3 Tips to Prevent Black Mold During Winter
Mold during winter is a concept that many would never think of as a possibility. Yes, mold growth is less likely to occur in the winter months than during the hot and humid seasons. However, there are many causes to winter flooding and maintenance issues that cause elevated moisture in the air even during the winter months. Mold spores are small and microscopic and are mainly contained near water sources and also in the air within our homes and outside. During this season, the air is rather cold and, in this case, humidifiers are used in many homes. However, monitoring of the home humidifiers is a crucial measure to prevent high humidity levels which provide a conducive environment for a more active mold formation environment. Homeowners should ensure that humidity levels are not too high to prevent mold formation. Mold is formed as a result of improper drainage systems in and out of the house. Consequently, you find that during this season, some rooms have water on the floor due to drain leaks. It is rather advisable to identify the sources of the leaks and repair them to avoid the formation of water in one place encouraging mold during winter seasons where snow may be the case of the leaks on the roofs which melts down into the leaks progressively and slowly enhancing mold formation.
1. Leaving House Unoccupied for a Length of Time During Holiday Travel
Holiday vacation disaster at home can be prevented. Preventing pipes from freezing is essential before leaving for that planned holiday vacation. When pipes freeze they become susceptible to cracks and bursts due to the accumulation of pressure inside them. When pipes burst then water is released into the surrounding hence leading to floods in the house and the compound. The last thing one would want is for their holiday vacation to be cut short due to avoidable circumstances like preventing the pipes from freezing. Flooding in the house not only causes disruption of the holiday vacation but also the damage of property and economic loss due to huge expenditures to repair what was not insured. To read all of our traveling tips click here.
2. Preventing Freezing Pipes
Freezing pipes are a common occurrence in the Kansas City area during this time of year. With cold temperatures especially in the winter whereby pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures. When water is in the pipe then it may lead to the expansion of the pipe and in extreme cases, the pipe may crack or burst hence damaging the water supply system. Pipes that are more predisposed to freezing are those within the interiors and the unheated areas of the house like the basements, garages and the attics.
Also concerning the water pipes, the process of installing proper plumbing systems is very crucial for the prevention of mold during winter season where water is in vast quantity. For the washroom pipes, kitchen pipes and all the drainage pipes, in general, should be maintained and repaired. It is crystal and very typical for the tubes to block or bust out due to the constant flow of water. Therefore, cleaning, repair work, and proper installation throughout the season are essential in and outside the confinements of the home to avoid bursting of pipes and overflow of the impurities, probable sewage on the surface of the ground leading to the greater formation of mold.
3. Prevent Ice Dams
Because heat rises, the heat from your house naturally goes to the highest point of your house, which in most cases is an attic. Now, if your attic is insulated well and to the proper R-value, then the heat will stay inside. If not, then you will probably have the majority of your heat going right out of your house. For cold Midwestern areas, it is recommended that you have between R39-R69. To attain the higher R-value, there is a greater depth of insulation required. For example, 10” of blow-in insulation is approximately an R25 value. Standard building practice is to only put 6-12” of insulation in attics which is much less than even the minimum amount suggested by Energy Star. Adding an additional 10 or 20 inches of insulation isn’t that expensive and will be much more beneficial in the long run. If your attic doesn’t have the insulation it needs, your house will lose heat through the attic and can cause ice dams.
Ice damming also can cause mold during winter. It is the build-up of ice on the underside of roofs that melt and are stagnant on the roofs forming a dam. This process is as a result of the heat loss from the house that causes the snow to melt and drains into the homes slowly destroying the walls and developing mold. This is prevented by manually removing the snow from the roofs and also making channels on the ice dams allowing the water to drain off the roof. This ensures no breeding grounds for mold formation on the roofs are destroyed.
Normally, the roofs are consequently dirty in which the latter forms on the grading and gutters that form water settlement fastening mold growth. In winter seasons, cleaning and repair of the grading and gutter systems are to be done regularly to prevent any survival and mold formation since they ensure a steady flow of the continually melting snow due to temperature change.