How to Prevent Mold from Growing Indoors in the Winter
It’s a common misconception that mold does not grow during the winter. People tend to think of the season a being one of slumber and hibernation. Paired with the dry connotations of the season, people assume that mold ‘hibernates’ as well.
Yet, this is incorrect. In fact, winter’s insulated areas and damp conditions create a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew, and other pathogens. For this reason, it’s important that you actively prepare for these colder months.
To combat winter moisture, you need to be vigilant against condensation. At All Dry USA, we’re no stranger to Yuletide mold. So, if you are trying to survive the holidays without fungus, here are a couple tips to prevent mold from growing indoors during the winter.
Keep Your Humidity Levels Below 50%
During the winter, we tend to crank up our heaters and thermostats to high levels. There’s nothing like toasty indoors to offset the freezing outdoors. Yet, this warm air, although cozy, also creates a drying sensation. This sensation creates a chain reaction that can lead to harmful consequences.
In order to offset any subsequent dry air, many people resort to using humidifiers. Although using a humidifier will keep your skin moisturized, it can lead to excess air moisture, making your interior vulnerable to mildew and mold.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that the best way to combat home based humidity problems is to keep your humidifier levels below 45%. To keep things safe, make certain your humidifier is on the lowest setting possible. This will keep you comfortable during the season while saving you from mildew growth.
Invest in High-Quality Insulation
A great way to fight seasonal mold is to reinforce your insulation. An improperly insulated window is the perfect passage for excess moisture and mold.
Window condensation occurs when your exterior air is a different temperature than your interior air. In this scenario, the outside cold air is coming in contact with the heated inside air. The interior heating actually heats up the window itself. Upon contact, the inside air loses its ability to hold moisture and begins to ‘sweat’ in the form of condensation. It is in this condensation that mold is able to sneak through.
This whole scenario can be avoided if you invest in quality insulation or storm windows. This, in essence, creates an insulated barricade between the cold and your home. You can have your windows glazed, use low-E coatings, or fortify them through specialized window frames. There is no right or wrong way to insulate a window, just make certain that you invest in products backed by the US Department of Energy. Using a non-recommended brand may mean subpar insulation.
Practice Safe Furnace Maintenance
You should change your regular furnace filter every month during the winter. This will ensure that no fungi will take root in your furnace. To further combat the tiny molecules that can cause mold, you’ll want to invest in a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This high powered filter can actually sift more particles than a regular filter can. The HEPA filter will be installed adjacently to your furnace and can easily be washed for repeat uses.
Set Your Fans to Reverse
A great way to combat winter humidity is to set your fans in a reverse, or clockwise, direction. Although it seems counterintuitive to leave a fan running during the winter, this tip can help allay humidity.
If you set your fan clockwise, the rotation will actively pull warm air towards the ceiling and push it outwards. The will circulate the risen air down the walls and windows. This method proves especially helpful to fighting mold because air circulation actively reduces indoor humidity. The air pattern will also dry out any residual surface areas that are prone to condensation. During the cold winter months, this will keep your windows and walls from becoming a breeding ground for mildew and mold.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is mold worse in the winter?
Any temperature above freezing allows mold to grow. Indoor heating during winter can even spread spores throughout your home as it blows through air ducts.
How do you kill mold in the winter?
Just like you do all year. Keep humidity low, install insulation, and maintain moving air. Use bleach to scrub away problem areas, call for help if the mold gets out of control.
Will opening windows reduce mold?
Yes. But make sure to maintain a cross breeze and only open windows if you live in a dry climate.
Can I remove black mold myself?
Yes — but only in small areas. If you have a colony growing, call the experts for complete remediation and removal.
Fighting humidity is a struggle that homeowners and businesses face year-round. Come rain, shine, sleet, or flood, humidity will always be there to pose a threat. Remember, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to grow. Further, it only takes 1-12 days for it to begin colonizing. By practicing preventative measures, you have the power to stop this process before it begins.
If you find yourself in need of mold remediation, then feel free to contact us for a quote. We offer 24/7 mold remediation, water damage and fire damage restoration. Servicing residential and commercial clients, we are here to help you survive the winter, fungal free!