Mold in a home can cause a variety of problems for homeowners and builders. Mold can affect indoor air quality, create health issues for occupants, and be a complicated problem to fix.
In order for mold to grow it needs mold spores to be present (which are all around), moisture, and warm temperatures. While all three elements are necessary for mold to grow, moisture regulation is a significant contributor that can be managed.
While moisture in a home is impossible to avoid, there are a few simple ways to decrease the likelihood of developing mold:
- Seal the Building Envelope.
Properly air sealing wall cavities helps keep moist outside air out of the home. If needed, allow drying time for the materials before closing up the wall. This should include carefully monitoring humidity levels on the job site.
- Add Proper Ventilation.
When a building is air sealed, it’s important to have a proper ventilation system. This helps move out any damp air that could contribute to mold issues in the home.
- Seal Basement Box Sills.
One of the most common areas where mold growth is found is on basement rim joists and box sills. When basement box sills are insulated with fiberglass batts and not air sealed, moist outside air can infiltrate the home and mold can build up behind these batts. Insulating and sealing box sills with spray foam insulation can prevent infiltration of moist outside air.
Taking the necessary steps to prevent mold from the beginning will save headaches and money for homeowners. Concerned about mold in your home? We can help. Contact us for a free estimate.
Today’s green building techniques are resulting in tight building envelopes. This allows homes to be more efficient than ever before and helps keep energy bills low. Today’s building science also requires home ventilation to be looked at in new ways. Tight building envelopes require proper air exchange to manage indoor air quality.
With today’s homes being tighter than ever, there is less opportunity for air to naturally escape. When you combine this with an increase the number of additives in today’s building products, indoor air quality can become quite poor. If you live in a newer, energy-efficient home, you need a controlled ventilation system to maintain optimal air quality.
There are many types of ventilation systems available for a home. Two common systems are not energy efficient options and are not recommended. These are:
- Exhaust Only – A small exhaust fan is programmed to pull out stale air and moisture. The home relies on natural air leaks to bring air into the home (not an energy-efficient option).
- Supply Only – A fan brings fresh air into the home. Air is not mechanically vented out. The home relies on natural air leaks to vent air from the home (not an energy-efficient option).
A balanced ventilation system includes both exhaust and supply to control ventilation at both ends. This system includes separate fans to manage air supply and air exhaust and create an energy-efficient ventilation balance. This system can go one step further by adding heat recovery which conditions the incoming air prior to entering the home. This is a great system for cold climates, preventing cold air from being drawn into the home during winter.
Does your home have a ventilation system? Do you have questions about your home’s air sealing and ventilation? Contact us with any questions.
Do you think most of the pollutants you breathe come from outside your home? Think again. The majority of our exposure to air pollutants comes from the air we breathe inside buildings – our homes, offices, schools, etc. In fact, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. The EPA estimates that 72 percent of a person’s chemical exposure happens at home.
There are many ways to improve your indoor air quality. Here are just a few:
Air seal – Sealing air leaks creates a controlled indoor environment. It prevents outdoor pollutants from entering the home and allows an energy auditor to develop a plan to effectively maintain clean indoor air.
Properly ventilate – An effective mechanical air system with good filtration can help remove polluted indoor air from the house.
Reduce indoor chemicals – Choose low-emitting products for your home. This can include building materials used in your home, furniture, cleaning products, and more.
Have questions about your home’s indoor air quality? Contact our office – our team is happy to help.