Canadian winters are long, cold, and dark. Mold (mould) loves damp, dark, and warm places. Unfortunately, these are also the conditions that many of us try to create in our homes during the winter months. We turn up the heat, close the curtains, and often don’t have the best ventilation.
So what can you do to avoid mold this winter? Here are a few tips, plus what to do if you think you already have a problem.
What Is Mold?
It is a fungus type that thrives in damp, humid conditions. It’s often found in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. Mold can be black, white, green, or even pink. It can appear fuzzy, slimy, or even powdery.
Mold increases in number by releasing spores into the air. Your naked eye cannot see these spores, and they can travel through open doors, windows, ventilation systems, or even on your clothes or shoes. They begin to grow when they land on a damp surface.
How Does Mold Affect Your Health?
Mold can lead to some health problems, including allergic reactions, respiratory problems, and skin rashes. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are especially at risk.
Mold can also cause serious problems if it starts to grow on food. Mold produces toxins called mycotoxins that can contaminate food and make you sick.
In 2012, the WHO (World Health Organization) reported that exposure to mold in an indoor environment could lead to infection, allergy, mucus membrane and sensory irritation, toxicity alone, or both.
How Do You Know There’s Mold In Your Home?
Mold often has a musty smell. If you see this kind of smell in your home, it’s a good idea to check for mold. Another way to tell if there’s mold in your home is to look for visible signs of mold growth. This can include:
- Black or green spots on walls, ceilings, or floors
- White, powdery patches
- Fuzzy growths
If you see any of these signs, you should take action immediately. Always remember that mold can spread quickly and cause serious health problems. If the problem is severe, you might need full mould removal services.
Unfortunately, mold can still be present even if you can’t see or smell it. The only sure way to know is to have a mold test done by a professional. If you suspect mold presence in your house, it is best to be safe and have the test done.
How Does Mold Grow In The Winter?
There are three necessary things for mold to grow: moisture, food, and warmth. During the winter, our homes are often more damp than usual. This is because we tend to close up our homes to keep out the cold air. This lack of ventilation can create the perfect environment for mold to grow.
Another problem is that mold loves to eat cellulose (a plant material). Cellulose is found in many common household materials, including paper, wood, and drywall. When these materials get wet, they become a perfect food source for mold.
Finally, mold needs warmth to grow. The temperature inside our homes is usually warmer than the temperature outside. This provides the perfect conditions for mold to thrive.
Tips to Avoid Mold Growth During the Winter
- Fix leaks in your roof, walls, or pipes as soon as possible.
- Use a dehumidifier in damp rooms like the basement or laundry room.
- Ensure your gutters are clean and draining properly.
- Maintain good ventilation in your home by opening doors and windows when weather permits.
- Regularly clean areas where mold is likely to grow, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.
- If you find minor mold in your home, scrub it with a solution of bleach and water (1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water). Afterward, make sure the area is well-ventilated until it’s completely dry. You may also need to throw away any porous materials that have been affected, such as carpets, drywall, or insulation.
- Prevent condensation from forming on surfaces by maintaining a comfortable temperature inside your home to prevent condensation from forming on surfaces.
Keep in Mind
While you can take steps to prevent mold growth in your home, it’s important to remember that mold can still grow even if you do everything right. If you find mold in your home, it’s essential to have it removed by professionals to prevent additional damage to your property and health.
Ask for recommendations, or you may also look online by searching “property restoration near me” to narrow your search. As much as possible, you want to hire restoration professionals near you to avoid additional costs.