In the cold winter months, mold tends to grow in homes with poor ventilation, elevated humidity, and unresolved water leaks. As we insulate our homes to keep the cold air out, we also trap moisture, creating an environment that favors the growth of mold. This is why proper home ventilation is important to mold prevention. Here are some essential tips to prevent mold growth in your home during winter:
- Keep indoor humidity below 60%, preferably between 35% and 45%. Use a dehumidifier if the moisture in the air is too high. If you use a humidifier, make sure it does not exceed the desired moisture level.
- Vacuum and clean your home regularly to reduce the number of food sources for mold. Pay attention to areas that are prone to moisture, such as the bathroom and basement.
- Properly ventilate your home. Open a window or use an exhaust fan when cooking, showering or washing the dishes. Make sure that the vents are not blowing air in enclosed spaces, such as the attic or crawl space.
- Use washable rugs in areas that are prone to moisture. Avoid using wall-to-wall carpeting in areas such as the entryway, as the moisture absorbed in the carpet will be difficult to dry.
- Avoid storing books, paper or clothing in humid areas of your home, such as the basement or kitchen. These items are possible food sources for mold and should be stored in the driest areas of the home.
- Have your roof, downspouts, and gutters inspected and maintained regularly. Repair roof leaks immediately and keep the downspouts and gutters free of debris to provide proper drainage.
- If your basement has elevated levels of moisture, check for leaks and fix cracked or defective mortar. In addition, have your outside drainage system inspected. Since the basement is prone to moisture due to condensation forming on the cool walls and floor, place a dehumidifier in your basement.
- Cover the soil in your crawl space with moisture-barrier materials, such as waterproof polyethylene plastic. Provide good ventilation in the crawl space and keep the vents open in the winter.
- Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from your home’s foundation. This ensures that water can’t easily collect around your basement, causing leaks and water damage.
- Insulate pipes to prevent them from freezing or bursting. Pipes that freeze most frequently are those that are exposed to the cold, such as water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like the attic, crawl space, and garage.
During winter, the number of allergens in your home environment also increases. Learn how to reduce allergens in your home here and how to keep indoor air fresh here. For mold removal services and water removal services, contact your local PuroClean office.