Did you know that prime times for mold growth are the wet, cold months of winter? It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when you think about the snow and rain being tracked inside, the condensation build-up, and the possibility of pipe bursts or other leaks. It’s also a time of year with little air ventilation as we close our windows and doors to keep the cold out. Mold needs moisture, warmth, and a food source to grow, and all of these winter scenarios create the perfect environment for mold formation. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to limit growth during the winter season.
Watch for Leaks
- Common areas to check for leaks include windows, exterior-to-interior doorways, and areas by skylights and swamp coolers.
- Regularly check around plumbing and underneath sinks. These are spots where leaks often stay hidden.
- If you have a basement, check it often for signs of moisture. Make repairs and replacements immediately if there is damage from leaks.
- Carefully check seals around windows and doors. Any damaged areas should be repaired or replaced.
Make Repairs Immediately
- Do not wait to make repairs! Mold and mildew spread in as little as 24-48 hours. Leaks that are not repaired can easily lead to mold growth and the damages that go with it.
- Keep humidity levels in the home below 40 percent. Monitor humidity levels and temperature consistently. Areas that are too moist run the risk of possible mold growth.
- Always use exhaust fans or open a window in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms when moisture is present.
- Check that your clothes dryer is in working order and properly venting to the outside.
- Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise. This pulls cold air up and pushes warm air down. It also helps to circulate air, preventing condensation on walls, windows, and doors.
Dry Wet Areas
- Be observant of pipes, windows, and walls. Extra moisture can quickly be absorbed by drywall and wood creating a perfect environment for mold. If you notice condensation accumulation, dry the area immediately. Check for possible leaks and make any needed repairs to avoid future moisture build-up.
- Be sure to winterize your pipes. If temperatures are dropping below zero, pipes should be insulated both inside and outside. This will prevent possible cracks and breaks.
- Wall insulation should meet the Department of Energy recommendations for type and amount. It may be necessary to upgrade your insulation. Minimal or no insulation inside exterior walls means possible condensation formation. Extra moisture along with wood and dust creates a perfect breeding ground for mold.
Keep Areas Clean
- Mold loves dust! Dust, vacuum, and clean regularly in the winter months. Be especially mindful of areas that receive a lot of traffic like entryways and living rooms.
Mold growth during the winter is about the last thing you want to deal with. Being observant and taking a few preventative steps is the best way to limit this type of water damage. If you do find yourself dealing with more than just a quick cleanup, do not wait to call for help. Mold can spread very quickly if not properly treated. At Pro Response we are experienced in dealing with water damage and mold removal. We are here to answer the call and get your home back to pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.
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