Winterizing your home dantel
Winterizing your home
Heaters and Central HVAC Systems
If you notice a musty odor when you first turn on the heat in the winter, you might have mold in your heating ducts. Because the warm air blowing through the heating ducts can spread mold spores, we advise you to turn off the heating system and call a certified mold tester to check your home as soon as possible.
It is a fact of life on the Gulf Coast that we deal with hurricanes. This year the US has experienced its share. After a home or a business has flooded, the damage may have been repaired, but the potential for mold growth is significantly increased. If your home or business wasn’t tested and certified after the building was flooded and before the construction was completed, you are at a much higher risk of mold and other contaminants hiding in the walls and under cabinets.
Muddy or Icy Foot Traffic
We do not get a lot of snow down here in the south, but a few of our neighbors in the northern part of our Gulf States get a lot of ice. Moving in and out of your house or place of business can produce some messy conditions that must be maintained. As the ice melts and returns to liquid form, the possibility of soaking into carpets or surrounding door or wall molding is increased. We advise using removable rugs in these areas, as they will quickly soak up any liquid left behind and they can be washed or cleaned to remove any mold or other contaminants that may be trapped.
Check Windows, Doors for Tight Seals
Any cold air leaking into your house is costing you money because the heating system will need to work harder to keep up with the cold air intruding into your home. This can also be a source for a potential hazard. Cold air colliding with warmer air will cause condensation. In turn, this condensation will feed any mold spores in the area. Check all windows and doors to ensure you have a tight seal and are not losing your warm air or helping mold spread in your home.
Showers, Sinks and Washers
Any appliance or living area that uses water has the potential to create breeding grounds for mold and other contaminants. Bathrooms create warm damp atmospheres and can leave damp areas on walls, floors or fixtures.
Washing machines and sinks are potential areas that can generate moisture trapped in small spaces behind appliances or under sinks in closed spaces. These areas should be checked for damp spots or any suspicious dark growths.
Roofs Walls and Crawl Spaces
Any surface exposed to the outside atmosphere has the potential to provide a path into your home and create conditions for mold spores to grow and spread.
Roofs – from your attic, check the roof to ensure there isn’t dampness or leaks. These areas can quickly turn into trouble spots for mold.
Walls – Any exterior walls that seem to be overly cold or damp may have insulation issues or leaks. These too are danger zones for potential mold growth and exposure.
Crawl Spaces – Many homes in the south are built on pillar and beam foundations, creating crawl spaces under the house. These are critical areas to keep an eye on during the cold months in the south, as the moist damp air can quickly penetrate this area and directly access the floor under the house.
Utilizing specific products such as a curtain or vapor barrier around a home is a good way to help reduce the impact of the cold moist air and increase the insulation of the area under the house. In addition to protecting from mold, this could help with any water pipes that may be under the home, though further pipe insulation is always recommended.
Keep the Humidity Low
On the Gulf Coast and in the south, we live with the simple fact that humidity is almost always high. During the winter months, houses and work spaces are closed off from the outside air. On days when the humidity is low and you can open a window or two to let low humidity and fresh air in, it will work to your advantage in reducing the chances of mold growth. If you can, a dehumidifier may also help in these situations. A good target for interior humidity levels should be between 30 and 50 percent.
We hope this helps…
Envirotest hopes that you have a mold-free and safe winter season. If you suspect you have mold, or any other air-born contaminant, give us a call. We are happy to come out and collect samples, test for contaminants and provide you with a report. You will have peace of mind that your home meets the clean air requirements. If warranted, we can provide you with a plan to remove any mold that may be in your home. Either way you will enjoy the comfort on knowing your home is safe from contaminants.