Spring Mold and What To Do About It

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Spring Mold and What To Do About It

Spring creates the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Why? And what do I do about it? Here's what you should know according to Alpine Cleaning.

Spring is Mold Season

So, if the groundhog has any credibility as a weatherman, we can expect spring to start sometime in March. I, for one, am looking forward to it, since winter is my least favorite season. While warmer weather is nice, spring does have problems and the big one is allergies. While pollen is the first allergen we think of in spring, there’s another one we should worry about: mold.

Mold can be a serious problem in spring. It causes many health issues and costs a lot of money to remove. Why is mold such a problem in spring? Well, according to Alpine Cleaning and Restoration, a company that can do mold removal as well as other cleaning and restoration jobs, spring is mold season because it creates the perfect environment for mold.

What Does Mold Need To Grow?

Mold has very specific environmental needs to grow. First, it needs a food source, something organic to grow on. Second, it needs moisture. Third, it needs warmth. Finally, it needs darkness. Let’s break these down.

1. Food Source

In essence, eating is just breaking things down to make energy to fuel biological processes. Even things that don’t eat in the sense we usually think of do this, including plants and fungi. Mold, as a fungi, breaks down organic substances to generate energy in the same way that people eat, but it can only break down organic components because it needs to burn them to generate energy. Wood, drywall, and other things you’ll find in your house are good sources of food for mold, so there’s always a chance of mold taking root in your home.

2. Moisture

Water is a necessary component for all living things. Mold requires a significant amount of moisture to grow. In places of high humidity – over 80% relative humidity – it can grow anywhere it meets its other conditions. Otherwise, it will prefer damp areas. If mold dries out, it will go dormant and its spores will not grow. This does not kill the mold, it simply forces it to wait until conditions are right to grow.

3. Warmth

Mold needs warmth to grow, as do most organisms. As temperature drops, the amount of energy it takes to remain active increases. All life has ways of dealing with this to some degree. The most basic strategy is to stop activities that require energy. This is why you feel sluggish when you get cold. Mold is no different, but in its case, when it gets cold, it can shut down nearly all life-processes without dying. This allows mold to wait a long time for the right conditions to grow.

4. Darkness

Mold can be pretty hard to kill, but one thing that will do it is too much ultraviolet radiation. Direct sunlight for extended periods of time is one of the few non-toxic things that will kill mold. As such, mold will take root in dark places. Dark places like your basement.

Spring Creates All These Conditions In Your Home

A flooded basement is at high risk of mold and other problems

The reason why mold is most problematic in spring is because it can create all of these conditions in your home. During winter, it’s too cold for mold to grow. The coldness causes more condensation, so the air is drier, so there’s not as much moisture. It makes mold go dormant.

However, as soon as spring hits, things change. The air warms up, the snow melts, and mold comes out of dormancy. It’s first order of business will be to generate as many spores as it can so it spreads. This will create an allergy nightmare for you if you’re allergic to it. What’s worse is that the best place to grow might just be in your basement, where it’s out of direct sunlight. Compounding this is the melting snow, which might flood into your basement. All these elements combine to make spring the worst time for mold.

What Do I Do?

mold growing on drywall

Mold can be difficult to remove. It likes to form in porous materials like wood, drywall, and paper. Because these materials have so many tight spaces mold spores can fit into, it’s often impossible to fully clean the mold out once it gets in them. The only way to get rid of mold ends up being completely removing the substance it grows on. That can mean completely tearing up carpets, or walls, which is expensive. Even when it is possible to kill the mold, this often requires toxic chemicals that will force you to be out of your home while they’re being sprayed for safety.

For some things, like clothing, it may be possible to kill mold by drying it out in direct sunlight. However, for your carpets and basement walls, this is not an option. This means that the best way to deal with mold is to prevent it from ever getting a foothold in your home.

How Do I Prevent Mold

If you want to prevent mold, the most important thing is to keep your house dry. You have to keep warm and there are parts of your house that will never be in direct sunlight, so starving mold for moisture is the only effective means of keeping it from growing. This means that you must fix any leaks you find as soon as you find them. If pipes have burst from the winter cold, or melting snow is leaking into your basement, solve the problem as quickly as possible. When water does spill, clean it up and dry it out immediately. Clean out your gutters so they transport water away from your house. Make sure that your bathrooms, laundry rooms, and cooking areas are all properly ventilated.

Even with all these precautions, mold can still start to grow. However, if caught early enough, its possible to remove it without needing to destroy entire sections of your house. You should be watching for signs of mold, such as dark patches on walls or carpets, and musty odors from areas out of direct sunlight. If you have any reason to think that you might have mold, you should take steps to get rid of it.

Professional Mold Removal

Mold can be hard to get rid of, so if you can’t prevent it from getting a foothold, you should seek help from a professional mold removal company. When searching for a company, make sure you verify their license and certification. A mold removal company should also treat mold as a hazard that requires special PPE gear to deal with – because it is. Be wary of companies that suggest spraying and fogging, as this is rarely effective at completely removing mold from the kinds of porous substances it most likes to grow on.

Most importantly, if you know you have a mold infestation, do not wait. The longer you wait, the more the mold will spread. It’s much easier and cheaper to clean up mold in small amounts than it is once it’s spread to form large colonies. If you know you have a mold problem in your home, take immediate action. Mold can have serious detrimental effects on your health, especially if the mold is a toxic variety.

Don’t Panic

As serious as this sounds, it’s not cause for panic. Mold is tenacious. Generally speaking, every home is going to have a little mold in it. Unless you have severe allergies, you’re probably not going to have any problems. Mold mostly becomes a problem when it starts to build up in excessive amounts. Taking steps to keep your house from getting damp will do a lot to stop mold from reaching that point. So, watch for signs and be ready to call for help removing it when you see them, but if you focus on preventing it by keeping your home dry, you should be fine.

With spring being a damp season, you should be aware of this. Your house is most likely to have dampness problems in the spring because of the warming temperatures and melting snow. So, with spring coming up, be watching for signs of problems. Spotting them ahead of time is the key to keeping them from getting out of hand.