Don’t be fooled into believing that mold is a summertime problem. Sure, outdoor humidity levels are higher during the summer, and mold can certainly rear its ugly head during the warmest months of the year— but winter is also an ideal time for mold to grow, particularly inside your home, where humidity levels may be very high indeed.
Why is this? Shouldn’t we expect the air to be bone dry during cold winter days and nights, and mold to therefore be a non-issue? Well, not exactly. The interiors of our homes are nice and toasty, and many of us use humidifiers to address sinus problems and other effects of dry air. So when we really look at it, homes can be warmer and more humid than ever during the winter months — which means perfect conditions for mold growth.
Fortunately, you the homeowner are not entirely at the mercy of this unwanted invador. There are specific steps you can take to reduce the chances that mold will be a problem as the temperature begins to drop. Here are three of the most important:
1. Watch your humidity levels
As we’ve mentioned, mold thrives on humidity. If the air is really dry outside, it may be tempting to run the humidifier non-stop and keep the environment warm and humid inside your home. But beware — this kind of constant humidity is a mold magnet. Even the humidifier itself can become infested with mold and effectively pump mold spores throughout the air in your home. Moderate use of humidifiers is recommended to minimize the chances of a mold invasion.
2. Perform routine checks
Mold isn’t always visible — but it often is. Don’t allow those dark corners of your basement or attic to go all winter without a careful visual inspection. If you notice signs of mold growth, you should be able to find a specialist in your area who can tell you definitely what the situation is, and what the next steps are.
3. Get rid of moldy materials
If you noticed mold growth anywhere in your home during the summer, and the problem was never properly addressed, that colony may still exist. It’s important to get rid of any upholstered furniture or paper goods (e.g. stacks of old magazines) that may be harboring mold growth. Those microscopic spores can easily spread throughout the home, given the right conditions — so tackle any existing mold problems before winter to prevent them getting worse.
An informed and specific strategy
Staying ahead of mold, and preventing it from ever become an issue this winter, is not rocket science — but it may require a little professional help. You may not know whether or not you already have a mold problem, and if you do, the type of mold growing in your home is certainly a question mark. Professional mold testing and mold remediation specialists are adept at giving the correct answers to these questions, and can help you formulate a mold prevention strategy that is specific to your home, and keeps it mold free for years to come.