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Mold Inspection and Testing

What Should You Know Before You Rent a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are appliances that can reduce the relative humidity — the concentration of water vapor — from a space very effectively. Using powerful fans, dehumidifiers draw the air in and funnel it through cooled metal surfaces that force the excessive moisture to morph into condensation. Subsequently, the water that was removed from your indoor air is collected into a tank, from which you can discard it.

The use of home humidifiers is certainly becoming more common, and with good reason. Maintaining healthy humidity levels throughout your home is crucial for your health as well as the maintenance of your home, and the Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends that you keep the relative humidity in your home between 30 and 50 percent.

Once the concentration of water vapor in the air rises above that, and especially when it exceeds 60 percent, residents will quickly begin feeling uncomfortable and sluggish. Within the home, high-humidity levels can damage walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Dust mites, which thrive in humid conditions, become much more of a problem.

A mold infestation is the other major risk associated with excessive humidity levels anywhere on your property. Some of the hundreds of thousands of mold species that can grow in buildings pose a significant threat to human health, by causing allergy symptoms, worsening preexisting respiratory conditions like asthma, or because they release mycotoxins that could lead to even more severe health complications. A mold infestation further has the potential to do serious damage to your property.

If you believe that you could benefit from installing a dehumidifier in your home, you may wonder whether you should purchase or rent the appliance. Who should consider renting a heavy-duty industrial dehumidifier, and who would be better off buying a household dehumidifier?

Who Should Buy a Dehumidifier?

You should consider purchasing and installing one or more portable consumer-grade dehumidifiers or even opting for a whole-house dehumidifier if you live in a warm and humid climate. As you consider whether you should bring a dehumidifier into your home, you may have suffered the discomforts related to high humidity levels for years already, and you know that you can expect the problem to recur on an annual basis — each summer.

You may also consider buying a consumer-grade dehumidifier for your basement or crawl space if you know that the humidity levels are consistently too high (ideally because you have checked them with a humidity monitor), and the space does not offer many opportunities for natural ventilation. In this case, choose one of the many dehumidifiers especially designed for these smaller spaces.

In short, anyone who needs predictable long-term access to a dehumidifier will strongly want to consider buying, rather than renting, one. Consumer-grade dehumidifiers, which can be as inexpensive as $200 or as much of an investment as $1,500, are typically able to remove between 30 and 70 pints of water from your air each day. As such, they will meet the needs of most people living in humid climates.

Who Might Consider Renting a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifier rentals do not simply offer you the same appliance you would otherwise purchase, but for a shorter period of time. Commercial or industrial dehumidifiers are much more powerful than consumer-grade dehumidifiers — while an upper-end model designed for home use and especially marketed to people with mold problems may successfully eliminate 70 pints of water from the air each day, an industrial dehumidifier can easily take between 150 and 250 pints out of the air over a 24 hour period.

Commercial ventures may rent dehumidifiers for a wide variety of purposes — to make events more comfortable for guests, to safeguard valuable stock and equipment during unexpected spikes in humidity, or to protect construction or finishing projects, for instance. As a private individual looking for solutions for excess moisture within your own home, however, you would predominantly consider renting an industrial-grade dehumidifier under special circumstances. They would include:

  • Homes that were recently subject to natural flooding, leading to a high risk of mold growth as well as placing the home at risk of structural damage. An industrial dehumidifier can be of great help in extracting moisture from your walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as from the air.
  • Homes in which a pipe burst or where the roof developed a severe leak face the same situation, with the caveat that an industrial dehumidifier will primarily be of help once the underlying structural damage has already been repaired. Renting a commercial dehumidifier can, in these cases, help prevent long-term damage.
  • Homes subjected to fire and subsequent efforts on the part of the fire department.

By taking prompt action to remove as much moisture from your home as possible after a natural disaster or an accident, within 24 to 48 hours of the water damage, you may prevent both structural problems that would require extensive repairs and a harmful mold infestation.

In homes that were found to have a mold infestation, a rented commercial dehumidifier also has a role to play. Renting a powerful industrial dehumidifier can be an integral part of a successful mold remediation plan.

Do Industrial Dehumidifiers Kill Mold?

If you have heard that controlling humidity and dampness is a non-negotiable step toward the remediation of a mold infestation, you would be correct. Mold, a diverse category of filamentous fungi, are naturally present all over the environment, and will quickly take hold within homes and other buildings given the right circumstances, as their spores will inevitably be suspended, in some concentration, within the air in your home. Access to water, in the form of generally humid conditions or localized moisture buildup, is one precondition for mold growth. Access to a food source, generally in the form of decaying organic matter such as cellulose, is another.

Making sure that the humidity levels within your home do not rise above 50 percent will greatly help in preventing mold growth, and lowering your humidity levels immediately is also an important step toward the remediation of an existing mold problem. However, leaks, localized moisture accumulation, and damp walls, floors, and ceilings will still have to be dealt with as well. An industrial-grade dehumidifier will help you eliminate moisture that has seeped into the porous spaces found within surfaces as well as from the air, but it will not stop mold from spreading unless you also take care of leaky roofs, pipes, or other systemic sources of moisture.

In addition, it is important to note that mold growths still have to be cleaned thoroughly, and in the case  of visible mold infestations larger than 10 square feet, ideally professionally. Materials already damaged by mold, such as window frames, wooden beams, or ceiling tiles, will have to be replaced to make your mold remediation successful. Take note of the fact that mold can build up within HVAC systems as well, and that your HVAC unit will then actively emit mold spores into the air.

The use of a rented industrial dehumidifier — whether from Home Depot, or from a local business that specializes in dehumidifier rentals — is one factor that greatly increases the chance that your mold remediation plan will be successful. It is not, however, the only step you need to take to get rid of an extensive mold infestation. Unless all systemic problems that could contribute to mold are fixed, and you also perform an extensive clean-up, mold is likely to simply return the moment you stop using your rented dehumidifier.

Whether you have only just become aware of the fact that you have a mold infestation in your home, or you have already taken multiple steps to get rid of mold, a mold inspection can shed more light on the situation. MI&T can, as a seasoned and nationwide mold inspection only company, perform unbiased mold inspections in any part of the country. Our thorough visual inspections assess the scope of the mold infestation as well as the underlying source, while the air samples we take for lab analysis will tell you precisely what types of mold are present on your property, and how they can impact your health.

Where necessary, MI&T can assist you in designing a mold remediation plan. Depending on the severity of your mold infestation, you may be able to eliminate the mold yourself, or you may be advised to hire a mold remediation service. Once your remediation efforts are complete, MI&T can return for clearance testing to verify if your home now free from mold growth.