Say Goodbye To Mildew And Save Energy

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Title:
Say Goodbye To Mildew And Save Energy
Physical Description:
Fact sheet
Creator:
Peart
Publisher:
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status:
Published
General Note:
"Publication date: November 1992."
General Note:
"EES-65"

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the submitter.
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IR00004840:00001


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FactSheetEES-65 November1992 SayGoodbyetoMildewandSaveEnergy1 VirginiaPeart2INTRODUCTIONCanpeopleinFloridaandothersoutherncoastal areasconserveairconditioningENERGYandprevent mildewandmoistureproblemsintheirhomesatthe sametime? Theansweris yes,buttherearesome how-tosyoushouldfollow. Mildewisasymptomofhavingtoomuch moisture.Mildewisnotjustunsightly,itisunhealthy. Mildewisamoldandmanypeopleareallergicto molds.Cleaningmildewiscostlyandtimeconsuming.Thechemicalsthatmustbeusedtoclean mildewrequireenergytoproduceandcanbe hazardoustouse.Painting,refinishingandreplacing furnishingscanbecostlyaswell. Thetechniquestopreventandcontrolmildew involvekeepingyourhome cleananddry .Youmost likelyknowwhatyoushoulddotokeepyourhome clean,butitisdifficulttokeepyourhomesoclean mildewwon'tgrowifthereisenoughmoistureand warmth.Mildewcangrowonthetiniestamountof dirt--thesmearsonadoorsillfromstickyfingers,soap andskinoilinyourshowermaynotbevisibleuntil mildewstartstogrow.Keepingthemoisturelevelin yourhomelowwillbethemostimportanttechnique youcanlearn.Andarealbenefitwillbemore comfortforyourfamily.Althoughtherecommended airconditionerthermostatsettingforenergy conservationis78F,ifyouareexperiencingmildew orothermoisturerelatedproblemsinyourhomeyou mayneedtosetyourthermostatat75F.Peoplecan bejustascomfortableat75Fiftherelativehumidity isabout50%astheywouldbeat70Fiftherelative humidityis70or80%.Usingthefollowing techniquescorrectlycansaveairconditioning ENERGYaswellasprotectagainstmildew.MOISTUREPRODUCEDINSIDEYOURHOMECooking,cleaning,bathing,evenbreathingallput moistureintotheair.Wedonotsuggestthatyou eliminateanyoftheseactivities,butcommonsense canoftentellyouhowtokeepsomeofthesetypesof activitiesfromputtingmoremoisturethanisnecessaryintotheair. Whencooking,keepcoversonpans.Ittakes extraenergytoevaporatemoistureandyourair conditionerwillhavetoworkhardertoremove thatmoisture. Whencleaning,drysurfacessothewaterwon't evaporate. Duringhumidperiods,hangdampdishtowels outsideafterusing. 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetEES-65,aseriesoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionService,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:November1992. 2.VirginiaPeart,AssociateProfessorandExtensionHousingSpecialist,HomeEconomicsDept.,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611. TheFloridaEnergyExtensionServicereceivesfundingfromtheFloridaEnergyOffice,DepartmentofCommunityAffairsandisoperated bytheUniversityofFlorida'sInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesthroughtheCooperativeExtensionService.Theinformation containedhereinistheproductoftheFloridaEnergyExtensionServiceanddoesnotnecessarilyreflecttheviewsoftheFloridaEnergyOffice. TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,Dean

