Mold Growth in the Winter
The lack of moisture in the cold air leads people to believe they don’t have to worry about mold growth during the winter. There are several factors that lead to increased concerns about mold during the winter months.
A leaking pipes or roof can create a constant source of moisture in your home. If you find a leak, get it repaired immediately. Mold may compound the problem if the moisture problem is not addressed immediately.
Turning Up the Heat
During the winter months our homes are sealed up tight to keep the warm air in. The warm air is unable to leave your home, the trapped moisture and condensation from the increased humidity creates a perfect atmosphere for mold growth. Differences in relative humidity throughout the house can also increase the chances of mold growth.
Due to the dry air during the winter, there is a high use of humidifiers. Having moisture in the air can be helpful but if you aren’t careful, the over using of a humidifier can cause mold growth. To avoid any issues use them in moderation.
Lack of Ventilation
Indoor air is typically drier overall during the winter months but certain areas of the home may experience intensified levels of humidity due to a lack of ventilation. Kitchens and bathrooms are particularly susceptible to this issue. Something as little as steam from the shower, sink or stove can create a big problem. During cold weather, windows are closed tightly and condensation collects on indoor surfaces such as cold walls or windows and frames. This moisture creates an ideal conditions for mold growth in winter.
Identifying the Source of the Mold
Moisture conditions indoors can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture. It’s crucial to identify the source of the moisture and remedy the problem at the source. For instance, if you discover mold under your sink due to a leaking pipe repair the pipe or shut the water off to the sink. You may not notice mold growth in certain area, this does not mean that mold isn’t present or that it won’t grow if you don’t take action.
Humidity & Condensation
Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
Actions that will help to reduce humidity:
- Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.
- Use air de-humidifiers when needed.
If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes act quickly to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.
Actions that will help prevent condensation:
- Reduce the humidity.
- Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
- Increase air temperature.
- Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
Have a Mold Problem?
Call SERVPRO of Upper Darby – (610) 352-0700
Why Choose SERVPRO of Upper Darby
Our advanced equipment helps to detect and stop the source of water feeding the mold. As water and mold damage specialists, we have the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly.