- 1). Check the relative humidity of your home's indoor air. Your humidity should not exceed 55% and should ideally be a bit lower than that. If you live in an area where the humidity outdoors consistently exceeds 55%, it is likely that your indoor humidity will as well. Invest in a good-quality hygrometer, also known as a moisture meter or humidistat.
- 2). Invest in a good-quality dehumidifier, if the humidity is too high. Whether this is for a basement location or an unused space that gets excess moisture, a dehumidifier will cost far less to operate than air conditioning in these spaces. If you do not have air conditioning and have a humidity problem throughout the house, you may need several units to handle large areas.
- 3). Keep water away from your foundation walls. If your yard is graded improperly and water flows to your foundation wall rather than away from it, you will need to regrade the earth around your home. Water running to your foundation can run down the foundation wall, causing moisture to enter the foundation through cracks and condensation, raising the humidity and providing a moisture source that's ripe for harboring black mold. Also make sure you have gutters and downspouts installed on your home eaves and that the water is directed away from the house.
- 4). Fix leaky pipes. Both exposed and concealed pipes can generate moisture for black mold. To detect leaks in concealed areas, look for signs of drywall warping, discoloration, loose drywall tape and swollen edges. Also listen for any water dripping and check to see your water meter is not registering water usage when everything is turned off. Also consider pipe insulation covering all hot and cold water pipes to reduce condensation.
- 5). Eliminate ice dams if they are forming on your roof. If you see icicles on the edge of your roof, you likely have ice dams forming. Problems arise with ice dams in that they back water up under your roof. This water saturates your roof sheathing, roof structure and insulation. In extreme cases the water runs down the interior cavity of your exterior walls, providing a lot of moisture for black mold to form. This happens very silently and, by the time you discover it, your walls can be filled with black mold. One sign of this extreme case of mold is a grayish, blackish, greenish or pinkish tint to your drywall.
- 6). Provide sheet membrane waterproofing around all window and door openings if you're building a new house. Also provide ice and water dam protection at all eaves and valleys of your new roof. Install rigid insulation at all foundation walls and make sure you have adequate ventilation for your attic.
- 7). Ventilate all combustion appliances to the exterior. This includes fireplaces, furnaces, space heaters, water heaters, and dryers. Also mechanically ventilate all high-humidity areas such as laundry rooms, bathrooms and showers with good-quality exhaust fans.
- 8). Fix that leaky chimney. A leaky chimney can bring a surprisingly large amount of water into your living space.
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