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SayGoodbyetoMildewandSaveEnergy Page2MOISTUREFROMOUTSIDEInFlorida,duringmuchoftheyeartheair outsideyourhomeisveryhumid.Inthemornings whenthetemperatureisthelowest,theairwillbe saturatedwithmoisture-thatis,therelativehumidity willbeabout100%.Evenifthetemperatureoutside is65or70F,don'tbetemptedtoopenwindowsand doors,becauseyourfurnishingswillabsorbalotof moistureandalotofenergywillbeneededtoremove thatmoisturelaterintheday.Laterinthedaywhen theoutdoortemperatureisthehighest,say90F, weatherreportsonyourtelevisionmaysaythe relativehumidityis50%,buttheairholdsjustas muchmoistureasitdidinthemorning.Thisistrue becausewarmair(90F,50%RelativeHumidity)can holdmoremoisturethancoolair(65or70F,100% RelativeHumidity). Airthatcomesintoyourhomeanytimeduring hot,summerweatherinFloridawillholdalotof moisture. Removingmoisturefromair thatinfiltrates undersuchconditionswillrequiremoreair conditioningenergythan bringingthetemperatureof theairtoacomfortablelevel Stopinfiltrationofair.Incolderclimates,people weatherstriptokeepcoldairoutoftheirhomes.In Floridapeoplemustweatherstripandcaulktheir homestokeepmoistureout. *Avoidextendeduseofexhaustfans.Exhaustfans areneededtoremoveodorsandexcessmoisture whentheyarepresent,butshouldbeturnedoff assoonaspossible.Allairthatisremovedby exhaustfanswillbereplacedwithhumid,outside air.Thiswillrequiremoreairconditioner runningtime. *Ventilation(openingwindowsordoorstobringin outsideair)shouldbeusedonlywhenoutsideair isdryenough. Howcanyouknowwhenitisdry enough? Agoodruleiswhentheoutsideairdew pointtemperatureornighttimelowtemperature is55Forlower.Note:Therearefewdaysin mostofFloridafromMaytoSeptemberor Octoberthataredryenough.Alsothereare somedaysineverymonthwhentheoutsideair willbringinmoremoisturethanitcanremoveby ventilation. *Teachthefamilytocloseoutsidedoorsquickly whentheyenterorleavethehome.Moisture travelsquicklythroughanopendoor. *Makesureyoudon'thaveanywaterleaks. Checkundersinksandinthelaundryarea. Waterfromleaksarewastefulandcanaddalot ofmoisturetotheindoorair.MOISTURECONTROLWITH AIRCONDITIONINGAirconditioner'sprimaryworkloadistocoolair. Airconditioningcanalsodoagoodjobofboth dehumidifyingairandconservingENERGYinwarm, humidclimates,ifinsidehumiditylevelscanbekept low.Thebestwaytokeephumiditylevelslowina homeistocontroltheentranceofhumidoutsideair andmanagetheproductionofinsidemoisturewith thetechniquesjustdescribed.Thereareadditional techniqueswhenusingyourairconditioningthatcan helpkeepindoorhumiditylowandatthesametime conserveenergy. *Whenthehouseisoccupied,setthethermostatat about75Fandleaveitthere.Asairis recirculatedmanytimesthemoisturewill graduallybetakenout.Settingthethermostat lowercanmaketheairconditioningrunlonger andremovemoremoisture.Cooleraircanhold lessmoisture,sotherelativehumiditycanstillbe highandyourhomewillfeelcoldandclammy. Additionally,ifindoortemperaturesarebelowthe outsidedewpointtemperature,moisturefrom outsideaircancondenseinyourwallsandcause thestudsinthewallstodecay. *Setyourairconditionerfantocycleoffwhenthe compressorcyclesoff.Otherwise,someofthe moisturejustremovedbytheairconditionerwill getbackintotheroomair. *Filtersshouldbereplacedorcleanedfrequently. Whentheybecomeclogged,airmovementwill slowdownandtheevaporatorcoilcaniceup.A cloggedfilterwillmakeanairconditionervery ENERGYinefficient. *Itisbestinhumidclimatesforanairconditioner tobeundersized.Itwillrunlonger,removing moremoisture,butwilluselessENERGYwhen itisrunning.Cautionshouldbeusedwhen selectinganairconditioningsystem.Manyair conditionerswithahighSEER(SeasonalEnergy EfficiencyRatio)coolairveryquickly,butdonot removemoisturewellenoughinwarm,humid partsofthecountry.

