The chilly season is tough. Air pollution is worse in the winter, you have to worry about winter allergies, and the flu is making its rounds. There’s one more issue that’s heightened in the winter: mold. Why is mold in winter worse than it is in the summer? Furthermore, what can you do about it?
Mold in Winter: Why This Season is Worse Than Others
You might be thinking, “Wait a minute. Mold thrives in warm, damp environments. How could mold be worse in the winter?” Here’s why.
You know that in order for mold to grow, you need moisture. Well, when the temperatures drop during the winter months, and you crank your heat up, the warm air makes contact with the cool glass of the windows of your home. When this happens, water vapor forms and moisture builds up. Do you ever notice condensation around your windows? That’s it. The snow, ice, and cold outdoor air combined with warm inside air make winter one of the more prominent times of the year for mold to grow.
This is why mold might be likelier to grow. If you see it concentrated more around the windows, now you know why.
So, is mold worse in the winter? Because of conditions specific to this season, yes, it certainly can be.
Why Do We Even Care?
If the mold in winter is left untreated, it can start to damage the surfaces that it’s growing on. But this might be the least of your concerns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to mold can lead to:
- Stuffy nose.
- Red or itchy eyes/skin.
It can be even worse for people with mold allergies or asthma. More severe reactions can include:
- Shortness of breath.
If you’re dealing with a mold allergy specifically, you might think you’re safe. After all, allergies tend to ease up in the winter, right? That might be true for some types, but mold allergies can actually get worse. Because you’re spending more time indoors, and because the heat makes it more severe, mold spores that have been building up in the air ducts can make it into the air you breathe.
How Do You Prevent Mold in the Winter?
Prevention is better than cure. What can you do to protect yourself and your family against mold in winter?
- After you bathe, crack a window, turn on the fan, and leave the door open. Ventilation/circulation is key.
- Use an air purifier.
- Keep carpeting and rugs away from windows, sinks, tubs, the dishwasher, and the washing machine — basically, anywhere moisture is more likely.
- Check the seals on your windows and doors to make sure that they’re completely insulating the cracks. If you notice any drafts, replace them.
- Check your plumbing at the beginning of the season for any potential leaks.
- Aim to keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.
- Clean out your gutters on a regular basis. This helps stop moisture from building up on any debris that has accumulated.
- Clean your home regularly.
How Do You Treat Winter Mold?
Sometimes, we don’t see at-home mold until it’s staring us straight in the face. If you start to notice it forming in your home, what can you do?
If you want to tackle it yourself, you can scrub it off of hard surfaces with detergent and water. Make sure you completely dry it afterward with a rag or paper towels. If the surface is more porous, stick with a rag so you don’t damage the surface. If the surface is such that you can’t remove the mold completely, you might need to replace it. An example is ceiling tiles.
In terms of the cleaning product you use, dish soap can sometimes get the job done. You might also try diluting bleach or ammonia in water. For a more natural option, opt for white vinegar. In addition, there are cleaning products specifically formulated for killing mold.
Whatever product you use, take care not to mix them. This can be incredibly toxic. For instance, mixing ammonia and bleach creates dangerous fumes.
For more severe cases of mold in winter, it’s best to call a local mold removal service.
Because mold spores negatively affect the air you breathe, it’s not just the surfaces in your home that you want to clean and disinfect. You should take care to clean the air, too. That’s where an air purifier comes in.
Sans uses four layers of protection to help you and your family breathe easier. The pre-filter is the first line of defense. It traps larger pollutants like hair and dust.
Next comes the medical-grade HEPA 13 filter. This layer removes at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns and 99.95% as small as 0.1 microns. (A human hair is 90 microns thick.) The HEPA 13 filter will capture viruses, bacteria, and allergens, including — you guessed it — mold spores.
The third filter is the activated carbon filter, which focuses on harmful chemicals floating in the air as gasses. It neutralizes volatile organic compounds and takes care of any odors.
It all ends with pulses of UV-C light, which neutralize the pathogens and microorganisms that your Sans unit has trapped. This way, they can’t grow on the filters and make you sick.
Mold in winter might be a concern in your home. But rest assured that there are plenty of ways to prevent and address it.
Mold doesn’t stand a chance this winter! Ready to protect your home and all the people in it? Shop with Sans today.