Mold is a frighteningly common problem in homes across the United States, and it can be very difficult to remove it once it takes hold. As with most home-related problems, the best way to deal with mold is to find ways to prevent it from growing in the first place. Oddly enough, the best way to do this is to keep your air conditioner turned on during the summer, especially if you live in a particularly humid environment.
Why Mold Grows in Homes
There are several different kinds of molds that can infest a home, but they all need moisture to grow. This is why mold is so prevalent in areas such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, or in any space where leaks are common. This means that humidity also contributes to mold growth, which is why mold can often be found behind walls when the weather becomes particularly humid.
Even if the weather isn’t particularly warm, high humidity can still contribute to mold issues, something that many people find when they decide to turn off their air conditioning after a heavy rain brings cool breezes outside.
How Your Air Conditioner can Prevent Mold
Air conditioning is commonly used to cool off warm homes in the summer, but it was originally designed to dehumidify rooms. Whether homeowners are aware of it or not, simply running an air conditioner can lower the humidity in your home.
An air conditioner functions by using a cold evaporator coil to condense liquid out of moist air, thus lowering the humidity. The liquid then goes down a drain and is sent outside away from your home. Of course, your HVAC system also blows cool dry air throughout your home, keeping you feeling comfortable and helping water in your home evaporate more quickly.
Maintaining Your Air Conditioner
Of course, your air conditioner will only work to lower your home’s humidity and prevent mold growth when it is working properly. Air conditioners can last for 15 to 20 years if they are well-maintained, but they can cause a lot of problems if they are neglected or are reaching the end of their lifespan. In fact, they can actually make a home mold problem worse if spores develop in an HVAC system’s vents. When the air conditioner is turned on, it can blow spores throughout a building and cause the mold to spread.
This isn’t to imply that all air conditioners will eventually lead to a mold problem down the line. As we said before, an air conditioner in proper working order will prevent serious mold problems. To make sure that your air conditioner is in proper working order, remember to have it serviced at least once a year, preferably in the early spring before your home really needs it.
If your air conditioner is over 20 years old, makes too much noise when it’s turned on, doesn’t appear to be working or you think it is exacerbating an existing mold problem, consider having it replaced. Replacing your AC can be expensive, but it will be well worth the time and money to have a functioning air conditioner that will keep your home cool and free of moisture and mold.