Please join us for Part 2 of our interview with Michael Schrantz where we continue our conversation on an IEP’s Perspective: Tips for Buying & Renting a Healthier Home

If you missed Part 1, we discussed red flags a buyer or renter might be looking for when touring a home. We talk about considerations for various types of foundations, heating and cooling systems, and exterior issues that can affect the inside of your home. We closed out Part 1 by talking about common misconceptions surrounding “dead” mold and how mold in one part of the home can affect the entire home. 

In Part 2, we open the conversation talking about the unique situation renters find themselves in and Michael shares strategies they can use to help them find a healthier home. For homeowners and renters, we cover helpful prevention strategies and tools you can use to maintain a healthier home.  

Finally, we end our conversation with a very honest discussion about the stress, anxiety, and hopelessness that happens when trying to find a home after mold and water damage. At the end of the day, finding a healthier home is possible!

If a move is in your future, be sure to check out Part 2 of our interview with Michael Schrantz!

  • Renters likely won’t have a formal inspection, so what are some things they can do to try and find the best place possible? (1:28)
  • What are some other indoor pollutants in the home and how do you test and prevent them? (9:48)
  • What are some common mistakes you see people making that can result in mold and water damage? (20:33)
  • What are some things you do in your own home to prevent mold and water damage, etc.? (23:05)
  • What is relative humidity and why does it matter? (27:15)
  • Can you talk about some of the misinformation, anxiety, PTSD, etc., that can make this process harder, scarier, and even more overwhelming for homeowners and renters? (33:43)

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What is the ideal range for the humidity in my home?

Humidity can cause more than just a bad hair day. In your home, relative humidity above 70% can provide enough moisture that mold may begin to grow on your walls and belongings! Monitoring and controlling the humidity in your home is an important step in moisture management.

So, what is the ideal humidity range for your home? Well, that depends. When we talk about humidity, what we really want to pay attention to is the relative humidity. This means we need to think about the temperature of the air in addition to the amount of moisture, or water, in the air.

For example, imagine you had two boxes, Box A and Box B. Each box had 1 cubic foot of air in it. Each box had 50% moisture. But Box A had a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit while Box B had a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Which box has more moisture in it?

The answer might surprise you! It’s Box B! If you were to “wring” out the moisture in each box, Box B with a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, would have more moisture (26 grains/per pound of dry air vs 147 grains!). Simply put, warm air holds more moisture and cool air holds less moisture.  When the air can no longer hold the moisture, the dew point is reached.

The dew point is the temperature at which the air becomes saturated with moisture, meaning it has reached 100 percent relative humidity. When you hit the dew point (or ≥ 100% relative humidity), the air can no longer hold the moisture and it begins to condense or turn back into a liquid. For example, you might see this condensation form on windows, a cold glass of soda, or the grass on an early morning walk. Condensation is moisture. Moisture can lead to mold growth. 

So, what does this mean for your home? Generally speaking, you should aim to have the relative humidity in your home between 40-50%. In the winter, when temperatures are lower and the air hold less moisture, you may need to keep a closer eye on your relative humidity. Oftentimes this can be a challenge, especially on cold surfaces such as windows, and may require additional solutions (e.g., local air movement/circulation) to minimize prevent condensation from occurring at these locations.

A hygrometer is a cheap and fairly accurate tool that can be used to monitor the relative humidity in your home. Remember, humidity can vary from level to level and room to room so be sure to monitor the humidity throughout the entire home, not just a single room or level.