Cold Room Mold: Causes, Removal & Prevention
A cold room can be a wonderful space in the home, especially for those of us who garden, preserve, or like to enjoy or collect wine. But if it’s improperly built, old, or damaged, the cold room can quite easily turn into nightmare of condensation and mold. Today we’re going to look at the whys and hows of cold room mold and how it can be safely and permanently removed.
How Does Mold Grow in Cold Rooms?
A well functioning cold room or cellar is often located under the front porch. Designed to help us store food and preserves, they’re meant to be uninsulated and to have a vent to the outside to help circulate fresh air. They’ve also often got concrete floors and unfinished walls, permeable surfaces that allow moisture and air to move through them. This keeps the space both humid and cool - which is great for storing carrots and potatoes for months after they’ve been pulled from the ground.
What often happens in cold rooms is that some part of this set up goes awry, perhaps when someone wants to finish the basement or maximize their living space. Maybe the vent is removed or covered up, or studs and drywall placed over the concrete walls. These changes to the ecosystem of the cold room inevitably lead to mold growth - without room to ‘breathe,’ air will move between conditioned and unconditioned zones in the basement, which leads to condensation and conditions ripe for mold growth.
Why Is There a Musty Smell in my Cold Room?
One of the easiest to identify signs of mold growth is a musty smell. This smell is created by microbial volatile organic compounds produced as the mold lives and grows, as well as the airborne spores it puts out to reproduce.
Smell is often a key indicator of mold growth because it’s often hard to see visually. Mold likes to grow where it can’t be disturbed, which often ends up being underneath or behind heavy objects like shelves or appliances, behind drywall or along studs. If someone has finished the cold room in your home without proper insulation, smell may be the only indication something’s gone off in the cellar.
How Do You Clean and Remove Mold From a Cold Room?
At MoldTech, we always recommend a professional remediation when it comes to removing mold from a cold room. Our assessment and remediation will not only permanently remove mold from your cold room but also identify issues that may be contributing to the mold growth in the first place - allowing you to make changes to prevent it from happening in the future.
We also recommend a professional remediation from a safety standpoint. Mold can be highly toxic and dangerous - it is easily spread through the home by accident, and can cause short and long term health problems for even the healthiest of people. A MoldTech remediation takes care of this worry for you - we securely contain the space and use industrial strength air filtration systems to remove any airborne spores. Any affected materials are removed securely and disposed of safely, and then we roll up our (figurative) sleeves and get cleaning. Cleaning is the most important part of any mold remediation, and MoldTech was a pioneer in bringing biological cleaning agents into use in Canada. This naturally-derived wash kills mold without causing damage to the affected surface, and is safe and non-toxic to people and pets. We clean every last inch of your cold room, basement, attic, or bathroom until tests come back clear of any mold spores.
Many of our clients tried the DIY method before calling us, using hardware-store bleaches, acids, and other chemicals to try and remove mold. What usually happens is that the problem disappears for a time - before coming back as bad, or worse, than before. This is because many over-the-counter mold ‘removers’ are ineffectual or downright useless, and do nothing to get at the root of the mold growth - let alone the cause.
How Can I Prevent Mold in the Cold Room?
Prevention is nine tenths of the cure, so taking proactive steps in preventing mold growth in your cold room is the best way to ensure that you never have to call us. If you’re taking a look at your cold room for the first time, the best place to start is ventilation - fresh air will help keep moisture from settling and ensure that mold can’t grow. Unblock or reopen closed vents, as well as ensuring that any air or water leaks are fixed.
Next, we recommend you take a close look at how your cold room works with the rest of your home. If you have or want to install a finished basement, make sure you consult with your contractors (or mold specialists like us!) before you add insulation, vapour barriers, or drywall to ensure that you are doing it right. Taking these sorts of steps adds a little more work at the start - but can save you thousands of dollars (and a big headache) further down the road.
Work with MoldTech to Get Your Cold Room in Shape
Let our decade of experience in mold removal and remediation help you make your cold room a functioning part of your home! At MoldTech, we specialize in one thing only - mold removal and remediation, and have been doing it before the industry was even a category in the Yellow Pages. This, as well as our relationship with professional organizations such as the National Association of Mold Professionals, has given us years of practical, professional, and science-based experience removing mold and helping home and business owners create a safe and healthy space. If you have any questions about mold removal in the cold cellar, please get in touch! We’d be happy to arrange a free consultation or tell you more about how mold remediation works. Call us at 1-866-684-7684 or visit our website at www.moldtech.ca