Mold and mold spores are commonly found outdoors, where they serve a purpose: breaking down organic matter and returning the nutrients to the earth. Indoors, they're not quite so welcome, so it's important to protect your greater Cleveland area home from mold all year long.
This common fungus spreads quickly once all growth requirements are in place—namely spores, food, moisture and adequate temperatures. Mold spores are everywhere and easily carried indoors on shoes, clothing and in the air. They feed on any type of organic material or fiber, such as drywall, carpeting, wood or textiles, and they prefer the same temperature range you do.
Mold in the winter often grows in cooler, uninsulated areas of the home, where the temperature variation between the conditioned and unconditioned air is substantial enough to create condensation and provide adequate moisture levels. One particular area at risk is the attic, where rising warm air from below may come in contact with the cold underside of your roof, or where moist air may be delivered directly from sources such as the kitchen, bathroom or laundry. Uninsulated windows, exterior walls and closet spaces are also areas of concern.
Tips to Prevent Mold
- The key to prevention is controlling moisture levels. Keep the relative humidity level inside your home below 50 percent year-round, using a dehumidifier if necessary. Another good strategy is to have your home humidifier upgraded to adjust its setting with the outdoor temperatures.
- Increase the ventilation in your home, both in the attic and throughout your home. A whole-house ventilation system can help improve your indoor air quality and increase airflow, while also helping to control humidity levels.
- Wipe up standing water and repair leaks in a timely manner.
- Consider having the ducts cleaned, particularly if you see or smell mold.
- Schedule regular maintenance in the spring and fall. Keeping your equipment clean and regularly changing the air filter can help prevent the distribution of mold spores.
- Have a comprehensive home performance audit performed to uncover weaknesses in your home's structure or air tightness.
For more information on how to prevent the growth of mold in the winter months, call the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've been providing quality service to residents in the greater Cleveland area since 1936.