As winter draws to an end, flowers will unfold, bushes will blossom, and tree spores will spew pollen throughout the Triangle area. Spring is the season for tissues and Benadryl. If you and your children are sniffling and sneezing, it can be difficult to determine whether the irritating allergens are from outdoors, or from within your home.
Issues related to indoor humidity and excess moisture are not limited to the summer months. Whether the weather is cold or warm, moisture in your home can lead to the development of mold. One place you might not expect mold to develop is around your windows and on your window sills. Window moisture and condensation is one of the most common contributors to mold development.
What Causes Window Moisture And Condensation?
Window condensation will often manifest during cold and/or foggy evenings or mornings. There are several common causes of window condensation:
High Indoor Humidity: Ideal indoor relative humidity is around 40%. Higher humidity can lead to window moisture and condensation.
Malfunctioning HVAC System: Your HVAC system regulates humidity as well as temperature. A failing heating and air conditioning system will contribute to excess moisture inside your home.
Drafty or Failing Windows: Besides releasing as much as 25% of your home’s heating and air conditioning energy, drafty windows can allow moisture to invade your home. Signs your windows require repair or replacement: Difficulty regulating indoor temperature, cracked or damaged window panes, worn out weather seals and glazing, peeling caulking around windows, or moisture inside windows.
Humidifiers: If you notice condensation collecting around windows and window sills where humidifiers are in use, it is important to dry excess moisture and occasionally turn off the humidifier itself.
What Results From Window Condensation?
Moisture and condensation may not seem like an immediate threat to your home’s integrity; however, it can lead to peeling paint and plaster, wood rot and water damage, and the development of harmful mold.
If the condensation is the result of failing windows, it could result in other issues including:
Poor energy efficiency and higher energy bills
Repair or replacement of your HVAC system
Excess dust and dander in your home
Allergies and poor health for your family
What Should Homeowners Do About Window Moisture And Mold?
If moisture is collecting on window sills, make sure you dry it thoroughly as soon as it develops. Once mold develops on your window sill, it can be difficult to remove. If you do see mold development, follow these steps:
Step 1: Assess the extent of the situation. If the mold is less than one square yard, you may be able to remove it yourself. For more about mold removal, read this (note: it is always best to call a professional to remove mold, as it can hide in places the untrained eye cannot see.)
Step 2: If it is possible, remove mold according to the steps laid out in the link above.
Step 3: If there is too much mold to remove yourself, contact a professional mold remediation company.
Step 4: Correct the source of the issue by repairing or replacing windows, HVAC system, or whatever is causing the excess moisture and condensation.
Step 5: Consider installing a whole-house dehumidification system to help further control humidity and moisture in your home.
Whenever moisture and mold develop in your home, we are here to help. For more information about mold remediation and removal, contact us.
If you ask us whether mold is most likely to develop during summer or winter, we answer, “Yes.” It surprises some homeowners to hear that weather conditions are conducive to mold growth during the winter months.
However, as we have already experienced this month, rain and snow can keep homes and foundations moist throughout the cold months. Moisture are the necessary ingredients for the development and growth of harmful mold. In this article, we will discuss likely causes for winter mold and how to prevent it.
In-Home Humidity and Condensation Contribute to Mold
Humidity and condensation contribute to mold growth during the winter. Airflow can be reduced when homes are sealed tight. Without proper airflow and ventilation, moisture can collect and create an environment conducive for mold development. Places where humidity and condensation are most likely include:
Around windows and window sills
Bathrooms, showers, and toilets
Beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks
Underneath and behind kitchen appliances: refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.
Around exposed water pipes (also watch for leaks)
In basements and crawlspaces
To prevent heat loss, we keep our windows and doors closed, wrap pipes and water heaters in insulation, and do whatever we can to leave the cold air outdoors. However, if areas of your home are not properly ventilated and dehumidified, moisture can become trapped inside. If you see or smell mold, contact a professional mold remediation company right away.
How to Control Humidity, Moisture, and Mold
Homeowners are not helpless in the battle against mold. The key to reducing the occurrence of mold development is eliminating excess moisture. This may prove more difficult than it sounds, but following these principles will help:
Address Moisture Around Windows: Window sills are a common culprit for mold. Whenever condensation appears on your window sills, dry it with a rag. If there is condensation inside your windows, it is important to have them replaced.
Take Shorter Showers: Long, hot showers produce excess moisture and humidity. Consider taking cooler, shorter showers. Additionally, run your bathroom fan during and after showers and baths to help dehumidify the room.
Perform Routine HVAC Maintenance: Dehumidification is a key function of your heating and air conditioning system. Regular, proper maintenance will help make sure it is running at full capacity and efficiently removing moisture from your home.
