Does Your Humidifier Cause Mold?
In many parts of the country, the cold winter months can remove moisture from the air, both outdoors and in our heated homes. This can lead to dry, and uncomfortably itchy skin as well as irritated nasal passages. Many homeowners find relief using a humidifier to add moisture back into their home air. But the use of portable humidifiers, which are prone to mold growth, always begs the question: are they helping or hurting your health?
One of the biggest concerns about indoor air quality in recent years, has linked mold, indoor humidity and chronic sinusitis. According to the Mayo Clinic, 96 percent of chronic sinusitis can be traced to a mold allergy. In previous years, it was thought humidity levels of 50 percent were ideal for sinus health, but that ratio has now been lowered to between 35 and 45 percent.
Another practice that is thankfully on the wane, is the practice of having cool-mist humidifiers in the rooms where children sleep. Increasing moisture to rooms of the very young carry the risk of generating high microbial and mold counts, which can cause several health issues, including asthma.
5 Humidifier Mistakes to Avoid
In an effort to relieve your dryness symptoms, you may cause greater health issues through the use of a humidifier. Here are some mistakes you want to avoid:
- Ignoring the humidity level achieved
- Allowing humidity to climb too high
- Not cleaning the humidifier properly or frequently enough
- Using tap water instead of recommended distilled, demineralized or purified water
- Letting water stand too long before changing it and cleaning machine
Humidifiers are essentially breeding grounds for bacterial and fungi. According to the EPA, microorganisms often grow in humidifiers that are equipped with tanks of standing water. When the water becomes contaminated, it then creates a toxic mist that gets sprayed around the room. Breathing in this dirty air can cause a number of health problems, including:
- Lung problems
- Lung infections
- Risk of asthma
The use of humidifiers is banned in hospitals because of the tendency to spread infections.
It doesn’t take much for mold to begin growing. A home with humidity levels of 50 percent encourages mold growth. And humidifier use can quickly elevate moisture levels above that rate. Too much moisture in the air can set the perfect stage for fungus growth in your home’s carpets and walls.
SERVPRO of Vigo County is a locally owned and operated leader in restoration and cleaning needs. We serve local communities in the Terre Haute, Indiana, geographical location, so we are part of this community too. We specialize in water damage and mold-damage restoration. We offer 24-hour emergency service and are faster to any disaster. Call us today at (812) 242-9611 when you need help getting your property back in order and looking its best. We are part of SERVPRO, a trusted leader in the restoration industry with over 1,700 franchises in the United States and Canada.