Winter is loosening its grip. Check for hidden mold NOW!
Posted in Mold, on March 05, 2015
Many of our clients are usually surprised to learn that most mold issues indoors grow in winter months. Mold growth that grows in summer is usually a results of a roof leak during a rain storm or a basement foundation leak or a plumbing issue. Mold growth that grows during winter is usually related to condensation and humidity. Even though, typically our winters are cold and dry, elevated humidity indoors is usually the culprit for a hidden mold growth issue. If you have maintained your relative humidity in your home over 35%RH this winter you could have developed condensation in the basement cold cellar, outer walls, behind large furniture items that are placed near outer walls as well as the attic itself. Usually we need to keep the relative humidity below 45% in mild winters to prevent condensation.
However, this winter the RH levels should have been in the low 30’s. Due to the extreme cold, wall and window surfaces were colder which lead to condensation much quicker. Condensation forms when cold surfaces such as windows and wall surfaces as well as cold rooms and attic fall below dew point. At this point condensation forms which is moisture. It is not much different as a water leak or flood. The wall surfaces and building materials get wet and stay wet just the same.
The first place you will want to check are the outer walls in the basement as well as the cold room. If your cold room still have the non-structural wood forms on the ceiling of the cold room, this could trap moisture and lead to hidden mold growth. You may see black, green or even white spotting or growth. There may or may not be an odour.
The next area you should check is behind the sofa and behind large furniture like cabinets or bookcases that are on outer walls on the main floor and second floor. Poorly insulated walls can contribute to condensation that is hidden and leads to hidden mold growth in these areas. If you see mold, do not wipe it off or clean it since this will disturb the mold growth and lead to mold spores being spread to other areas. You should contact us for a mold assessment so we can help you mitigate this issue without making it worse or leading to health issues.
The third area of concern is the attic. If your attic access hatch does not have a good seal with weather stripping or an insulated hatch, warm and moist air can enter into the attic leading to a mold growth issue. Condensation will form on the underside of the roof sheathing which is the coldest surface in the attic. This leads to frost in the winter and begins to thaw out in the spring. The thaw leads to moisture affected the wood framing and sheathing which then leads to mold. Check for black or green spots. There can be a few spread all over the attic or heavy growth in a certain area.
Call us for a complete mold assessment if you see mold growth so we can help your stay healthy.