May 23, 2014
While human beings all need water to survive, so do other live organisms like mold and fungi. These organisms are nature’s way of cleaning up dying organic matter, but they also can attack organic matter that isn’t “ready to die.” How often do you see dark looking stains at the bottom of your sheetrock walls? Or lots of little white spots on the side of some furniture in a rarely used room.
Mold and fungi need three things to grow: a friendly temperature range, organic material (something that formerly grew) and moisture. The more moisture, the more robust the growing environment. Here in the southeast US during summer months, moisture is abundant in the form of humidity. So if the inside of a home, with all of its organic material (wood, paper, latex paint, cotton, leather and wool, etc) is humid, then mold and mildew are a sure bet to thrive.
Most homes have air conditioning which reduces the amount of moisture in the air as it cools it. Many homes here in the southeast have vented, dirt floor crawlspaces which are naturally moist because of the exposed ground and open vents. As much as 50% of the air in a crawlspace will migrate into the living space above; therefore, homeowners must consider the moisture levels in vented, dirt floor crawlspaces. This added moisture source requires more energy to cool and dry the air. Is that an efficient way to use our energy resources?
In our next article, we’ll explain the science of air movement in houses which will clarify the reasons to condition the air in vented, dirt floor crawlspaces.