Mold prevention is a year-round job. Just because the hot, humid months are behind us (for now), it does not mean that indoor mold growth will be taking a vacation. Ohio homeowners need to pay close attention for signs of mold and moisture during the winter months as well. Your property can be equally as vulnerable to problems during the winter season.
Winter Mold Prevention
When we close up our homes for winter and crank up the heat, we can easily forget the risks of indoor moisture buildup and indoor mold growth. Ohio homeowners often associate mold with the hot, humid conditions of summer. But, indoor mold problems are equally as likely to develop during the winter months if Cleveland homeowners are not careful.
Increase Air Circulation and Reduce Humidity
Poor air circulation and humidity are often the easiest problems to overlook. Moisture buildup from humidity and lack of air circulation is not as obvious as a major leak or flooding, but it can be equally as damaging with time. Increasing air circulation and reducing humidity is usually a pretty simple and inexpensive task. Homeowners just need to know to do it.
- Run exhaust fans (kitchen & bathroom), use ceilings fans, install the proper vents and implement other methods of ventilation when appropriate.
- Avoid excess clutter to increase air flow. Space furniture away from walls whenever possible to allow more air circulation.
- Pay attention to indoor humidity levels (keep below 50%) and install a dehumidifier if necessary.
- Keep and eye out for condensation. Condensation can be an indicator of an underlying issue.
Pay Attention for Leaks and Repair Immediately
Keep your eyes peeled for signs of a potential leak. Mold develop is rapid when there is an adequate moisture source. Do not delay leak repairs (no matter how seemingly minor). Homeowners should repair leaks (of any size) right away. In short, the moment you suspect or see a leak, fix it–or you might be stuck with paying for more expensive mold remediation.
- Watch for leaks in common areas such as windows, exterior-to-interior doorways, and the surrounding areas by skylights.
- Check for roof leaks from in your attic.
- Check for foundation leaks in your basement and/or crawl space
- Pay attention to areas with plumbing fixtures — bathrooms, kitchens, basements, crawl spaces, etc.
- Check all HVAC components for signs of leaks or condensation.
Routinely Check Attics, Basements & Crawl Spaces
Basements, crawl spaces and attics can be especially susceptible to dampness, elevated humidity and mold growth, even during the winter months. It is important to conduct routine checks to make sure conditions in these spaces are not inviting mold growth. Potential humidity issues, risks for leaks and potential flooding could lead to water damage and mold growth. Ohio homeowners can play a key role in attic mold prevention, basement mold prevention and crawl space mold prevention during the winter season.
Complete Routine Maintenance and Cleaning
We will never be able to stress enough the importance of home maintenance. Routine maintenance and routine cleaning will go a long way in preserving the condition of your Ohio home. Maintenance checks afford Cleveland homeowners the opportunity to spot early signs of a potential problems before they turn into significant property damage. Some common maintenance checks include (but not limited to) the following:
- Clean and maintain your gutters and downspouts
- Conduct HVAC checks and repairs as needed
- Check your roof
- Check your foundation
- Service your sump pump
Prepare your Pipes for the Temperature Drop
Water damage resulting from frozen pipe ruptures is one of the more common problems during the winter season. Moisture from a frozen pipe leak can lead to serious and widespread mold contamination. It is important to prepare your pipes for the temperature shift.
- Fix leaky pipes– Inspect your pipes and check for leaks. Weak spots in your pipes will make them vulnerable to bursting when water freezes and expands. Small leaks can be easily patched. If you suspect a bigger leak, call in a plumber to get it resolved professionally.
- Insulate Pipes– If a pipe freezes, the expansion can easily cause your pipe to burst and leave you will a costly water damage repair. Pipes located outdoors and pipes running through unheated areas of the home (i.e: basement, attic, and crawl space) are especially vulnerable to freezing. Pipe insulation can help to prevent the pipes from freezing.
A lot of unexpected things can go wrong with your home during the winter months in Ohio. As a homeowner, the best tactic is prevention. By taking the necessary precautions, you can prevent winter mold growth. However, sometimes, despite all the precautionary maintenance, some problems are out of our control. If you uncover indoor mold growth this winter, let the trained mold removal professionals in Ohio help.