Mold is a 4 letter word in Florida, Its everywhere, and I do mean everywhere and its a billion dollar business to clean up after it sets in, Keeping mold in check is essential when living in Florida, but how? Well first and foremost Mold needs 3 things to grow, Cut off one of them and No mold issue. First it needs food, Forget it, I know what your thinking, Ill cut off the food source. Well mold eats everything and I mean everything, Maybe not plastic so if your going to live in a Tupperware bowl your not going to stand a chance. Second is temperature, Mold loves cool air, that’s right, It loves cool air conditioned air, keep your air above 80 and no mold problem but who wants to live like that, I grew up in Fort Myers and guess what we had no Air Conditioning, At the time Villas Elementary didn’t even have Air in the class rooms, As a matter of fact My wife of 28 years also grew up in Florida and had No air conditioning, We Never had a mold issue, It rained and the Humidity was high but seldom did the air temp drop below 80 deg, So we live with the window open and survived Third, It needs High humidity, anything above 55 percent will do. Its no secret that mold likes moisture so keeping things dry is essential and that is the front line of our war. If we keep Humidity down we can prevent Mold, Of course we live in a bath tub called SW Florida so its no easy task but it is possible
The advent of Air Conditioning changed the way we live in Florida, we get to sleep in 72 degree comfort regardless what the outside temp is, But here we have a issue, At 80 Deg Fahrenheit, the Relative humidity maybe 55 percent, But if you take the same room and lower the temp to 72 deg, The Relative humidity will be 74%, Now you have Damp air, a food source and Unfortunately, Mold.
In a couple of articles back I talked about that thing called latent heat, and one of our weapons in the battle of the mold is to use the property’s of latent heat to dry the air. See when sizing a System it is necessary to factor in run time. So a properly sized system that is not too large in Tonages and matched to the home will allow the system to dry the air, An oversized unit will cool the home but will not dry it, and undersize will do the opposite, So Size matters. I get very nervous when a customer wants to increase the size of there system, yes It will make you feel cooler in the summer time but In the fall and spring the air will not run long enough to provide dehumidification, The primary reason for mold growth is Humidity and it will grow in cooler temps, A larger system is not always the answer, Instead have the Duct inspected first before considering a larger unit
Another option is a whole house dehumidifier. Many manufactures sell them and they work independently of your Air conditioner Even though you may attach them to your duct work, Set humidity control to 55% and Higher and it will dry your air but not cool it, The added benefit is because the air is drier, the air conditioner will not work as hard and it is possible to feel cooler even though you will be able to raise temperature of the house.
There is one more option that many contractors try to sell, UV lights, The Idea is to keep the Air Handler clean and the UV rays will kill the Mold spores that float by, Just remember though that the UV light only kills what is exposed, so it will not treat the duct, UV lights have added benefits which I will discuss in another article.
I hope this helps a little and If you have any questions please feel free to give me a jingle.