Mold and Mildew Love Chilly Weather — What You Need to Know to Prevent It
Although mold and mildew growth can be a problem all year long, it’s especially easy for it to become an issue during the winter and early spring. This is often because when warm air rises into the attic space, or meets a cold wall or window, condensation can build up, providing the perfect habitat for mold or mildew to proliferate. Activities such as cooking, doing the dishes or washing clothes also can create excess moisture in the air that eventually will rise into the attic space. When this moisture meets the organic material of attic insulation along with the warm environment found there, mold and mildew growth can accelerate quite quickly.
In order to eliminate contaminants such as mold and alleviate the health hazards associated with it, you should first understand what mold is, what contributes to its growth, and how to best confront the issue when it appears. If you’re experiencing problems with mold and mildew in your Chicago area home, here’s some vital information that can make your life easier.
What Are Mold and Mildew?
Mold and mildew are both a form of fungus. Like all fungi, mold and mildew rely on eating decaying organic material for sustenance. Although many of the 100,000 known fungus species are not harmful to humans, some forms of mold and mildew can cause a number of health problems and can be a major obstacle to maintaining good indoor air quality. One of the more infamous types of dangerous fungus is black mold, otherwise known as Stachybotrys chartarum, which is among the many forms of mold that can contribute to respiratory problems or aggravate asthma symptoms. Children and pets are especially sensitive to mold spores or mildew, which can cause persistent coughing, fever or allergic reactions.
Mold or mildew definitely have the potential to threaten the health of you and your loved ones. The moment suspicious discoloration of drywall or insulation is found, contact a professional to have the mold removed, which also will help prevent mold spores from circulating throughout your home’s indoor air. When mold or mildew is not readily visible, an unpleasant odor can often be detected that serves as a good indication that these unwelcome guests are taking hold somewhere in the house.
What Causes Mold and Mildew?
The truth is that mold and mildew can be found everywhere. The potential health problems of mold, however, only arises when the spores begin to circulate through the indoor air and start germinating inside your home. Mold requires moisture in order to survive along with some form of organic matter to eat. Inside a home, these organic materials can include any form of paper, wood, wallpaper glue or even dust particles which contain dead skin cells or other decaying organic matter.
Temperature gradients are also a contributing factor to mold growth. In the same way condensation may occur on a cold soda can on a warm day, condensation can occur inside a warm attic during cold days, encouraging mold and mildew to grow rapidly. Areas of your home that lack adequate insulation are especially susceptible to becoming breeding grounds for mold and mildew, so if you suspect there may be a problem, inspect areas where insulation may not be present.
How Can I Prevent Mold and Mildew?
There are many ways to eliminate mold and mildew in your home while also preventing this fungus from growing in the future. Consider purchasing a whole-house dehumidifier if you continue to have trouble achieving balanced humidity in your home. If one room in particular, such as the bathroom or basement, has been flooded or contains excess moisture, consider purchasing a portable dehumidifier to quickly remove moisture from the environment.
When cooking or taking a shower, use exhaust fans to immediately remove condensation as it’s produced before it has the opportunity to cause mold and mildew problems. Other causes of high humidity levels may be plumbing leaks or a damaged roof that’s allowing water to seep into various parts of your home.
If you’d like to learn more about mold and how to treat it, please contact us at Carefree Comfort, Inc. Heating & Air Conditioning today. Serving Highland Park and the surrounding area, our team of professionals has earned a reputation for providing outstanding customer service to each and every client.
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