Most people think of mold only as a problem in warm environments or an issue that only needs worrying about in the summer. However, the cold weather of winter doesn't make a home immune to the potentially toxic and damaging effects of mold. Here is what you need to know to prevent mold in the winter.
Don't Feed the Mold
Mold needs warmth, it needs moisture, and it needs food in order to continue to grow. But depriving the mold of these things doesn't mean you will kill mold that is already present. And even though it may be freezing cold outside, this likely isn't the case inside your home. In fact, your home may be even warmer and have more moisture in the winter than it does in the summertime.
People often use a humidifier in the winter as the heated air can become uncomfortably dry. It's not uncommon to see people using space heaters in the bathroom, either. Additionally, people often cover their windows in plastic, which can create condensation. These practices can cause dormant mold to wake up and begin feeding again.
Mold feeds on many things inside the home, including rugs, towels, and other things that tend to stay perpetually damp. They also love cellulose-containing products, such as drywall and wood. Wash and dry area rugs and towels frequently. Wipe down the walls after showering and use the ceiling fan ventilator. You also don't want to keep stacks of damp newspapers or piles of cardboard meant for the recycling bin. Dispose of this stuff quickly because it will otherwise serve as a mold buffet.
If you use a humidifier or even simply keep a pot of water on top of the stove, you need a hygrometer to measure humidity. You shouldn't allow your home to go above 50 percent relative humidity. If you have had mold issues in the past, this level should be kept lower.
Insulate Your Pipes
The pipes in your home are frequently damp with condensation. Cold basement pipes can sweat in the winter, especially if you heat with wood and your basement is perpetually much warmer than it typically is in the summer months. Even a traditional furnace will usually raise the temperature above the usual 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit it normally stays at during summer. Wrapping your pipes in insulation will not only reduce heat loss, but it will also reduce the condensation that can serve as a breeding ground for mold.
Grade Your Foundation
On warmer winter days when the temperature is above zero and when the spring thaw begins, water will often find its way in through tiny cracks in the foundation. You want to make sure the soil around your foundation is properly graded so water runs away from your home. This will reduce the amount of moisture in your home.
Call a mold remediation service like Clean Care Inc. for more information.