5 Inexpensive, Easy Ways To Prevent Mold in The Winter
People often believe that mold can’t grow in the cold winter season. Sadly, this is an all too common (and costly) mistake. The wet winter season is one of the most common times for mold to grow in your home. Household mold is eager to grow on various objects and surfaces. Anything from walls to windows to books to toys to clothes is fair game. If left unattended, an unaddressed mold will damage your home and health.
Luckily, the Alabama Klean-Co mold remediation team is here and ready to share several inexpensive and easy ways to prevent mold in the winter.
Yes. Mold can and does grow in cold environments. The best way you can prevent mold is to reduce moisture in your home!
- Invest in a dehumidifier for damp places (basements).
- Open closed cupboard and closet doors to help improve poor air circulation.
- Properly dry damp clothes and surfaces (entryway mats, bathroom mats, etc.)
What Is Mold?
First, let’s talk about what exactly mold is. Mold is a variety of spore-producing fungi that grows in both indoor and outdoor environments. The spores spread quickly and easily by floating through the air and starting to grow as soon as they land on a damp object or surface. Mold comes in various types and colors and is occasionally referred to as mildew.
Outdoor mold survives by feeding off of decaying organic matter (fallen leaves, dead branches) and plants. Indoor mold uses moisture and some kind of carbon source (usually from building material) to thrive. Typically, excess moisture causes indoor mold growth.
Why Does Mold Grow In Homes In The Winter?
Mold is more likely to grow in homes during the winter because mold spores thrive in a warm, moist environment. Unfortunately, winter brings a lot of chilly temperatures, extra rain, and melting snow and ice. To compensate for these weather changes, we turn on the heat creating a warm, moist environment – a mold spore’s paradise. Usually, mold grows in the winter on your home’s inside walls – especially on the surfaces closest to the outside of your home, where the warm wall meets the cold air to create condensation.
Mold growth indoors is not unusual or uncommon. People have battled mold growth indoors throughout history. Please know no indoor space is completely mold-spore-free – not even a surgical operating room. Mold is everywhere, making our exposure to it unavoidable. However, there are steps you can take so that your house doesn’t lay out the welcome mat for mold spores to put down roots.
Where Is Mold Most Likely To Grow?
Mold spores often enter your home by opening windows and doors, wearing your shoes indoors, pets, clothes, and even your home’s ventilation systems. Your home’s environment will determine whether they simply exist or thrive. Typically, dry, exposed areas of your home will not allow mold to grow.
During the winter, mold often grows in the following spaces:
- Windows with buildup condensation
- Areas with poor circulation (cupboards, closed closets, and attic spaces)
Finally, mold spores love to grow on objects with high cellulose content, such as paper and cotton material.
Ways To Prevent Mold in The Winter
The top method to prevent mold from growing inside in the wet winter months is to control the moisture as best you can. Keeping your home clean and well-ventilated will drastically reduce your odds of a mold problem.
1. Low Humidity, High Air Flow
We can’t emphasize this enough – mold thrives in a moist environment. Controlling your household’s humidity levels is the best way to prevent mold growth. If your home is dry, mold spores won’t find enough sustenance to grow when they land.
Keep your home’s humidity level below 60%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Here are several simple ways you can go about lowering the humidity levels in your home:
- Lower your water temperature when you shower
You don’t need to take the arctic plunge, but a colder shower will reduce steam and keep your environment drier.
- Don’t leave wet towels and clothes waiting for wash day.
It is best not to put damp towels and clothes in your laundry basket as they create the ideal mold-growing environment.
- Invest in a dehumidifier
- Place houseplants in a well-ventilated area
- Avoid laying bathroom mats down
After showering, ensure you air out your bathroom mat instead of letting it sit damp on the floor. Finally, ensure you help your home properly vent high moisture areas. For example, when you shower, cook, or wash dishes open a window, or turn on the exhaust fan.
