Snow mold growth after snowmelt is a hidden danger that every homeowner needs to be aware of. Nasty mold is a silent intruder that weakens the structure of your home, spreads filth, and causes respiratory illness. It’s for these reasons that every owner should know good mold prevention in winter.
In this article, we’ll break down how mold grows after ice and snowmelt, the dangers that it poses, and 4 great tips on keeping your home safe and protected.
So, how exactly does mold manifest itself as a problem?
How Snow Mold Grows After Winter Storms & Weather
This discolored and nasty-looking intruder is a type of fungi that grows organically. Mold emerges in threads that join together to form a larger organism (imagine the lawn in front of your house). These threads are called hyphae, and they’re constantly creeping outwards to find new substances to snack on. Over time they begin to release spores into the air, which aids in reproduction, effectively spreading the mold out across the space it resides in.
Mold generally grows in damp places because it thrives in moist environments. Due to this, mold is often found in shower rooms, humid basements, and other prime spots for setting up shop. Since mold can’t get food for itself, it must digest the surfaces it grows on. In a home, you’ll find it decomposing wood and other objects, which is where it becomes a problem.
Winter mold growth is an often overlooked issue. Because the weather outside is so cold, you would think that mold grows better during the warmer months. Surprisingly, winter brings some perfect conditions for a mold invasion. More moisture combined with higher usage of indoor heating creates the perfect storm within homes.
The Dangers of Mold Growth After Snow & Ice Melt
Snow mold is a danger that must be dealt with quickly because of how easily it can spread. The fungi grow on and feed off of common household materials. Carpet, wallpaper, wood, and more can all fall victim to the organism’s growth.
On a microscopic level, air circulation can remove moisture while simultaneously spreading the spores around. When the environment is lacking in airflow, not only does the moisture accelerate the growth of the fungi, but the spores don’t travel very far. This can easily snowball into a serious problem! Mold can increase in size rapidly, and any air movement can carry the super-light spores far and wide throughout your home.
Apart from the disgusting appearance of mold, it poses unseen dangers as well. This is the main reason you should deal with any mold issues right away. When these spores travel through the air, we unknowingly breathe them in. These spores are mycotoxin, which is an airborne toxin produced by many mushrooms and molds. This can bring unexpected health problems like coughing, headaches, and other illnesses.
If you or someone in your household has asthma or other similar conditions, they are very susceptible to complications from breathing in the spores.
How to Avoid Mold Growth After Ice & Snow Melt
Let’s review some great tips for mold prevention in winter::
#1: Keep unattended spots in your home clean
This is pretty straightforward; you need to keep your entire house clean, not just problematic areas. The fungi grow on and feed off of common household materials. It’s not necessary to sterilize every inch of your wallpaper, but you should take the time to clean unattended nooks and crannies in the house. Often the outbreaks of mold come from areas that aren’t routinely used.
#2: Make sure your air filtration systems are maintained.
Airflow can be a blessing to circulate out stale, moist air. That being said, a poor air filtration system can allow spores that are already present to travel throughout your house. Airborne spores pose a threat to our respiratory systems. You should have your air conditioning and heating systems checked to make sure that the filters are effective and clean.
#3: Remove ice dams from rain gutters and other roof areas.
Ice dams can sneak up on you! Because they form in the harshest winter conditions it can be inconvenient to go check for possible issues. Luckily, it will suffice to just remove snow or check the conditions on your roof after heavy snowfall. It won’t become a problem until it melts, but as the snow melts and is trapped in gutters by ice, it begins to find ways into the attic area.
If there are any existing holes or other openings in your attic area, water will only make them worse. The real issue comes from the buildup of moisture inside the attic though, which can go unchecked for much too long. Often, people do not discover a mold problem above their heads until it’s too late to treat it alone.
#4: Properly insulate your attic.
Another way to protect your roof and attic area from developing a mold problem is the proper use of insulation. Moisture can form in an attic without the presence of a leak. All it takes is warmth from the heating system to reach the underside of the cold roof, where it condenses into liquid form.
If your insulation isn’t up to par, it’s in your best interest to keep a close eye on the attic walls and roof. This is a weak point that many homeowners aren’t aware of. Ideally, your attic should be insulated from any warm and moist air rising from the interior of the house. Sealing any possible air leak spots and ensuring proper ventilation will go a long way towards preventing mold growth.
When Do You Need Professional Snow Mold Removal?
You might not know you have a mold problem, to begin with. As soon as you know, it’s important to find out how dire the situation is. While there can be outbreaks of fungi in your house unbeknownst to you, there will eventually come a time when you recognize the problem.
If there’s only a small spot, you can likely handle it yourself with store-bought treatments and some protection for your face and lungs. The real danger is from large contaminations, where you are unsure of how far it spread. This can balloon into a much larger problem if the mold has made its way into HVAC systems, your own lungs, or small spaces that are difficult to deal with.
Compleat has extensive experience in dealing with snow mold breakouts in homes. Simply killing the mold isn’t enough, as dead mold still can continue to spread illness. Compleat’s trained mold remediation crews have the knowledge, tools, and safety equipment to permanently eliminate the mold in your home. This includes drying and containing the area, and strong remediation – this includes HEPA vacuuming and physical removal of all affected materials.