Winter weather can create the perfect setting for days on the mountains and cozy nights in. Unfortunately, the plethora of precipitation in the winter also creates the habitat mold needs to survive and thrive. Although some molds don’t respond well to cold temperatures, many others will grow and expand during the colder winter months.
Mold poses a host of issues for the average homeowner. Whatever the mold grows on or in will weaken and degrade as the mold spreads. When it’s growing on the beams inside your walls, on your flooring or even on your drywall, the structural integrity of your home could end up affected. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent the growth of mold in your home.
Cleanliness Is Critical to Mold Prevention
Some of the areas where mold is most likely to develop are notorious for being messy spaces, like attics and basements. Cleaning up these spaces by removing debris, dust, and junk and using plastic storage tubs instead of porous cardboard boxes for all stored items can reduce the number of places where mold can grow. It also makes it easier to spot mold when it starts growing.
When you’re cleaning up a space, you should look for signs of potential leaks, like crumbling mortar, sunlight coming through roofing or visible cracks in your foundation. Any of these issues should get addressed as soon as possible. Not only do foundation cracks and weak mortar reduce the structural integrity of your home, they increase the potential for serious leaks and thus, mold growth.
In the case of basement issues, you may want to inspect your drainage systems around the exterior of the foundation. There should be adequate drainage and the ground should slope away from your foundation. Maintenance or upgrading of drainage systems and your yard can prevent moisture issues.
Pipes and Older Appliances Can Also Be Sources of Moisture
One potential source of mold issues that often gets overlooked is broken appliances. Washing machines, fridges with ice makers and dishwashers can all be a source of leaks or moisture. Old pipes can present similar issues. The best way to prevent an issue involving old pipes or appliances is to completely shut off water flow to them. In the case of the appliances, you might want to consider getting rid of them.
Speaking of pipes, you should make sure that pipes that exit your home and those close to the foundation are insulated properly. This prevents them from freezing, which can cause the pipes to crack or burst.
A Few More Simple Solutions for Mold Prevention
If your home has a crawl space instead of a basement, you can spread roofing paper, polyethylene plastic film or another water barrier over the soil in the crawl space. You should ensure there is good ventilation. In some cases, a fan may be necessary to move the humid air out from underneath the building.
Air circulation is also important in indoor spaces, including your basement and attic. Exhaust fans can circulate air and remove humid air as it develops when you’re cooking or showering. Even opening your windows after running the furnace for a bit can push out humid air.
Other forms of home maintenance can also reduce the potential for moisture issues. Check the seals on your doors and windows, and replace any that aren’t in great condition. Clean out your gutters regularly to ensure runoff can move through them easily. Monitor your windows for signs of condensation, and dry out areas quickly if you notice it.
In general, the most important thing to do to prevent mold growth is to keep your home clean and dry. Maintenance and careful monitoring of all your internal spaces can help ensure that you catch mold issues before they get too out of hand and pose a health threat to you and your loved ones.
To learn more about mold prevention in your home and workplace, check out our Complete Guide to Mold.
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