The car is packed up, your family is ready, and months of planning are coming to fruition! Finally, it’s time for your yearly family vacation. With the last checklist in place, you walk through your house to check for safety; the stove/oven is off, the iron is unplugged, and the doors are locked. Then, as a final item, you turn off your air conditioning, so you aren’t paying to cool a house when you are gone. Sadly, this last step can lead to poor indoor air quality and mold for an unpleasant return home — and an uncomfortable few weeks after that. Follow these simple steps to prevent mold in your house from becoming a serious problem during your vacation!
Why Indoor Air Quality Suffers While You’re on Vacation
Oftentimes, all mold needs to grow is high humidity. In addition to cooling and heating, your HVAC system acts as a dehumidifier for all the air in your house. By turning off the system, the air no longer circulates in the home and, as a result, becomes stale and saturated with moisture. Additionally, with limited air processing through your home, it’s easier for pollutants, dust, and particulate matter to accumulate while you’re away. The longer you’re gone, the more the effects worsen.
Some homeowners also meet an accumulation of airborne chemicals and radon that coat their homes and leave an uncomfortable and dangerous environment for all. And don’t think colder environments are immune to accumulating harmful substances. In these climates, moisture can get inside your building, and pairing it with the warmer air in your home can create condensation on the walls, forming the perfect breeding ground for growth.
Improving Air Quality Is a Must — Here’s How You Can Help
Improving indoor air quality and keeping it at that level is a must, yet many homeowners aren’t aware of the potential impact, much less what they can do about it. But we’re here to help. There are plenty of ways to improve indoor air quality without making extreme sacrifices or reducing your enjoyment while on vacation. Remember, the vacation will end, but your time at home won’t. So prioritize a few of these tactics and keep yourself and your family safe in the place you call home.
Create Circulation Throughout the Home
When turning the A/C down, we change the home’s airflow, making the air less filtered and circulated. But instead of leaving everything stagnant, you can create your own makeshift form of circulation to keep airflow constant. This can be achieved by strategically placing oscillating fans throughout the home or simply by turning your ceiling fans on. Either of these methods works to increase the overall airflow that we generate when home. Keep these devices on low settings to limit the bill and prevent stale air!
Keep Your HVAC Unit Running
You don’t have to completely turn your AC off when leaving the house. Before you leave for your trip, instead of turning the air conditioning off for good, turn it down so you save on the cooling bill but still circulate and condition the air within the house. Better yet, you can invest in a smart thermostat to give you control over your AC at any time. That way, on sweltering days, you can turn your AC up to clear out the home without running it all day or night when not needed.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
Basements are an issue. In the northwestern United States, many basements are subterranean and regularly have a high humidity level. This is why supplemental dehumidification is necessary. Having a dehumidifier in your basement and set at 50% relative humidity is a great option to keep your property safe. When choosing your dehumidifier, select one sized for your space with a pump (this option allows the dehumidifier to run without waiting to empty it), and make sure the drain hose goes into a drain without falling out. Set this up at least one week before leaving to ensure your drain hose functions correctly and is properly set before leaving.
Inspect Your Home Before a Big Trip
Some areas of your home may be more prone to mold and mildew than others, and a home inspection by a qualified technician can help you put more emphasis on the locations that matter most. Inspectors can help you dissect the source of your troubles and suggest a more efficient way of managing your air quality in these areas.
Clean Your Air Ducts
Be honest — when was the last time your air ducts were cleaned? Many homeowners don’t even know that their ducts need to be cleaned, a fascinating reality that means tons of homes are processing filthy air throughout their property. If you want to truly keep your indoor air quality on high, cleaning your ducts and vents is a must. The allergens, dust, and mold spores that lead to more significant problems when you’re gone are likely waiting in the wings. As crucial as your air filter is, it can’t possibly catch everything, especially as more and more debris pile up. Keeping your air ducts clean reduces the burden on your system and ensures that your home doesn’t turn into a mold factory when you leave.
Indoor Air Quality Is an Essential Part of Every Property — Improve Yours With Mold Medics
Before heading out for vacation, make sure your house is ready to handle the burden of limited HVAC use. Whether you’re leaving for a few days or a few weeks, the last thing you want to do is come home to a mold-infested home. So don’t! Protect your home by working on your IAQ before heading out on your trip. Trust Mold Medics for air duct cleaning or dryer vent cleaning in and around the Pittsburgh area. We’ll help to remove the most common sources of unhealthy air and lower the risk of mold and mildew development on your property. With our help and these three steps, you’ll come home to a healthy environment that’ll stay that way for years to come! Learn more or schedule your air duct or dryer vent cleaning service with the Mold Medics team today.