Baby, it’s cold outside! Can I finally stop worrying about mold?
It’s no secret that household mold is an all-too-real nemesis for those of us who live in humid southern Louisiana. And if we think that just because the temperatures go down in winter, the risk of mold problems does too, we have another “think” coming.
While temps may drop, mold’s best pal humidity continues to hang around. With precipitation often prevalent, and big differences between indoor and outdoor temperatures creating the perfect conditions for condensation, mold problems can actually become even more prevalent in winter. And, of course, it can also be a side effect of flooding.
Once you have mold in your home, regardless of the season, you have to do far more than simply clean it up. If you don’t address the moisture issue that’s allowing mold to thrive, it’s only a matter of time until shows up for another visit — and brings lots of friends with it!
WHY WON’T MOLD LEAVE ME ALONE IN WINTER?
You’ve tried to seal up your super energy efficient home to keep cold air out. Great idea. But when you turn up the heat, warm air can’t escape, and a too-tightly insulated home can actually become as cozy a place for household mold and mildew as it is for you! And any warm condensation and trapped moisture will likely dwell in your home even longer in winter. If that isn’t bad enough, remember that mold’s job in nature is to decompose plant matter, so as those fall leaves waft to the ground and those annuals die, their “resident mold spores” get released into the air!
Oh, brother. Where should I expect mold to turn up now?
Keep a close watch on sheetrock, drywall, and especially any room surfaces that are in corners or around bends. Corner rooms typically get exposed to colder air than adjoining ones, so they have higher humidity levels. And you know how mold feels about humidity. And, unfortunately, if there’s a problem in the corner room, problems in adjoining rooms might not be far behind.
Isn’t there anything I can do to prevent household mold problems?
- Keep indoor humidity below 60% (ideally, between 35% and 45%).
- Reverse the direction of ceiling fans but keep them going.
- Use a dehumidifier to lower a room’s moisture level.
- Keep ductwork and filters clean.
- Run exhaust fans after showers and meals.
- Open drapes and shades to allow heated air to reach windows.
- Keep gutters clear.
- Make sure that condensate pans (e.g. for your AC) don’t have standing water.
- Open closet doors to allow heat to get to outside/back walls.
- Consider reducing the number of houseplants.
- Move furniture away from outside walls to facilitate air circulation.
If you need to talk with a professional about how to protect your home against mold and mildew — even winter mold problems — call the experts at Sunlight Contractors.
Main Office: Sunlight Contractors, LLC 2323 Bainbridge St #110, Kenner, LA 70062 (504) 222-2082
New Orleans location: Sunlight Contractors, LLC 650 Poydras St, Suite 1400, Rm 33, New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 302-0058