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SayGoodbyetoMildewandSaveEnergy Page3CEILINGFANUSEANDMOISTURE MANAGEMENTMovingairwithceilingfanshelpspeoplefeelcool athighertemperatures.Theuseofceilingtanscan conserveenergy,butcautionshouldbeusedto preventmildewproblems. Donotsetyourthermostattoohighwhenusing ceilingfansduringthehumidsummermonths. Mildewproblemscanbecomeworseifair conditioningisnotoperatedforlongenough, especiallyinbathroomsandclosetswherebothheat andmoisturecanbuildbpcreatingmildewconditions.MOISTURECONTROLFORNON-AIR CONDITIONEDHOMESHomeswithoutairconditioningcanavoidmildew problemsiftheyarenottooshaded.Whenindoor daytimetemperaturesinahomeriseasmuchas15or 20F,therelativehumiditywilldropforpartofthe dayandprovidesomemildewprotection.Special precautionsareadvised. Ventilationandfanswillprobablybeused extensivelyinhomeswithoutairconditioninginwarm humidclimatestoprovidecomfort.Closetsand bathroomswillprobablyneedtobemanagedcarefully tocontrolmildewproblemsintheseareas.Follow thetechniquesforhotspots.MILDEWHOTSPOTSResearchattheUniversityofFloridaindicates thatalthoughmildewcananddoesoccurinalmost everyroominahouse,threelocationsaretheworst: bathrooms,closetsandbedrooms.MoistureProblemsinBathroomsOfcourse,moistureproblemsarebadinbathrooms.Alotofwaterisused,andalotofthatwater iswarm.Warmwaterevaporatesandgetsintotheair fasterthencoolwater.Afterbathingandshowering allof'thewaterdoesn'tgorightintothedrain.It clingstowallsandstaysinthetuborshowerstallto evaporateandkeeptheroomhumid.Wettowels makesuretherewillbemoisturethereforalong time,too.Moistureinbathroomscanbemanaged withthefollowingtechniques. *Keepbathroomscleananddry.Thetiniestbitof soaporbodyoilwillsupportmildewgrowth. *Takecoolershowers.Coolershowersputless moistureintotheairandtakelessENERGYto heatthewater. *Getthewaterintothedrain.Takeaminuteor twotosqueegeewaterfromtheshowerintothe drain.Thiswillleavelesswatertoevaporateand increasethehumidityofair. *Carrywettowelstoarackinthegarageorporch todry.Ifyouarebattlingaseriousmildew problem,youmaywanttokeepwettowelsoutof thebathroomtoeliminatewaterevaporationinto theairwhichincreasesthehumidityinthe bathroom. *Useanexhaustfan.Turnonyourexhaustfanas soonasyoustarttoshowerandallowittorunfor about10to15minutesafteryoufinish.Butturn it off afterthattokeepfrombringingtoomuch humidoutsideairintotherestofthehouse. *Ventilateonlywhenoutsideairisdry.(See earlierdiscussiontodeterminewhenoutsideair isdryenough.) *Asanextraprecaution,youmaywanttoturnon theairconditionerforashorttimeafter showering.Thismaybemosthelpfulduringmild, buthumidweatherwhenneitherheatingnorair conditioningisused.MoistureproblemsinclosetsMoisturemigratesintoclosetsmuchmoreeasily thancancomeoutnaturally. *Neverputdampclothinginyourclosets.Clothes fromthedryerorclotheslineshouldbe thoroughlydriedbeforeputtingaway.When changingclothing,don'tputtheitemsyouwere wearingintotheclosetifevenslightlydamp. *Keepbathroomclosetsclosedwhenshower moistureispresent. *Encourageairmovementinclosets.Louvered doorsallowairmovementandwillkeepacloset dryer.Keepsoliddoorsopen,exceptwhenyou havevisitors,iftheclosethasamustysmell. *Openshelving,suchasplasticcoatedwire,allows aircirculation.

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SayGoodbyetoMildewandSaveEnergy Page4*Keepitemsoffthefloor.Moisturecanbe trappedundertheseitemsandaddtothe humiditywithinthecloset. *Addasourceofheat.Alowwattagelightbulb, placedfarenoughfromclothingoranythingthat willignite,willraisethetemperatureinclosetand reducetherelativehumidity.Alowlocationis bestbecausehotairrises.MoistureProblemsinBedroomsManyFloridahomeshavemildewoccurringin bedroomareas.Peopleliketosleepwiththeir windowsopen.Whenhumidityishigh,andthat's mostoftheyear,toomuchmoisturecancomeinto thehouse.Additionalmoistureisproducedby peoplewhiletheyaresleeping. *Whenairconditioningorheatingisbeingused, airmustbecirculatedinthebedroom. *Thebedroomdoorshouldbeleftajaratnightif thereisnoreturnairductintheroomorif neitherairconditioningnorheatisbeingused. *Don'topenwindowsatnightunlessthedewpoint ornighttimelowtemperatureis55Forlower.