Mold can be a scary word for homeowners in the Carolinas. While some forms of mold hold more immediate dangers than others, virtually every type of mold in our region can be damaging in their own way. While there is a lot of misinformation regarding the hazards of mold in the Carolinas, Nelon-Cole Moisture and Water Control wants to help educate Charlotte-area homeowners on exactly what some of the major issues can be.
MOLD GETTING INTO YOUR HOME
In addition to the structural damage that unchecked mold can cause to wood and joists, your HVAC system and ductwork pose the most immediate threat to those actually living in the home. There are more than 100,000 known species of mold that could be found in and around the Carolinas. Protecting your ductwork is key to the preservation of your indoor air quality. Mold spores can be found literally everywhere – indoors, outdoors, in our building materials, on our clothes, and in the air we breathe. They cannot be avoided, but Nelon-Cole Moisture and Water Control helps to both minimize their negative impact and inhibit growth in your home or business.
mold may be hiding under your carpets causing significant breathing problems in your home
Mold is also quite a common allergen and can contribute to asthma and other respiratory issues, and even cause infectious diseases in some people. Mold can also have far-reaching legal consequences for landlords who have tenant liabilities and for those in the construction industry, so having professionally trained technicians with the very latest in scientific techniques on your side is vitally important.
SOME FACTS ABOUT MOLD
Generally speaking, mold requires three things to facilitate growth.
A food source
Consistent temperatures of (typically) between 40f and 100f
Consistent moisture content in the air
One of the more well-established methods of controlling mold is to carefully control the moisture content in homes and businesses. This is much more involved than simply wiping up the occasional leak. It requires vigilant control of moisture entry into the building and the prevention of condensation throughout the ductwork and even some water piping. Selecting closed-cell elastomeric foams is an excellent way to inhibit mold growth in and around mechanical equipment.
Ideally, Nelon-Cole Moisture and Water Control will strive to achieve a relative humidity of 60% or lower in your building. This is not only for the comfort of the inhabitants but also to inhibit mold growth.
mold can cause significant and costly damage to your home, and require specialized removal
However, most HVAC systems are not designed with mold in mind, and high relative humidity can occur any time the outdoor air dew points are above the coiling coil discharge temperature (typically around 60-65f). Air discharged from the cooling coils under this condition can have a relative humidity level of 90% or higher. Condensation occurs when air comes in contact with surfaces that are cooler than the dew point of the surrounding air. This makes ductwork and some water piping prime area for undesired moisture, which itself can condense into liquid, making your structural and HVAC components wet – this sets the stage for prime mold growth.
Proper insulation is a fantastic way to avoid unwanted condensation in ductwork and piping (plumbing) systems. However, such insulation needs to be properly engineered and installed as some insulation can actually be a breeding ground for mold.
Fiberglass insulation can both trap and collect dirt, and the air pockets inherent in fiberglass insulation that makes it such a efficient insulator means that it is prone to trapping and retaining moisture. According to the April 2004 ASHRAE Journal, “Porous materials (such as internal fibrous glass liner) have been identified as a major source of fungal contamination.” This particular study found that the average microbial levels in fibrous glass insulation are hundreds – and in some cases thousands – of times higher than the microbial levels found on closed-cell foam insulation under the very same environmental conditions. Based on these facts, many experts recommend replacing fibrous glass liners with materials that are less likely to encourage fungal growth (i.e. closed-cell foam insulation) in areas where humidity is likely to exceed 70%.
if your crawlspace is rarely inspected, you may have costly mold and mildew issues hiding there
CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOAM
While fiber-based insulating products have been found to hold a high moisture content for up to 16 days, the closed-cell foam won’t absorb moisture, and when properly installed and maintained, is an extremely effective deterrent to contaminating factors. Even if closed-cell foam gets wet its smooth surface makes it quite easy to clean (which cannot be said of fibrous liners and insulation). While many fiberglass duct liners are now encapsulated with a protective ‘jacket’ that acts as a vapor barrier, this covering can be easily punctured and compromised, letting moisture and mold proliferate.
CRAWLSPACE ENCAPSULATION AND DEHUMIDIFIERS
Controlling humidity levels in your crawlspace with traditional, non-mechanical means can be quite effective, but still not perfect for mold and mildew reduction. To truly control moisture and humidity levels (and thus control mold and mildew) Nelon-Cole recommends crawlspace encapsulation with products such as WhiteCap paired with mechanical dehumidifiers that automatically monitor humidity levels and lower them by removing excess moisture from your crawlspace air. This has numerous benefits. In addition to encapsulation providing an excellent barrier against both pests and moisture, your foundation and structural elements will stay much dryer and free from mold and mildew, and your HVAC system will function much more efficiently due to decreased humidity around your existing ductwork.
crawlspace encapsulation is effective at preventing mold and mildew issues
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Nelon-Cole has helped thousands of Charlotte-area homes and businesses, and we are your award-winning specialists at protecting your home and business against both pest and moisture-related issues. Our solutions are affordable, guaranteed, and backed by the leading experts in the Carolinas for prevention. If you have a problem, we answer the phone. We know you by name, and treat your property with respect (as if it were our own!). If you are considering moisture and mold control measures in the Charlotte area, call Nelon-Cole and let us help you make the decisions that are in the best long-term interest of your biggest investment – your home!
Call the Carolina mold and moisture control experts at Nelon-Cole today and get a FREE consultation on how we can eliminate fall pest concerns in your home – and protect you from further pest and moisture control issues in the Carolinas in the future!