And, unfortunately, it’s easier for this to take hold in a house that’s left unattended for months at a time. With no one keeping watch, the conditions for spores and bacteria to flourish can go left unchecked.
Fortunately, however, it’s easy to avoid with a little bit of planning.
In this post, we’ll look at ways to avoid this junk taking hold in your Jersey shore vacation home during the off-season. Whether it’s taking a few steps yourself, investing in some HVAC equipment, or hiring a professional, you’ll be confident that there won’t be an infestation when you come back in the spring.
Five ways to prevent mold in your vacation home during the off-season:
- Monitor and control humidity
- Check for leaks and condensation
- Allow for good airflow when you’re gone
- Have a professional close the house
- Have your AC or ductless system cleaned
Mold needs two things to thrive: Darkness and dampness. Once you close your vacation home, you’re not keeping the lights on much if at all. But, what you can control for is excess moisture. That means monitoring and controlling the humidity when you’re gone.
Fortunately, that’s easier than ever today. Thanks to smart thermostats, you can keep tabs on the condition of your second home at the Jersey shore no matter where you are. And, you can make adjustments whenever you need.
The smart thermostats hook up to wi-fi. So, as long as you have internet access, you can check in. And, they can measure humidity as well as temperature. This setup gives you everything you need to maintain the right climate in your home.
Now, if the humidity does start to climb, you can start by turning on the air conditioner. Part of the AC process is removing excess moisture from the air. So, in a pinch, that will help matters.
HVAC Appliances That Help Prevent Mold
If it’s a regular problem, you can consider a whole-house humidifier. Unlike the ones you buy for a single room, these connect right to your HVAC system.
So, not only will it treat the entire house. You can also control it from your thermostat. That gives you more control, even if you’re dozens of miles away.
You can take some steps before you leave as well. Check for any leaks or dripping faucets. If you’ve noticed condensation building up on windows or other surfaces, call an HVAC professional.
Sure, it may just be a few drops here and there. But, over a few months. That adds up to a lot of water — and a big breeding ground for all sorts of problems.
Finally, make sure there’s no furniture blocking your vents. If you want your air conditioner or humidifier to do their jobs, you need to make sure there’s good airflow throughout the house.
A final step toward making that happen is to leave all the inside doors open when you leave. That keeps the air circulating and the system removing excess moisture.
A Professional Closing Your House Prevents Mold in the Off-Season
Fortunately, you’re not alone in your mission to keep mold from building up in your vacation house during the off-season. Down the shore, plenty of homeowners, property managers, and landlords use Broadley’s to make sure their home is winterized for the months when no one will be there.
Now, this is important in general. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this:
No, that’s not a stock photo. It’s a picture one of our techs took in Avalon.
This guy’s pipes burst when no one was there. By the time anyone noticed, that entire house flooded. The water broke the windows, and the cold air caused it all to freeze.
By the time all was said and done, they had to tear down the house and start fresh.
Of course, that’s an extreme case. But it’s one you want to avoid. And, in doing so, you’ll also prevent other problems.
Closing a Vacation House or Second Home
An essential part of closing the house is making sure there’s zero water in any of the pipes. We bleed out everything. This way, even if there’s a slow leak somewhere, there’s no build up.
And, we inspect all the plumbing — including anything in the crawl space. That’s a common spot for things to go wrong because the pipes are exposed to the elements. The area’s also at the mercy of any critters that it home.
Making sure there’s no water coming into the house makes it harder for organic pollution to cultivate.
Regular Maintenance Prevents Mold in Your Air Conditioner
While we’re at it, make sure you have someone check your AC — and furnace! — annually. Once again, this is about a lot more than preventing mold in your vacation home during the off-season. But, that’s certainly one benefit of regular preventative maintenance.
We recommend two checks every year: One in the fall for your furnace and another in the spring for the air conditioner.
This way, you’re confident that everything’s in great working order. We’ll replace any worn-out parts before they break, and make sure the unit’s optimized.
And, when it comes to the AC, we’ll make sure there’s no chance of anything growing in or around it.
We’ve seen this happen from time to time with ductless units. Sometimes, when you don’t clean them correctly, you’ll get some moisture back-up that makes it easy for spores to form.
It’s a hassle to clean, but easy to prevent with yearly maintenance.
And, old traditional units aren’t immune, either. When leaves and lawn debris build up in or near the condenser, they can cause bacteria and spores to form as the organic matter breaks down.
Or, if there’s a back-up condensate line somewhere, that standing water will start to sprout life — the kind you don’t want in your house.
Regular maintenance will catch a problem like that. And, it will keep your energy bills down throughout the year.
Have Broadley’s Get Your Home Ready For Winter
If you’re worried about any sort of organic infestations after you leave your shore home for the fall, give Broadley’s a call!
We’ve been servicing second homes, investment properties, rentals, and vacation houses — and, of course, year-round residents — on the Jersey shore for more than 60 years.
We’re ready to make sure your home is safe and secure for the months ahead. In fact, many customers and realtors leave a second set of keys with us. That way, they can call us anytime if there’s a problem, and they don’t have to make the trip down.