Got an awful case of off-season allergies, windowsills that appear to be growing a five o’clock shadow, or tiny-but-telltale spots of discoloration on your drywall?
If you live in a cold climate, kicking up the heater during winter months doesn’t just keep you warm—it also helps to create a perfect environment for winter mold and mildew.
Not only are fungal infestations unsightly, but they can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, stuffy noses, and itchy eyes. And, in the case of mold, can spread relatively unnoticed, quietly compromising the integrity and strength of your very walls.
Here are six tips to help prevent mold growth in the winter.
Six Ways to Prevent Mold and Mildew During Winter
When all the right conditions are present, moisture, ample food, and a temperature between 41 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, mold will begin growing within 24 to 48 hours.
The easiest way to beat these fungal culprits in the winter months is with prevention. Here’s how to limit moisture, remove tempting food sources, and keep an eye out for the first telltale signs of a winter mold problem.
1. Increase Air Circulation and Reduce Humidity
Use fans and keep windows open as long as the weather allows. Once it becomes too cold, consider purchasing a dehumidifier to reduce the overall moisture inside your home. Look for one that offers digital readings, which can help you to keep your indoor humidity level below 40 percent.
2. Keep an Eye Out for Leaks That Can Let in Excess Moisture
Watch for leaks in common areas such as windows, exterior-to-interior doorways, and the surrounding areas by swamp coolers and skylights. Don’t forget to check your indoor plumbing for excess moisture. Check for hidden leaks in areas such as under bathroom and kitchen sinks.
3. Repair Any Leaky Area Immediately
Mold and mildew can grow at a rapid pace. The longer you leave a leak unattended, the more likely you are to experience mold and the damage that comes with it.
In short, the moment you suspect or see a leak, fix it.
4. Limit the Possible Areas Where Mold and Mildew Can Grow
Since fungi thrive on quick-to-decompose items such as books, piles of loose papers, or boxes of clothing, use strategy when storing these items.
The best areas for long-term storage are away from external walls or windows. Pick an area that enjoys circulation to prevent the possibility of built-up moisture. Also keep a close eye on the moisture in your bathroom and clean surfaces regularly as well. Bathrooms can carry the most moisture in the home.
5. Take Care to Keep Entryway Flooring Dry During Wet Weather
In rooms where moisture is a problem, area rugs and other washable floor surfaces are preferred over wall-to-wall carpet. If you do have carpet up to the door and can’t do much about it (such as when renting), take care to vacuum the area regularly, inspecting for signs of any mold near the baseboards or where your carpet meets the wall.
6. Use Exhaust Fans in the Kitchen and Bathroom
Boiling water and taking steamy showers provide your home’s environment with plenty of moisture. Make sure not to slack when it comes to turning on exhaust fans, including the one in your oven’s hood, which can help reduce condensation formation.
It’s also helpful to leave exhaust fans on for twenty to thirty minutes after steaming up a room, along with wiping down moisture on the walls with a dry rag.
Unless the growth is very minor, research reveals that it’s probably best to hire a professional to remove it. That’s because, according to experts, natural cleaning solutions won’t do the trick. Even bleach is considered too weak to eradicate mold spores, and household cleaners will only disguise the smell while giving the mold time to grow.
Fungicidal sprays are the only solution that can kill mold spores and the amount of chemical you’d need to remove mold can be equally hazardous to your health. Bio-One technicians are certified in mold testing and remediation. We do air quality and mold testing, mold remediation and encapsulation. Give Bio-One a call today for your free, no obligation consult and estimate. Bio-One serves the Triangle and surrounding areas.