Watch for Winter Mold
It’s a common misconception. Water damage is often associated with the warm months of the year when water consumption is high, and humidity is at its peak. The truth, is that winter temperatures and habits create the perfect environment for mold growth.
What Causes Winter Mold Growth?
Winter months mean snow and rain being tracked inside, condensation build up, and freezing temperatures that can bring 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 scenarios create the perfect environment for mold formation.
What Should I Watch Out For?
One of the most common problems is undetected water leaks. It’s important to do leak checks regularly to look for signs of damage and make needed repairs before large scale water damage can occur.
Common areas to check for leaks include windows, exterior-to-interior doorways, and areas by skylights and swamp coolers. Also 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. Carefully check seals around windows and doors throughout the house as well.
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.
What Can I Do to Prevent Mold Growth?
If you see a leak or have a suspicion there may be a problem, fix the damage immediately to avoid the risk of water damage.
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. 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.
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.
Be observant of pipes, windows, and walls. Extra moisture can quickly be absorbed by drywall and wood creating a perfect environment for mold growth. 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 and extra moisture along with wood and dust creates a perfect breeding ground for mold.
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.
The winter season provides prime time for mold growth. With care and maintenance, most problems can be taken care of quickly. However, if you do find yourself with a bigger mess on your hands, don’t wait to reach out for a professional opinion and help. Remember that mold can spread very quickly if not properly treated. Here at Pro Response Restoration, 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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