Preventing Winter Mold Growth
Does Mold Die In Winter?
The simple truth is that cold weather does not kill mold. Many homeowners think that mold is not something they need to worry about once winter comes. However, the truth is very different. Although warm weather does trigger mold activity for many types of spores, there are other spores that actually thrive in colder temperatures.
Many fungi thrive at between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This, coincidentally, is precisely the temperature that most people heat their houses to during the cold weather. In fact, these temperatures, combined with the increased moisture of the winter season, can create an ideal habitat for mold.
What Is Mold?
Before we can address the mold issue, we should know what it is. Mold is a naturally occurring organism whose job is to decompose organic material. Mold is what is ultimately responsible for clearing detritus and keeping our planet from getting overwhelmed with dead matter.
Mold spores have been found all over the world. From some of the hottest places to some of the coldest, mold seems to be able to grow everywhere. Mold is able to reproduce thanks to spores that drift through the air. When the conditions are right, these spores latch onto surfaces and colonize. Mold only requires three things to grow: moisture, oxygen, and a food source.
Mold can cause a variety of problems in your home that can become major issues if left untreated. For example, mold can decompose wood, causing damage to both the structure and appearance of your home if it begins growing in your walls. Mold can also eat away at other substances, such as area rugs, furniture, and insulation. This can cause unsightly damage to your home.
Mold can also trigger allergic reactions, ranging from mildly annoying to dangerously severe. If you or your family are experiencing symptoms normally associated with summer-time allergies, the cause could be a mold problem.
Where Does Mold Growth Occur?
There are several places where mold is likely to grow in the winter months. These include:
- Inside Walls
- Crawl Spaces
Although there are many other places where mold growth could occur, these are the most common. Mold growth inside walls can be highly problematic because you may not be aware of the problem until damage has already occurred. Mold can grow within walls when pipes are not properly insulated and begin to accumulate condensation due to the colder weather. This moisture and the heat coming from your home create the perfect environment for mold growth.
Mold can also grow on windowsills and frames due to condensation, which is caused by this same principle. Moisture occurs when the warm, moist air within your home reacts with the air outside and hits the cold glass. This is why you should pay special attention to your windows when looking for potential mold growth.
Preventing Mold Growth In Winter
One of the best ways to prevent mold growth in your home is to try to keep your indoor humidity at 60% or lower. Because humidity is one of the single most critical factors for mold growth, controlling it can help control fungal growth. To reduce humidity, create ventilation for areas that involve high moisture and increase air circulation.
Keep exhaust fans running in bathrooms during showers or baths in order to keep air flowing. Opening a small window or vent for a brief period can also help allow the moisture to escape and reduce the humidity in your home.
Correct insulation is also key to preventing mold growth. Take a close look at any attics, basements, or crawl spaces and try to identify any gaps in the insulation. You can fill small gaps easily with insulation from one of the big box stores.
Keeping areas clean and sealed off is also important. Pay attention to any gaps in the seals around your doors and windows that could be letting harmful moisture in.
AdvantaClean Can Help
If you’re dealing with mold this winter season, or at any time of year, AdvantaClean can help. AdvantaClean has the experience, tools, and resources to remove mold. If you would like to learn more about mold, check out our FAQs on the subject. If you need assistance with mold in your home, contact us today.