Causes of Winter Mold Growth in the Home
Mold is usually thought of as a warm weather problem, where heat causes condensation to build in places like the attic, behind walls, or in the crawlspace. But an increase in mold growth during the winter months is actually one of the primary reasons people need mold removal in Toronto. Mold growth during the winter is usually precipitated by a number of common problems, like a decrease in air circulation in the home or an increase in moisture from common indoor activities, like cooking and bathing.
Why does mold grow in the winter?
Mold growth in the winter months happens for a number of reasons. Mold thrives in conditions with a warm temperature, lots of moisture, and plenty of organic materials to eat. While these things may not at first seem to be part of the winter landscape, they’re actually very prevalent in the average home.
To begin with, we create the ideal growing temperature for mold spores by heating our homes - anywhere from 5-30 degrees offers mold its ideal growing conditions. This consistent warmth is maintained for months on end, and is often coupled with the next issue.
Air flow is one of the biggest weapons a homeowner has against mold growth. Mold likes to be undisturbed - it doesn’t want to be moved around by air, which causes inconsistent temperatures and dries up moisture. In the winter, we keep our windows tightly shut, and our furnace dictates where the air flow goes, unlike the summer months where open windows and doors help to flush stagnant air and dry up moisture.
The last key to mold growth, moisture, is often alarmingly present. Winter air is dryer and dry air can help exacerbate dry skin, eyes, and hair, making us uncomfortable and itchy. Many folks turn on their furnace’s humidifier to help combat this problem. Excess moisture, whether it be from humidity, a leak, or a flood, is the number one cause of all mold removal work in Toronto. Maintaining a humidity level around 50% in your home, as well as monitoring for leaks or condensation formation, can help you get a step on mold growth in your home.
Sources of mold growth in the winter time
There are a number of specific causes of mold growth during the winter, such as:
- Wet coats, boots, and outerwear can leave puddles and bring in extra moisture.
- Cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze and burst, causing a flood or serious leak
- Cold water coming in from outside can cause pipes in warm areas to sweat and condense.
- Window condensation. Heated air carries water with it, and when it hits a cold pane of glass, the moisture turns back into water, which can collect and drip below windowsills or down drywall.
- Snow melt into the attic. Vulnerable areas of your roof (especially if you have a shady area or a place where snow and ice collect) may cause or exacerbate attic mold problems.
How you can prevent winter mold growth.
At MoldTech, we aim to help you with mold removal and remediation all year round. After over a decade of experience in the business, we’ve seen that preventing mold growth is the single best way to ensure that your home remains healthy and mold free - some of the below are our favourite ways to prevent winter mold growth:
- Decrease humidity and increase air circulation. Open the window during your shower or install vents above your stove and in the bathroom to get rid of hot, steamy air and bring in fresh air.
- Insulate pipes in the basement or cold areas to prevent condensation from forming.
- Remove the source of food. Mold grows on what it can eat - organic materials. Store things like books, cardboard boxes, or clothes off cold floors and on shelves where the air can circulate.
- Get a rug for your front door to catch drips, and get a mat for wet boots.
- Monitor frequently for condensation or leaks.
Work with MoldTech to reduce your risk of winter mold growth
Let us help you get rid of your attic mold, basement mold, or window mold this winter! Part of any successful mold removal is education and prevention - we’ll not only help you remove mold, we’ll also help you find out why and how it happened in the first place. For more information on MoldTech and what we can do to help you, get in touch with us by phone or online, at 1-866-684-7684 or fill out our online form.