention to remove scales that build up. Repeat that process monthly, or whenever you see mold starting to form.
These two simple steps will help you keep your air comfortable and mold free this summer.
Prevent mold growth in your humidifier. Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash