Winter Months And Mold Growth
So long as there is enough moisture in the air, a plenteous food source, and the right temperature, mold can still grow during the winter months. There are different types of mold, and depending on which mold species is growing, it could be more suited for cold temperature growth. Though there are minimum requirements for many fungi varieties, these comfortable conditions often correspond to the temperatures the average home maintains throughout the year. If your thermostat is setting between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you are creating a climate where mold can thrive.
Not all parts of the United States experience freezing temperatures throughout the winter. This makes it difficult to truly kill mold spores. The extreme variations in the winter cold, especially when dropping below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, are damaging, but the spores may not die and can wait for the house to warm up or the warmer months to arrive to come out of hibernation. Temperature alone isnt enough to tackle a problem with mold. You also need to treat the source of mold and employ preventive measures.
What Are Mold And Mildew
Mold is not a plant or an animal. Mold is a microscopic organism thats part of the fungi kingdom. It occurs in every warm part of the world where theres a moist environment. The exact number of different mold species is unknown, but scientists estimate that over 100,000 different types of mold microorganisms exist. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta report that at least 1,000 species of mold are common in the United States.
Mold is a natural part of all environments where other oxygen-dependent organisms thrive. Youre exposed to mold every day. Outdoors, mold plays an important role in breaking down cellular matter and allowing it to decay as part of the decomposition process. Soil enrichment wouldnt occur without mold. Typically, fallen trees and dead leaves turn moldy within days, especially where light is limited and air is plentiful.
Indoors, mold acts much the same way. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in their informative publication A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home, mold can take hold within 24 to 48 hours after a warm enclosed area like a bathroom wall becomes wet. It can colonize within a week and spread immediately.
Its the causes of mold that are most important to know to prevent it from taking hold.
What Exactly Is Mold
Mold is a foul smelling fungus that grows in hyphae . Mold grows in different colors ranging from dull blacks and whites to vibrant greens and oranges. Regardless of the color however, its still an eyesore in homes.
Mold thrives on moisture and can be found anywhere and everywhere. It reproduces using light spores which float in the air, and as such you end up exposed to mold every day. Makes sense how it can so easily show up everywhere, doesnt it? Do you need mold removal?
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Other Places In The Kitchen
Wooden cutting boards, trash cans, behind the stove and windows and window sills in the kitchen are like heaven for mold spores. They feed off of these places, so keeping them clean and dry is critical for keeping mold at bay.
To keep your kitchen mold free, be sure to:
- Ventilate when cooking and doing dishes by opening a window, using a fan, or both
- Wash the dishes every day, so they dont pile up in the sink
- Clean and dry the stove top, microwave, counters, cabinets, and window sills regularly
- Clean out the inside of your fridge and your fridge drip tray often
- Take the trash out every day
Moisture In Your Kitchen
Mold is commonly found in kitchens, and thats not surprising given how much water is used for cooking and cleaning. Kitchens are second to bathrooms as the location where the most water is contained in plumbing components. That includes water supply lines, drain pipes, sinks, dishwashers and even ice makers.
Kitchens store passive water in pots left on counters and inside fridges. Dishes are left on the counter to dry, and kettles steam away on the stove. All this makes your kitchen a high-humidity environment that increases the odds of mold forming. Consider these moisture sources in your kitchen:
Leaks in dishwasher and sink supply and drain lines
Poor range hood ventilation
Condensation on plumbing pipes under cabinets
Stored liquids that arent properly sealed
Steam from pots, pans and dishwashers
Standing water in sinks and pots
Wet and humid cabinet cavities
Poorly installed counters and backsplashes that trap water
Spills and splashes that arent mopped up
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How To Prevent Black Mold Growth
Conducting routine home inspections and maintenance are the best ways to deal with a black mold problem. Keep an eye out for evidence of water damage and visible mold on a regular basis. The conditions that cause mold should be corrected in a timely manner to prevent mold from growing further.
The extent of structural damage black mold can cause to your home, depends on how quickly you act to fix it.
Some of the ways you can keep mold out of your home is by:
To completely get rid of black mold from your home, you must address the root cause of the problem, so that there is no recurrence of mold. For example, just cleaning up the mold without addressing the moisture problem will not solve the issue because the mold will very likely return.
Top Tips For Controlling Mold
It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.
Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:
Around the house:
In the kitchen:
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
- Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
- Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
In basements and crawl spaces:
In the laundry room:
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.
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Can Mold Dry Out And Die
Mold spores can be found anywhere and often grow in areas with favorable conditions for their existence. They can be invisible to the naked eye during early stages but can multiply rapidly in the presence of moisture making them visible in large numbers. Mold can become hazardous if left unattended as it may cause respiratory problems and sinus infections. It is a common belief that mold can dry out and die after some time. Mold requires more than moisture to grow as it relies on other factors such as warmth, source of food, and oxygen. This article discusses whether mold can dry out and die and how to prevent it from coming back.
Contact Certified Mold Assessments for more info or for a mold service quote.
What Other Things Should I Do To Prevent Mold
Mold prevention is part of regular homeowner maintenance. The EPA recommends you think of mold prevention in four parts:
Educating yourself about the signs and symptoms of mold is one of the best preventative actions you can take. There is plenty of information available online. Another excellent source is your local plumbing professional, who is an expert on the causes of mold and how to prevent it.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse is your best choice for all plumbing leaks and problems that cause mold infestations. To prevent mold from growing in your home, contact us for a plumbing checkup.
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Ideal Conditions For Mold & Mildew
High heat , humidity , and a food source create the ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. Thats why June-August promote mold growth more than any other months. Warm temperatures and high humidity set the stage for mold and mildew.
There are a variety of molds found in the home including Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium and many more. The toxic black mold associated with sick house syndrome is probably Stachybortrys chartarum. for a list of common household mold types. Regardless of the mold type you have, it is important to remove it from any living spaces, including offices, and garages.
The good news is that there are a variety of ways to fight mold or to keep it from developing in your home entirely. Weve compiled a list of easy, proactive methods for keeping your home dry and your air free of mold and other airborne toxins.
The Spread Of Mold Growth
Summer is the perfect temperature for mold growth, but the breezes and winds that come through are also ideal for carrying mold spores around the house. Mold will thrive on soggy carpet or cardboard, inside ductwork, on insulation, or the wooden support structures of your home. It grows and multiplies quickly, putting your health and home in danger if left unaddressed. Wherever you have dark places in your home, you need to be more vigilant in checking for the presence of mold. You may end up smelling the musty odor before you see visible signs of growth, but you can be on the lookout for signs of a water leak or water damage.
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How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
How Can You Tell If Mold Is Active Or Dormant
musty odor, but visually, active and inactive mold can be very different. Active mold in the early stages has hair-like filaments in webs, which develop a more bushy appearance as the bloom matures. Inactive mold is dry and powdery, and the surface layer can generally be readily brushed off the surface.
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Molds And Your Health
No one wants molds in their home, nor would anyone want to experience health problems because of it. Unfortunately, some people still suffer from mold-related issues, despite that fact that molds arent toxic nor dangerous. In general, molds dont directly affect your health. However, longer exposures to moldy environments can lead to severe symptoms which then leads to serious complications.
Molds can make anyone feel uncomfortable, and it often starts with typical allergy symptoms. People usually begin coughing or sneezing at the smell of molds, even when there are no visible signs yet. From allergies, people soon develop asthma, so on and so forth. Rest assured that once the mold infestations are gone, people can start experiencing some relief and their symptoms should go away.
Can Black Mold Spores Travel In The Air
Yes. Mold spores are airborne and can attach themselves to peoples skin, clothing, shoes, shopping bags, furniture, carpets, and even pets. Once spores enter your home, they can settle onto any surface and start to multiply. They can also enter your house through open doorways, open windows, and HVAC systems.
Mold spores are microscopic and are virtually found everywhere. They are naturally found in the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors. Since spores are tiny and lightweight, they become airborne easily, every time we vacuum or walk on the carpets or even sit on our couch.
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Worst Places To Live For A Mold Allergy Sufferer
While some studies argue against a relationship between mold growth and geographic location, there is data to suggest that mold growth concentrations differ from city to city. In 2011, Quest Diagnostics completed a study that compiled laboratory test results from patients seeking medical care to relieve allergy symptoms. Nearly 14 million test results from over 2 million patient visits were analyzed to determine the prevalence of allergen sensitization in 30 of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States.
The term âsensitizationâ is used to describe when a patient tests positive for an allergen-specific immunoglobin E . IgE antibodies in the blood are found at higher levels when your body is sensitive to a particular allergen.
Moisture: The Mold Instigator
Mold thrives in moisture. For it to grow, it needs a combination of these conditions:
- First, it needs a warm location.
- Next, there needs to be moisture present .
- Finally, it needs organic materials that provide nutrients.
When all three of these conditions are present, it creates the perfect storm for mold.
This fungus is attracted to organic materials like paper, wood, or drywall. It also loves dark, dank places like basements, bathrooms, and beneath carpets. Some other common locations to spot it include kitchens, laundry rooms, and pool patios.
What do all of these locations have in common? The presence of moisture nearby. Without moisture, mold wont reproduce and spread rapidly. But with it, it can quickly grow into an out-of-control infestation.
So, is mold without moisture under control? Lets take a look.
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Where To Check For Mold In Your Kitchen
From long-forgotten leftovers in the back of your fridge to the not so easily forgotten dishes that pile up in the sink, there are ample surfaces for mold to take up residence in your kitchen. The added levels of humidity from using the stove and running hot water from the sink can cause kitchen mold to grow quickly. Some of the most common places to check for mold in the kitchen include:
A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
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How To Get Rid Of Black Mold
Trying to kill or remove toxic black mold yourself is not advisable. If not handled properly, you could end up disturbing the black mold and releasing millions of spores and mycotoxins into the air. This could worsen you indoor air quality and cause damage to your home.
Since black mold is toxic, youre better off contacting a professional mold remediation company with experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes.
Mold removal specialists will be able to accurately determine the extent of the mold infestation and can suggest the right course of action for your home. If you suspect that your home has black moldthat is, if you can see and/or smell it .
A healthy, mold-free home ensures a healthy, happy family.