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.