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Mold in Your Work Vehicle

blue mold close up

Whether you buy a van or truck, when you first buy a work vehicle it is in perfect condition. Until that very moment, all of the features have been sealed off. It has that new car smell and you could not be happier. However, in your line of work … things can get messy and wet. Meaning, your work vehicle could be overtaken by mold.

Mold is microscopic fungi that grows and lives on organic surfaces. Among many health risks which we will talk about later, mold can make your nice new vehicle look and smell much older than it is. Two of the easiest ways to tell mold is growing around you is either visible growth or a musty smell. With all the odorous materials that are brought into your van on the daily, you really do not need any more funky smells.

 

Dangers of Mold

Although small and seemingly harmless, mold can pose some serious health risks. Due to their microscopic size, mold spores easily float through the air and can be inhaled. In small amounts, it’s usually okay but it’s the extended exposure in these conditions is known to cause problems.

While not all types of mold are toxic, large amounts of any mold can become an issue. The most common health problem is an allergic reaction, often minor. Mold exposure can be linked to the following symptoms:

  • Nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose
  • Throat irritation
  • Respiratory problems such as wheezing, difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Watery eyes
  • Skin irritation

The list goes on. Mold is a resilient organism and it’s clear that avoiding it is a good idea. The best way to do that is preventing it before it becomes a problem.

How mold enters your blood stream.
How mold enters your blood stream.

 

Don’ts

Fortunately for people with humid households, there are many products that you can use to remove the moisture from the air. Some of the best products are dehumidifiers and moister absorbents. Unfortunately for people with humid work vehicles, these are not the best –or even a decent- option.

The small and closed off design of your vehicle in combination with your work habits will accumulate a lot of humidity. To successfully remove the moisture from the air with a humidifier, you’ll need a large machine with a constant –and large- power source. Not only will this take up valuable space, it’s not efficient to run your vehicle for the amount of time required. The moisture absorbents have a similar problem. There would be so much moisture accumulation that these products would need to be replaced too often. Either of these options will have a steady cost, so let’s look at some one-time prevention tips.

 

Dos

Preventing mold in a work vehicle specifically can be a little trickier. For tradesmen like plumbers who are often using their tools in wet conditions, there is a very high risk of mold growing.

 

Increase the heat: 

Increasing the heat in your vehicle will help bring the moisture levels down. In short, condensation is created when the previously warm air –and the vapor in it- are cooled down. The vapor turns into a liquid and clings to a cool surface. Increasing the heat will reduce the levels of moisture in the air. Try adding one of our heaters to your build.

Ensure you have good ventilation:

Ventilation is the best way to prevent mold. Strong air flow will ensure that the humid air is filtered out and dry areas that may have collected moisture. Our Flettner Ventilator is a wind powered ventilation solution that allows the air to be filtered without expending any battery power.

No leaks:

Confirm any windows or cut outs are properly sealed. The best way to ensure modifications are done correctly is by choosing an OEM endorsed upfitter with a National Safety Mark. By choosing an upfitter with these qualifications you have let the large dealers like Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan vet the companies for you.

Replace factory flooring:

Some factory flooring comes with a rubber mat and a felt-like material underneath for leveling. The rubber mat can allow moisture to get underneath and let mold grow on this felt-type material. Our marine grade coated plywood flooring will help you keep moisture out and clean spills easily. Further, this floor is better equipped to withstand the everyday abuse.

Use insulation:

Add yellow spray foam insulation. It doesn’t just help control the temperature, it also acts as a moisture barrier. To bring it to the next level, add an ABS Coated Wall Kit. The ¼” acrylonitrile butadiene styrene coated plywood will provide extra protection against moisture and ensure the yellow spray foam is protected.

Keep it dry:

Mold grows best when it has a poorly ventilated and moist area. Drying everything before bringing it back into your vehicle will prevent water from entering these hard to reach spaces.

Keep it clean:

Ensuring your vehicle stays clean and tidy will reduce the mold-growth opportunities. Most of your tools have a place in your vehicle. If you find the wet spots before it becomes a problem, all you have to do is dry it! Cleaning a spill as soon as it occurs will stop the moisture from spreading out and getting into difficult to reach places.

 

Now that you know the risks mold poses, don’t let your investment get taken over by this hidden organism. Taking these measures to prevent mold growth in your vehicle could keep you and your technicians in top health. Furthermore, they will ensure your vehicle stays in a presentable shape for longer. Most of these tips will improve your resale value or maintain the vehicle integrity if it’s a lease. Choose the win-win scenario and get more done with Sterling.