Whether you live in a cold climate or the tropics, you know how important it is to keep your home as clean and mold-free as possible. At the same time, many people don’t realize that their indoor air quality can be just as important. The fact is that some types of mold and mildew are capable of causing severe health problems. Here are some pointers that will help you understand the relationship between weather and mold growth.
Understanding what mold and indoor allergens are is crucial for eliminating these concerns.
Molds grow in damp spaces, and most will not thrive in extreme temperatures, such as outside on a warm day with the sun shining. The colors of mold spores range from white to black and may be invisible to the naked eye.
Indoor allergens (also known as environmental allergens) come from various sources: dust, dirt, pet dander, perfumes, or cleaning products. Allergens may range from harmless molds growing naturally or mildew that grows in the presence of indoor humidity.
Can mold grow in cold temperatures?
No. In general, mold spores require 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 16 Celsius) for survival; however, the average low temperature in most homes is between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 13 C). As long as you don’t let the indoor temperature reach freezing, it’s unlikely that any mold will grow.
When do I typically get more mold than usual?
Most people experience prolonged periods of higher-than-normal indoor humidity during a cold season like January or February. These humid periods help create ideal conditions for fungal growth – be sure to clean and dry the home in this period.
Do I need to get all of my indoor air tested?
This is a great idea, especially if you discover new mold growth problems or have had some serious indoor allergies for several years. It is probably time to have an analysis done. Several companies provide much-needed information about the indoor environment and its potential for mold growth.
Look for low-cost non-test kits, or consider purchasing a kit that is tried and proven to work at determining if new mold problems are surfacing in your home. However, if you do not have the technical know-how to check for allergens or mold growth, we advise you to seek the help of mold remediation specialists.
Mold in indoor air is likely to occur from high humidity, leaky windows or doors, high levels of airborne pollen such as ragweed. It’s necessary to check the moisture levels and seal your home correctly against bugs that cause mold growth.
How do you prevent mold from growing in the winter?
- Control humidity levels
- Prevent condensation buildup around windows
- Maintain air circulation in your home to keep it from getting cold and damp, as well as prevent dust mites and other organisms that can gather indoors during the colder months
- Clean mold buildup off of surfaces often, especially around window panes and HVAC system vents
Are there any preventive measures you should take?
No topical products are effective against indoor mold growth. It would help if you did not use bleach or other cleaning solutions in cases where mold has formed on porous materials like wood base furniture or any moldy items like vinyl leather or cloth, carpets, and upholstery.
Also, when the system warms and humidity is low, moisture may be condensing from cold surfaces exposed to warm, dry air. The result is more mold growth than usually if these conditions are not present.
Wet insulation can also cause dampness and mold problems in buildings with inadequate vapor barriers. Damp building materials can promote mildew growth in wet areas.
Since most commercially available paints do not protect against water damage, a new coating on the outside of a wall will have no effect. If there are concerns about moisture inside of walls or wood, that could furnish the perfect environment for mold.
Damp wood and airborne water can lead to excess humidity; thereby seconding the growth of fungus that mildew feeds on. The presence of soggy carpet padding is a source of moisture that provides and shelters fungus, usually present where soft damp wood meets indoor surfaces.
In wet softwood floors, severe moisture in carpet padding can force mildew toward your bottom area rug or even your baseboard molding under carpets. Although the carpet padding and baseboard molding can also be sources of water vapor by absorption, they are not as problematic as soggy softwood floors. Softwood floor framing usually will accept adequate moisture after installation in a home or commercial building.
Mold grows partly from the water vapor created by our bodies, and the air around us can also support mold growth. Certain foods and condiments, and products containing chemicals or preservatives may contribute to mold problems if they are left out overnight on countertops or other surfaces where food is prepared. For example, ketchup’s high sugar content makes it a favorite of some molds, though not all species like this condiment vinegar is also an “accompanying” mold for many types of organisms (see below). Foods that contain high acidity, including citrus fruits or juices, may produce microbial problems, especially in a heavily humid climate.
Humidity control is essential to prevent mold growth because too much moisture can catalyze mold growth. Consequently, molds multiply in warm, moist environments and on non-porous materials such as wood and fabrics. It is recommended to work with a professional home maintenance business if you have questions concerning ventilation windows or other items of your property that may allow moisture into the house.
Molds will grow in moist areas, so consider repositioning personal items such as humidifiers in bathrooms and keeping dishwashers and kitchen sink drains clear.
If the air outside a room is humid and cool, mold will grow under outlet vents near window sills or doors if these areas remain constantly moist. The buildup of moisture can be prevented in this case by periodically opening windows until the automatic moist heat has dissipated. A major cause of mold growth inside buildings is moisture resulting from inadequate ventilation, condensation, or leakage, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA).
However, if a building has structural problems, consider seeking an experienced building inspection professional to examine the defects. Structural issues may be a personal danger, including unstable or damaged buildings and uncomfortable and unsanitary living conditions caused by inadequate ventilation systems in houses with poorly insulated walls or roofs. It is essential that you check your insulation and ventilation and report any maintenance needs to a professionally experienced inspection business in your community.
Flood & mold growth
Mold growth is typical after flooding or water damage, and Flood-damaged carpets can suffer severe water damage and mold growth. Mildew is the usual fungus that grows after flooding or leaky plumbing. Carpeting has a moisture content of 25% to 65%, depending on its construction style, subfloor installation types, and material characteristics. The common ways to remove or effectively deal with mildew on carpets are cleaning, evaporating moisture by circulating dry air, and applying mold repellent products.
Places Where Water and Moisture Collect
Mold quickly accumulates in areas with surplus water and moisture. Among them, the attic, bathrooms, and basements may contain higher concentrations of mold than other parts of your home. In addition to moist places, it is also common for mildew to grow on building materials in or near the basement or attic.
Mold growth is a common occurrence in our homes and businesses. However, the type of mold that grows depends on the climate and other environmental factors. When it comes to controlling mold growth, you can do a few things to prevent it from spreading. One thing you can do is to keep the air circulating in your home or business space by opening windows during warmer months and using dehumidifiers when needed. Other steps include cleaning up spills as soon as possible, keeping all surfaces clean, and preventing water from leaking into your living spaces.
If you have trouble regulating the indoor climatic or environmental setting to prevent mold growth, do not hesitate to contact us.