Make Sure Vents are Open and Unobstructed: Improper airflow will reduce your home’s energy efficiency and create an environment conducive for excess moisture. Make sure all supply and return vents are open and unobstructed.
Look for Leaks and Moisture: Even small leaks can produce more than enough moisture for mold to grow and thrive. Keep an eye out for leaking appliances and pipes. Have any leaks repaired immediately.
Dehumidify High Humidity Areas: In rooms and areas of your home that are especially prone to moisture and mold development, single-room dehumidification systems help reduce moisture and the probability of mold.
Seal and Condition Crawlspaces: It is not enough to seal your home’s crawlspace, it should be properly and effectively conditioned by your HVAC system. However, a properly sealed and conditioned crawlspace is an effective tool in the battle against winter mold development.
If you have further questions about reducing winter mold, or you suspect that you already have it in your home, contact Remtech. We are happy to help you through the process of remediating mold and correcting the source of the moisture problem.
In our previous post, we discussed the importance of checking for signs of water damage, excess moisture and mold development after winter storms. Mold is not merely a spring and summer issue. Snow and ice challenge your home’s drainage systems and can lead to unexpected flooding and mold issues. Rain and humidity do not disappear during the winter months. In Raleigh, winter often brings excessive amounts of rain and even notable severe weather events.
Winter weather in Raleigh is unpredictable from one year to the next. Homeowners must be vigilant against the development of harmful mold in every season.
Common Winter Mold Issues in Raleigh
Though winter is not necessarily as humid as spring and summer, in Raleigh, we often experience heavy rain, wind and snow. With our houses sealed tight, mold may develop in the spaces in our homes prone to excess moisture. Areas in your home especially prone to moisture and mold development include:
Basements and crawlspaces, due to poor airflow and persistent groundwater.
Under sinks and around kitchen appliances such as dishwashers and ovens.
Around showers, sinks, and toilets in bathrooms.
Near windows and pipes where condensation develops.
Outside around gutters and areas where water does not drain properly.
Tips for Preventing Mold Development During Winter
Though there is no formula guaranteed to prevent mold development, homeowners can take measures to lower the chances of encountering it. Though this list is not comprehensive, following these tips will help guard against mold for the remainder of the season:
Inspect for Leaks: Leaking water pipes and appliances are among the primary culprits contributing to mold development. Have active leaks repaired immediately.
Clean Mold-Prone Areas: Mold hides in dark, damp areas of your home. Make sure mold-prone areas are clean and unobstructed so mold has nowhere to hide from you.
Dehumidification: Utilize dehumidification systems in areas in your home prone to excess moisture. You may even consider installing whole-house dehumidification.
Look for Condensation: Mold will develop on window sills and areas where moisture collects due to condensation. Whenever you see it, soak up condensation with a dry rag. If it occurs frequently, your windows or doors may require inspection or replacement
Clean Your Gutters: When gutters become clogged with debris, water drains unevenly from your home, contributing to mold development outside.
Outdoor Drainage: Water draining toward or into your crawlspace or basement may cause mold to develop under your home. If there is frequently standing-water collecting in your yard, especially around the foundation or basement of your home, consider having the area inspected.
Sealed and Conditioned Crawlspace: Having your crawlspace insulated, sealed, and properly conditioned can significantly reduce the occurrence of mold.
What to Do If You Have Mold
Regularly inspecting for mold is key to protecting your family and property. If you do discover mold, don’t panic! Assess the damage and determine if you can make necessary repairs for more information about DIY mold repairs, read this article. If you can, identify and correct the source of the moisture. Do not hesitate to contact an expert. Remtech has decades of experience identifying and remediating mold in homes and buildings.
The January thaw has melted away Raleigh’s recent winter weather. Though the snowpocalypse did not materialize this time, it is important for homeowners to be prepared for the potential damage their homes can incur during winter storms. For two more months, central North Carolinian’s will have a close eye on the weather.
Can Winter Weather Cause Water Damage To Your Home?
Short answer: Yes. Winter storms bring a variety of precipitation types that can cause damage to your home. We typically worry about water damage when it comes to hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding, however, snow and ice can also result in water damage.
The most common sources of winter water damage include:
Leaking or burst water pipes
Water invasion from outside
Humidity (even in winter)
Poor drainage due to snowmelt and ice damming
Roof damage could lead to water leaking into your basement. Moisture build up creates an environment favorable for mold development. When ice causes water to flow unevenly from your roof or through your yard, your basement or crawlspace is susceptible to water invasion and damage.
Extreme Cold And Homeowner Hazards
Temperatures in the teens and single digits present numerous hazards for homeowners, including:
Frozen and burst pipes
Damage to sensitive plants
The health of pets and livestock
Icicles and icy porch steps
What Do You Inspect After a Storm?
