It is easy to think that because Phoenix is a dry, hot, arid climate, that mold is unlikely to happen in homes. This would be a mistake.
When Winter ends and the Spring heat begins to emerge, it is common to see fellow Arizonans pulling out their portable humidifiers to add a little bit of moisture to the dry air. Although humidifiers do provide much needed moisture to prevent furniture from cracking, they can become incubators for mold. Proper humidifier usage and maintenance will prevent mold from growing inside your home.
Mold forms when excessive amounts of moisture accumulate on a given surface. Porous surfaces, such as drywall, carpet, and windowsills, will soak in moisture that will begin accumulate without detection to the naked eye. Often times, when the surface has already become visibly soggy mold has already begun to develop.
Keeping the humidifier from contact with these porous surfaces is important. Rather than setting a humidifier directly on the ground, set it on a stool. Moisture from the vent on the humidifier can sweat onto the sides and soak into the carpet. Furthermore, keeping the vent from blowing directly onto drywall will keep the humidifier from contaminating the drywall.
There are a few things to do to regular maintain your humidifier. First thing is to empty the humidifier and dry it after every use. Allowing moisture to sit in the container will promote mold spores forming. In such case, the vent will expel the contaminated moisture, which will settle on porous surfaces and promote mold growth on those surfaces.
Wash your humidifier monthly. When washing your humidifier, do not utilize hard cleaning agents such as bleach or ammonia. Instead, use warm water and soap. Scrub the surfaces with a rag and then dry.
If you suspect mold has already begun to grow, then it may be prudent to contact a local mold remediation company to inspect, identify, and fix the problem. Your suspicion is valid if you have used a humidifier in an improper manner and / or smell a heavy musky scent that mold leaves behind. Mold in Phoenix, once it has begun to form on a surface, will spread across the entire surface if not treated quickly and properly.