Mold and Mildew Issues Impact Indoor Air Quality in the Winter, and Here’s Why

by Greg Leisgang on March 10, 2014

Posted in: Indoor Air Quality

mold and mildew issuesAround the Blue Ash area, maintaining good indoor air quality requires a year-round effort. That's because it's not just warm-weather grasses and flowering trees that produce allergens. Winter mold growth poses a hidden threat right in your own home.

Mold needs just three things to thrive:

  • A food source
  • Warmth (50 to 75 degrees)
  • Moisture

How mold happens

Mold grows on organic material, such as wood, which provides nutrients. You'll also find it growing on porous inorganic material, such as grout and drywall. The tiny holes in these materials collect dirt, dead skin cells, and other organic material.

All year, we tend to keep our homes at precisely those temperatures mold prefers. In winter, however, moisture buildup provides the last element mold requires.

When it's warmer indoors than out, condensation can form indoors. Warm indoor air hitting cold windows causes condensation on the windows, which encourages mold on wooden window frames.
Warm air rising from your living space into your attic hits your cold roof and causes condensation there. This can lead to mold growth on the underside of the roof, in the insulation, and on the wooden walls, rafters, and joists.

Mold and your indoor air quality

Mold reproduces by means of tiny spores that are carried through the air where you can easily breath them in. These spores trigger allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. Even in healthy people without allergies, mold exposure can cause coughing, a stuffy nose, and headaches, among other symptoms.  

Keeping mold away

  • Insulate sufficiently -- Install enough insulation in your attic to keep the attic cold and your living space warm. Use double-paned or Energy Star-qualified windows to prevent window condensation.
  • Ventilate well -- Install ventilation suitable for your attic, which may be ridge and soffit vents or a solar-powered attic fan.
  • Keep it clean -- Frequently clean and dry areas prone to moisture buildup, such as bathroom and kitchen walls and the insides of cupboards.

If you could use some help preventing mold from ruining your indoor air quality, contact us at Tri-County Heating & Cooling in Blue Ash and elsewhere in the Cincinnati area.

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