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How to Prevent the Growth of Mould in Winter

Fall is upon us and winter is right around the corner, meaning that most home and business owners have transformed their houses or buildings into sealed environments. While this is going to keep your family and employees warm over the next few months, if you have mould anywhere in your residence or building, it can make breathing difficult for anyone who suffers from respiratory ailments such as asthma.

As the top provider of mould removal in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, Flood Services Canada recommends to our customers that they take care of mould removal now. Because you are going to be running your furnace during the fall and winter, condensation can form, which, in turn, can make existing mould even worse, transforming a small mould removal project into a major one.

Your home or building may have suffered a minor flood at some point over the last few months; for instance, with the heavy rain the Greater Toronto Area experienced this spring and summer, you have possibly experienced some minor flooding in your basement. While you may think that simply mopping up the water took care of the problem, if your wall or floor wasn’t dried properly, mould may have developed. Why take any chances? Call us today for professional mould removal.

Remember, all mould needs to thrive is “food,” i.e. building materials such as insulation, carpet, wood, carpet underpad, drywall, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, paint, window coverings, plastics, furniture, and upholstery. Essentially, anything in your home or building can be a breeding ground for mould following even minor flooding.

It’s always imperative to have mould removed early, as when it starts to grow out of control, it can lead to serious problems with the air quality in your home or office. In addition, once it has started to grow out of control, having it removed can necessitate renovations. Don’t take any chances; have mould removed before it becomes an issue!

Symptoms of Exposure to Mould

You may not even be able to tell that you have a problem with mould. However, if any family members or your employees have asthma or a weakened immune system, they’ll be able to tell. Some of the common symptoms of exposure to mould include:

  • Burning and itchy eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Sinus and nasal congestion and irritation
  • Severe headaches
  • Mood changes

If you notice anyone in your home or office displaying any of these symptoms following a flood, call us immediately for mould removal. The young and elderly are especially vulnerable to illness due to mould, so it’s best to have it removed if anyone falls into these age categories.

5 Tips to Prevent Winter Mould Growth

There are a number of mould prevention measures that you can take as a homeowner in order to keep spores from setting up shop during the chilly season.

Clean and Vacuum Regularly

Mould spores cannot be seen with the naked eye much of the time, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be stopped. When looking for how to stop mould growth, a proper cleaning regime can eliminate dormant spores before they have a chance to develop and spread. When cleaning, make sure to focus your attention on areas likely to become exposed to moisture—like bathroom or kitchen surfaces—as well as cracks or crevices. Any errant organic material, like crumbs or food lying around, should also be taken care of. Spores can settle into carpet fibers or cracks in floorboards, which is why a good vacuuming is an ideal way to round out the cleaning efforts.

Mind the Humidity

Winter is a season of cold, dry air, and it is natural for people to try combating this with a home humidifier. Unfortunately, higher humidity levels can create enough ambient moisture to support mould growth. To help prevent mould this winter while still being able to use humidifiers, it is important to keep an eye on the humidity level. A 35% to 45% range can provide wintertime comfort while minimizing the mould risk. Levels around 60% or greater should be lowered as soon as possible—using a dehumidifier if necessary.

Keep Moisture under Control

Many daily activities, especially those concerning the bathroom or kitchen, can add to the ambient moisture and promote mould growth. Being aware of what activities can raise moisture levels and taking steps to curtail the effects is a good way to prevent mould from spreading. If you are using the stove or taking a hot shower, for instance, make sure to keep the fans on in order to quickly dissipate the warm, moist air. If you find that the cold walls and floors of your basement are causing condensation, you can try installing a dehumidifier downstairs too.

Watch the Windows

Rain, ice, and snow characterize the winter months, meaning you will often be in situations where water in one state or another is packed against or drizzling down your windows. Windowsills are rich in the sorts of cracks and crevices that moisture and mould spores love to hide in and can become ground zero for winter mould growth if not tended to properly. Give your windows an inspection to make sure they are properly sealed. Also check them over following rain or snowfall to clear off any lingering moisture that has seeped through.

Monitor the Basement

Basements are popular spots for mould to grow because of how close they are to the soil. Humidity can easily build in an untended basement, but this is not the only way mould spores can be supported. Snowmelt can trickle into your basement from outside and seep through the walls to create damp patches that mould can thrive in. In addition to making sure your basement is properly insulated, an important part of mould prevention is to ensure that cracks and crevices are successfully sealed against outside infiltration.

Some types of mould can even be extremely toxic, making immediate removal necessary. Regardless of whether you have a minor mould problem or a major one, Flood Services Canada provides mould removal at an affordable price. When our professionals come to your property to remove mould, we will make sure there is minimal disruption to your day-to-day business or home life. Contact us today for more information!

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Chad Vanvari

Chad Vanvari has over 20 years of experience as a cleaning & restoration professional. He started out in Montreal, establishing a commercial carpet cleaning company in the early 1990’s. By 2001, Chad had relocated to Toronto and now had extensive knowledge and experience in responding to fire/water related emergencies. He has been instrumental in the cleanup of several catastrophic floods. Currently, Chad is the president and owner of Flood Services Canada, a 24/7 emergency service restoration company.