As the leaves begin to change colors, the days become shorter, and the air grows crisp, we can begin to feel the arrival of fall. Autumn may be a sweet relief from the scorch of summer, but do not forget that winter is just lurking around the corner. While the temperature is mild, it is important to reflect on the conditions of your property and complete any necessary maintenance before winter.
Fall is a great time of year to conduct a routine check of your property for any areas of vulnerability to moisture problems. The weather is relatively comfortable, and it is a great opportunity to complete any home improvement to protect against the harsh elements of winter.
Also, keep in mind, if a minor mold problem is neglected going into the winter months, the indoor conditions of the home during winter will allow the mold to grow and spread. The latest energy efficiency leave homes fully sealed up. The warm indoor environment will be an ideal breeding ground for excessive mold growth.
Establish Controlled Humidity During The Fall Season
Make the necessary arrangements to control and maintain indoor humidity levels throughout the winter months.
- Consider a dehumidifier if your home is prone to humidity:
- Air conditioning systems can be a great way to control humidity during the summer months, but that is not an option during the winter months.
- Regularly check all indoor areas for damp spots:
- Address any signs of dampness immediately
- Establish as much indoor airflow as possible throughout the property:
- Avoid excessive clutter
- Space furniture away from walls whenever possible
- Leave interior doors open whenever possible (i.e: bedrooms doors, closet doors, bathroom doors, etc.)
With all the latest energy efficiency options made available to us today, we tend to, unknowingly, seal our homes far too tightly. As the temperature drops, and we begin to close up our tightly sealed homes, we risk trapping moisture and raising humidity levels.
If your rooms are poorly ventilated, the warmer indoor air cannot escape. If the trapped warm air comes in contact with cooler air, you risk condensation settling on building materials and feeding potential mold growth. Controlling humidity to prevent mold growth during the winter months is just as important as controlling indoor humidity during the muggy summers.
Complete Regular Maintenance During The Fall Season
Identifying areas vulnerable to moisture concerns will prevent mold caused by water intrusion
- Clean all gutters:
- Make sure that gutters are free of debris and all obstructions. Backed up gutters can lead to major water damage around the roof and ponding around the foundation walls.
- Inspect the condition of your roof:
- Check for any missing or discolored shingles, soft spots, and any signs of visible damage.
- Be sure to also inspect soffits/eaves for signs of water damage, rot, and/or mold.
- Assess the quality of your foundation:
- Make sure your foundation walls are free of cracks or anything allow water intrusion or compromise the structural integrity of your home.
- Manage the draining around your foundation. Any water runoff should be drained away from the property to avoid water collection and flooding around the property, which risks water intrusion through the foundation.
- Check basements, attics, and crawl spaces
- Take some time to complete a thorough walk-thru of your basement, attic, and/or crawl space.
- These are areas that homeowners tend to neglect because they are usually unoccupied space, typically relegated to being used as storage space.
- Check the humidity levels and be sure that these spaces are well ventilated. Inspect for any leaks or any vulnerability to water intrusion.
Taking Immediate Action
If you come across any areas of major water intrusion be sure to contact a professional to assess the situation immediately. It will not be long before you start noticing the beginnings of water damage. If not handled properly and with a sense of urgency, water intrusion can quickly lead to compromised structural integrity to the property and risk of extensive mold growth. In severe cases, you will need to contact an emergency water extraction professional right away to begin the structural drying process as soon as possible to prevent future, costly damages.
Making it a semi annual routine (fall and spring), to complete these property maintenance repairs and inspections, will go a long way in aiding the prevention of mold growth in your home. If you have time to complete minor or partial checks in between just as a precaution, it would be even better. If you come across anything that you suspect to be potential mold growth, call a professional to complete a professional mold inspection and testing. Catching the problem early on can prevent a costly mold removal and remediation further down the line.