Does Mold Grow in the Cold?
Mold is commonly thought to grown only in warm humid temperatures, leaving you with the idea that mold doesn’t grow in the winter months due to the lower average temperatures. However, since we are in Florida we are more susceptible to year round mold growth than other states.
Mold can thrive under temperatures as low as 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The vast majority of our Florida winter consist of 70-degree days making your home a target for mold growth. Be sure to assume normal percussions to inhibit mold growth such as keeping your air conditioner on, minimize humidity, run your extractor fan, clean you air filters, and have your home routinely inspected for mold.
It is a common idea that keeping your air conditioner running at a low temperature will inhibit mold growth this tip is not always reliable. It is true that mold prefers warm humid temperatures, but it can still grow in temperatures as high as 70 degrees. In the middle of winter, it is unlikely that anyone keeps their air conditioner running below 70.
Luckily there are other ways to reduce the likelihood of mold growth in your home. Running your extractor fan in areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms will reduce your risk of mold growth. The extractor fan draws out steam, grease, oder, and smoke from your home. When you are showering or cooking it is important to keep the extractor fan running to eliminate steam and moisture from the room. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most susceptible rooms to mold growth. Get in the habit of keeping the fans on when utilizing the space and your home will be that must safer from mold production.
In addition to utilizing the extractor fans you should clean your air filters regularly. If you live in a single-family home with no pets, no plants, and the residences have no allergies you can get away with changing you air filters every 6-12 months. If you live in a household with adults and children with no pets you should change your air filter every 90 days. If you live in a home with one pet or anyone that has allergies you should change your air filter every 20 to 45 days. I know what you’re thinking that seems like a lot! However, it is a small task compared to the extensive mold remediation process.
We now know that mold loves the kitchen and bathrooms and we know that utilizing the ventilation is key but that is not the only precaution you should take to prevent mold growth. The best way to prevent mold from growing on surfaces is to thoroughly wipe all surfaces dry after exposure to any moisture. Check under your sinks regularly to ensure that nothing is damp. If you have carpet and there is a spill ensure you thoroughly dry the area using rags, a blow dryer, or even a shop vac if you have access to one.
If you suspect mold in your home, it is important to get it tested swiftly.
Mold starts to grow within 24hr of exposure to damp humid conditions. The spores being to multiple and spread through the air one week after exposure. Mold becomes visible 18 to 21 days from exposure. The faster you react the more likely you are to catch the problem before it has spread through your home. The best way to test if your home has mold is to call a professional so they can take samples and send it off to a lab. The lab tests will be able to tell you details about the mold in your home including if it is toxic, and what the best course of action is. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Mold could be growing in your home even in the peak of the Florida winter.
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