Inspecting homes for mold growth in the winter months.
The climate and activity changes during colder months can actually increase the likelihood for mold growth in winter. Our indoor and outdoor environments can create conditions that foster increased spore activity.
WHAT CAN CONTRIBUTE TO MOLD GROWTH IN WINTER?
We tend to close up our homes once it starts getting colder; and with all of the latest energy efficencies we have today, our homes become too tightly sealed. This can trap moisture and raise humidity levels.
- Turning up our thermostats creates warmer air that is often unable to escape; and if your home's indoor environment is too tightly insulated, the likelihood of mold or mildew growth in winter months dramatically climbs. Additionally, warm condensation and trapped moisture from humidity levels tends to dwell in homes for longer periods of time.
- The fall and winter outdoor environment provides the ability for mold spore activity to be higher. Mold's job in nature is to break down dead plant matter. When leaves fall and plants die, the decaying plant matter releases mold spores in the air.
- Mold growth in winter and fall seasons can be commonly found on the exterior of drywall, sheet rock and other surfaces of rooms located in bends and corners of the home. Due to corner rooms being exposed to significantly colder air than their adjoining rooms, they have higher relative humidity levels (RH). However, the adjoining rooms have the same water vapor pressure - ultimately creating conditions that can harvest and sustain mold growth in winter.
- If you see mold growth in winter months on a corner room in your home, it can mean the RH of the next room's surfaces is 70% or higher. On the other hand, if the temperature in the room is too cold, or there is a lot of moisture (high water vapor levels), the room may also have RH levels over 70%. Both the relative humidity and the temperature of the rooms' surfaces and areas need to be balanced - neither too moist, nor too cool.
TIPS TO PREVENT MOLD GROWTH IN WINTER:
- Keep indoor humidity below 60%. Ideally, it should be between 35% and 45%.
- Placing a dehumidifier in the room can lower moisture enough to prevent mold growth.
- Set ceiling fans in reverse.
- Ductwork and filters should be kept clean.
- Do not allow water to stand in condensate pans.
If you think your home has a mold issue, in the Minneapolis Saint Paul area contact, Inspections Plus. Inspections Plus has over 25 years in the construction and home inspection business. Only the latest technologies in mold detection are utilized and most are very non-invasive.