How to Prevent Mold Damage While on Vacation
Friday, July 8, 2016
The summer months in South Florida are HOT. The kind of hot that hits you like a wave of boiling water when you walk out your front door, and then bakes you like a convection oven until you’ve reached air conditioning once again. Because hot’s not just hot in the South East, it’s HUMID as well. This is the tropics, people, and nothing proves it like summertime.
The intense heat and humidity are, of course, why the population thins out quite a bit down here in the summer. The snowbirds fly back north as soon as the temperatures start to rise. And even the Floridians take vacations to North Carolina and other cooler locations to escape the summer sizzle, leaving a lot of homes, condos, villas etc. empty and baking in the sweltry sun.
This month, we had one such vacationer panic when a friend discovered extensive mold in her home. The culprit was a water heater that began to leak. And with no one there to stop it, it continued to leak until the water damage was extensive and mold was growing in most of the house.
With that unfortunate picture in mind, I’m sure you’re wondering how to prevent mold damage from happening while you’re off on your own blissful holiday. Well, the key to mold control is moisture control. That said, perhaps the most important bit of advice on how to prevent mold damage while on vacation is:
DO NOT turn your air conditioning off. Set it at 75 – 80 degrees. This will reduce electric bills and prevent mold build-up on walls and carpets. In older homes with humidistats, change the setting to read 60, which will pull the humidity out of the air and protect against mold and mildew.
In addition, paying special attention to the following water laden appliances could help you avoid a mold catastrophe like the one previously mentioned:
- Toilets: Water leakage can be caused by faulty supply lines, fill valve assemblies, or toilet back up and overflow. If you are concerned about a faulty toilet or parts, either replace them, or turn off the water at the supply valve before leaving home.
- Washing Machines: A washing machine supply line is by far one of the most common culprits for water damage, which can lead to mold damage. Washing machine manufacturers recommend replacing washing machine hoses every 5 years. Before vacationing, ensure that hoses are in good condition and connections are secure.
- Water Heaters: The average life expectancy for a water heater is 8 – 12 years before it begins to leak or until it bursts. Follow the water line from the back of the appliance to the wall looking for any water leaks in the pipes and connectors before leaving. If you are uneasy about the state of the appliance, drain and unplug the water heater or flip the circuit-breaker to cut power to it.
For more actionable items to keep your home disaster free while you’re away, see the following previous blog posts:
But if our advice on how to prevent mold damage doesn’t help, and you return from your peaceful furlough to find that your home has become a greenhouse for mold and other fungi, contact Joe Taylor Restoration immediately. We will see to it that your steaming South Florida home is restored to the tropical retreat you know and love.