How to Prevent Mold in the Winter
Mold spores are all around us, but the growth of mold can be prevented. Mold needs moisture, warmth and food in order to grow in your home. When you deprive mold of moisture, warmth and food, you will stop it from growing, but you won’t kill the mold that is already there. The mold spores will stay dormant and start growing again if they get moisture, warmth and food. So, it’s important to keep mold from growing in the first place.
Mold Growth in Cold Climates
If you live in a climate where you need to heat your home frequently, mold can start growing in the winter on your home’s inside walls, especially on the surfaces closest to the outside of your home. The wet season during winter is actually one of the most prominent times for mold growth, due to the amount of melting snow, ice, and warm inside temperatures. As the mold grows, it will slowly consume and breakdown the building materials on which it grows, quickly creating the need for replacement.
Moisture that travels through the air from your basement, bathroom, or kitchen may condense when it comes in contact with a cold wall.
Preventing Mold Growth
The importance of preventing mold growth should always be taken seriously as doing so will keep the building strong and everyone on the property healthy.
A popular tip to prevent mold growth is to make sure your walls are well-insulated. Well-insulated walls can prevent condensation and mold, as well as cut down on your heating and cooling bills.
Here are some other steps you can take to prevent mold growth during the winter:
- Keep all areas clean.
- Ensure that the home or building has adequate air circulation. During a shower, cooking, or washing dishes, keep a window open or turn on an exhaust fan.
- Prevent mold and water damage by turning off the water supply to broken appliances and pipes.
- If the temperature outside is below freezing, take steps to insulate your pipes both inside and out to prevent them from freezing and flooding the surrounding areas.
- Ensure that the seals on your windows and doors are functional and moisture is not seeping through the cracks.
- Ensure that the foundation of the property sits on a hill, allowing water to flow away from the structure instead of pooling into low-sitting and underground building materials.
- If you find any condensation on your windows, walls, or pipes, don’t hesitate to dry out the area and identify the source of the condensation. Common sources include leaks and high humidity levels.
- Ensure that your indoor humidity level is below 40 percent. If you use a humidifier, as many of us do in the winter, make sure it does not produce an excessive amount of humidity.
- Remove possible sources of mold growth by regularly vacuuming and cleaning. Pay close attention to bathrooms and other areas of your home that are likely to generate a lot of moisture.
- Use area rugs or washable floor surfaces rather than wall-to-wall carpeting in areas or rooms that have a moisture issue. It’s not usually a great idea to have carpeting in your entryway, for instance, if you live in a cooler, wet climate.
- Paper, books and clothing are sources of food for mold, so don’t store them in humid parts of your home, such as your basement, especially close to the floor or walls.
- Leaks in your roof or windows need to be repaired as soon as possible.
- Make sure that your gutters and downspouts are clean and that the area under your downspouts is graded so that water from the roof flows away from your foundation. If necessary, extend your downspouts.
- In the bathroom and kitchen, use exhaust fans or open windows when producing moisture, such as taking a hot shower. Exhaust fans should be vented to the outdoors and not to an attic or crawl space.
- Make sure your clothes dryer is vented to the outdoors.
- Consider getting a dehumidifier for your basement. The cool basement floor and walls can be a source of moisture build-up, and a dehumidifier will control the humidity level and make it harder for mold to start growing.
- Make sure your attic is well insulated and ventilated.
- If you have a crawl space under your house, cover the soil in the crawl space with waterproof polyethylene plastic. If your crawl space has vents, close the vents in the summer and keep them open in the winter.
- If you have water problems in your basement or crawl space, clean up affected areas as quickly as possible and call an expert.
Mold can cause a number of problems after it starts growing on any of the building materials in your home. While there are many steps that can be taken to prevent mold growth, and taking these measures is much easier than removing it, sometimes mold still finds its way in.
For property owners that discover mold growth, it’s important to call in a professional mold remediation specialist to have it removed quickly. Handling any type of DIY mold project can be dangerous and worsen the problem as the fungus disperses its spores into the breathing air, searching for other moist areas to develop.
When handled by an expert, they will cut off the source of the mold, preventing it from growing. After creating a containment chamber, the professional will use advanced products and processes to remove it at the source and the spores surrounding the area. To ensure the fungus doesn’t return and eliminate the remaining bacteria, anti-microbials are applied to the area.
Mold Remediation and Water Damage Restoration
Many professionals who provide mold removal also provide water damage restoration and can handle everything from small water damaged areas to flooded basements. They are also available 24/7 and will respond right away to emergencies. Don’t hesitate to call your local mold removal and water damage restoration professional as soon as you notice the damage to your property.