Inspect your home’s roofing after a storm. Look for signs of damage: sagging or missing shingles, damaged soffit or fascia, etc. Additionally, check inside your attic for moisture. Ice damming can cause snowmelt to channel into your basement or crawlspace. Mold can develop within 48 hours of the occurrence of water damage and excess moisture; therefore, it is important to look for signs of moisture accumulation after the storm.
What Do You Do About Winter Water Damage?
If you do find water damage or excess moisture in your crawlspace, basement, or attic, it is important to identify the source of the excess moisture.
Additionally, remove waterlogged carpet and furniture. If allowed to dry properly, these items can be saved. It is vital to act before mold develops. We recommend contacting a professional whenever you find water damage. Remtech is here to help. Contact us if you find water in your home after winter weather.
Twas the night before Christmas, and it seemed things were cursed, Water pipes were freezing and ready to burst Upstairs in their beds the family cozily rests Unbeknownst in the crawlspace water pipes failed their tests
Under their home there arose such a clatter The leak started with a drip, drip, pitter patter Though it grew louder, the homeowners knew not The growing concerns of mold and wood rot
But on Christmas morning they would awake grumpy Because in the kitchen the floor’s kind of lumpy They’ll have to vacate their house while it receives aeration Hopefully there’s no need of mold remediation
Extreme cold can cause pipes to freeze and burst, leading to water damage and mold development. If you want to avoid Santa’s Homeowner Naughty-list, make sure you are prepared to take the necessary steps to avoid frozen water pipes this winter.
Why Do Water Pipes Freeze and Burst?
In Raleigh, temperatures dip below freezing about 70 times per year. When temperatures drop below 32 degrees, water in your pipes can freeze. When water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to burst. Frozen pipes are much more common along exterior walls and underneath your home, where there is little insulation to prevent freezing.
In our state, we experience all four seasons. Rather than long, snowy winters, Raleigh’s cold snaps come with freezing temperatures. Most homeowners in North Carolina don’t insulate their pipes, making them more susceptible to freezing when temperatures do dip low.
How Do I Prevent My Pipes from Freezing?
Homeowners can be vigilant against freezing pipes. Pay careful attention to the weather forecast, and perform these simple tasks:
Insulate Exposed Pipes: Use pipe-insulation to insulate exposed pipes under your home.
Let Water Drip from Faucets: On especially cold evenings, allow warm water to drip from your kitchen faucet.
Fix Active Leaks: If water is already leaking from your pipes, freezing temperatures may exasperate the issue. Make sure all leaks are repaired before the cold sets in.
Open Cabinets: Especially for pipes against exterior walls and in cold areas of your home (basements), open cabinets to expose pipes to heat.
Close Garage Doors: If water pipes run through your garage, keep the doors closed during the winter.
My Pipes Froze, Now What?
During winter, if you turn your kitchen faucet on only to discover there is no water, you probably have a frozen pipe. Time is of the essence. Mold can develop within 48 hours of the occurrence of water damage. If you have a frozen pipe, follow these steps:
Find the frozen pipe. Determine if it is leaking or has burst. The culprit will likely be along an exterior wall or under your home.
If the frozen pipe has not burst, you may be able to thaw it with a hair dryer. Do not try to thaw pipe with an open flame or torch.
If the pipe has burst, turn off the main water supply. If the leak is near electrical appliances, turn off the main power to those appliances.
Assess the extent of the damage. Leaking water can be pervasive. Depending on the size and location of the leak, water damage may extend to carpets, walls, and the sub-floor. Determine whether you should call a professional. Err on the side of caution.
Remove wet furniture, carpet, etc. Use towels to soak up the all of the water.
Contact a professional, especially if there is evidence water soaked your walls or sub-flooring. A professional water damage expert will dry the area with wet-vacs and dehumidifiers. If the water is not properly dried, mold will likely develop.
You may choose to skip all of these steps and contact a professional immediately. Remtech has decades of experience repairing water damage. Furthermore, we can help determine if mold is present and whether remediation will be required. Don’t let the cold ruin Christmas. Be vigilant against the rising flood of frozen pipes.
When is the last time you examined your crawlspace? Crawlspaces often tend to go un-examined by many homeowners. We get it, they’re dark, dirty and full of spiders. However, it is important to inspect them regularly because the environment under your home can be conducive to the development of dangerous mold. If it’s not remediated quickly, mold in your crawlspace can spread throughout your home.
Home is where families spend most of their time together. When searching for the right house, home buyers are looking at aesthetics, yard size, kitchen appliances, and bedroom arrangements. Buyers find the right house, fall in love, hire the inspector, and are devastated when inspection reveals the presence of mold.
A Realtor’s job is challenging enough. However, when a listing has mold, asbestos, or potential water damage, they are responsible for finding the perfect resolution for the problem and the client’s needs. Check out this infographic to see how to prevent mold from killing your commission.