How to Prevent Indoor Mold Growth During the Winter


Winter is more than just a time to bundle up and make soup; these cold, wet months are a prime season for mold growth. Snow and rain means moisture is tracked inside our tightly enclosed buildings where it has no means of escape. Windows are kept closed and doors are left open for only as long as it takes to get in and out, so there’s little fresh air turn-over.  Furnaces that make rooms warmer than outside also create condensation. This allows the mold spores that are ever-present in the air to grow and feed on the items in your home. Fortunately, you can take several easy, inexpensive mold prevention steps before winter arrives.

6 Steps to Prevent Mold Growth

1. Keep the humidity in your home below 45%.

mold in wallpaperThe Environmental Protection Agency says the best way to control the chance of mold damage in your home is by monitoring and maintaining your home’s indoor humidity level at 45% or below. Use dehumidifiers in high humidity areas, such as basements to check levels and keep them under control. If you notice a sudden increase, search for water sources or leaks immediately. Mold growth begins within 48 hours of exposure to excess water.

2. Set your ceiling fans to turn the other way.

Ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter. If you have all the fans in the house set this way, cold air is pulled up and warm air is drawn downward, which not only keeps your home warmer but keeps the utility bills lower too. Your furnace won’t have to turn on as often, so your budget will thank you. Ceiling fans move air around, which keeps condensation from building up on cold walls and windows, which is another source of mold growth.

3. Use exhaust fans in rooms with water and humidity, such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Proper air circulation doesn’t allow moisture to build up and feed mold spores because the fans remove it to the outside. Cooking and bathing create more steam in winter because there’s a greater temperature contrast between the indoors and outdoors. Be sure to use exhaust fans every time you cook or bathe and consider keeping dehumidifiers in these rooms to help with mold control.

4. Wipe down any condensation on windows.

Flooded Basement
Flooded Basement in Fairfax Co

Mold can grow on the paint or dust in the windowsill. If possible, replace windows with more energy-efficient ones. Paint windowsills with high gloss paint to help protect the wood and make cleaning easier.

5. Maintain roof gutters.

Be sure they have no sticks, leaves, or other debris in them. Consider installing “gutter guards” to prevent debris from building up and clogging the gutters over the winter. Check the rest of the roof while you’re up there to make sure there aren’t any missing shingles or damage from summer storms. Inspect downspouts to make sure all the sections are connected and aren’t blocked. Water coming from the gutters should flow away from the foundation so it doesn’t pool, flood the basement, and contribute to mold growth.

6. Mop up any standing water in entryways from shoes immediately.

It might evaporate eventually, but it will raise the humidity and lead to mold growth, especially under mats and rugs. Hang wet rugs to dry, and use elevated shoe racks that allow air circulation. If you have a great deal of snow or rain in your area, you may want to invest in boot driers that slide inside and dry soaked footwear quickly. They can be used on cold mornings to give boots a quick toastup before braving the elements. Don’t put wet coats in closets; they’ll raise the humidity and make everything they touch soggy.

Mold Removal

If you need mold removal in your home or business in Alexandria, VA or Washington, DC, call the highly trained experts at ServiceMaster NCR immediately. Mold spreads quickly and if it gets into hidden places like wall interiors, it can spread undetected by anyone – except us and our InstaScope mold detection system. This system gives quick results, so we can work with you to put together a comprehensive remediation plan. We use the Trifect mold removal system to safely and effectively remove all traces of it to prevent further damage to health and property. We’ve been a trusted name in cleaning and restoration for over 30 years, and our Homeowner’s Guide to Mold will tell you everything you need to know about this threat to your home or business.

Mold Removal Costs – ServiceMaster Video

Mold remediation costs vary, depending on the spread of the mold and the extent of the damage it caused.