2. Repair Leaks ASAP
It is essential to regularly check your gutters, basement areas, drains, and any exposed pipes around your home for leaks. Places where flooding or leaking occurs provide the perfect opportunity for mold to proliferate. That’s why it is important to identify and repair leaks and perform water damage restoration as soon as possible, especially during the wet winter season.
3. Properly Store Items For The Winter
It is easy to throw that camping gear, summer clothes, and pool floaties in a black trash bag or in a damp pile in the corner of your garage and forget about them until next summer. However, this creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. So, completely dry and clean any items before putting them away. If possible, store summer gear in plastic tubs (not cardboard boxes! Mold sees cardboard as a buffet table). In addition, place bins on shelves that sit off the ground. This helps ensure your summer gear stays dry and mold-free all winter.
4. Keep Your Home Dry and Clean (Especially Mold Prone Areas)
Clean all mold-prone surfaces and objects regularly to prevent mold buildup. Mainly focus on the following areas:
- Windows and window sills
- Kitchen corners
In addition, thoroughly clean and dry the following items regularly:
- Bath mats
- Kitchen and bath towels
- Entryway mats
Finally, use area rugs or washable floor surfaces instead of carpeting in areas or rooms prone to excess moisture. For example, your entryway is not the best spot for carpeting, especially if you live in a wet, cold climate.
5. Don’t Forget About The Outdoors
In addition to the indoor spaces of your home, outdoor maintenance will significantly help in your fight against mold! Here are a few areas to pay attention to before the cold season begins:
Clean out your gutters and drains to prevent the buildup of damp and decomposing leaves.
Ensure that the seals on your windows are functional and prevent moisture from seeping through the cracks.
Check to ensure there are no leaks in your shed’s roof or items in your shed that will create the perfect breeding ground for mold once the temperatures drop.
Check your home’s foundation. Does your property sit on a hill? A hill will cause water to flow away from the structure instead of pooling into underground and low-sitting building materials.
Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Mold Growth In The Winter
1. Can mold grow in colder temperatures?
Yes. Mold only needs three things to grow: a food source, the right temperature, and moisture. Different kinds of mold thrive in different conditions – not just warm environments. For example, some molds are more likely to grow in the winter. Sadly, the ideal temperature for mold growth is often the perfect temperature for our comfort (60-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Does mold die in the winter?
No. Cold weather will not kill off the mold. Sadly, mold spores are opportunistic, meaning they will lie dormant, waiting for the right conditions before they spread. While extreme temperatures will not kill mold, they will deactivate them. So freezing temperatures will not kill mold. However, it will make them dormant. This is why controlling the temperature in your home is not the answer to killing mold. It is better to control the humidity levels and prevent moisture buildup.
3. Why does mold grow on windows during the winter?
The colder winter temperatures bring more precipitation, meaning the surfaces in our homes will collect moisture. This is especially true when the warm air hits the cold window pane surface, causing condensation and creating a damp environment and moisture buildup. Window panes create an ideal place for moisture and, consequently, mold.
4. Do mold allergies go away in the winter?
Mold allergies are very common and cause various symptoms, from coughing, itchy, watery eyes, and a stuffy nose. Mold can also impact people with asthma, triggering asthma attacks in people who have asthma.
While many people notice their allergy symptoms lessen as the temperature lowers, people with mold allergies usually notice more symptoms in the winter. This is because indoor heat and more time indoors can trigger mold allergies.
Test Your Home For Mold Today!
Preventing mold growth from even happening in the first place is ideal. However, identifying it quickly and easily is the next best protection you can have in your home. Early identification will protect your home and family from further damage and harm. If you suspect the damp, cold winter months have welcomed mold into your home, call the experienced and professional Klean-Co team today!
We offer mold remediation and restoration services to Jacksonville, Alabama, and the surrounding areas. Happy to answer any and all questions and concerns, Klean-Co is ready to help give you peace of mind.
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