Humidity & Mold Growth
Summer has officially started in Toronto, and that means sunshine, patio season, and unfortunately, mold growth. The extreme heat results in infrequent, but heavy rainfall that increases the chance of flooding. The large amount of moisture from the rain and humidity create the perfect environment for mold to flourish in your home. Many people don’t realize that mold growth in Toronto can occur just as frequently in the summer as in the winter due to the warm, moist environment in most homes. Thankfully, the summer is a great time to inspect your home for mold and continue to monitor for any significantly changes that occur as the humidity increases.
The expert team at InchByInch Inspections has years of experience identifying and eliminating mold in Toronto-area homes. If you inspect your home and are concerned that you may have mold growing, contact our friendly team to book an inspection today. We can help identify mold growing in even the toughest to reach corners of your home, then professionally and efficiently remove the contamination before it can cause permanent damage to you, your family, or your home. In this blog post, we hope to answer some of the most frequently asked questions related to mold growth in Toronto, especially during the summer months. If you have any additional questions, or want to book an inspection or removal service, contact our team today at 416-826-7172 and get started breathing the best quality air.
Is mold worse in the summer or winter?
Contrary to popular belief, mold growth in Toronto is worse in the summer than the winter as summertime creates the ideal warm and moist environment for mold growth. Winters are too dry and cold for mold spores, which require food and water in a warm environment in order to grow. In the winter, mold spores are usually not as prevalent due to the dry air and freezing temperatures. Thus, opening your windows on a summer evening to let in some fresh air can allow mold spores to enter your home and then flourish in warm and moist areas. Even if you aren’t opening any windows, undetected air leaks in doors, windows or other accessible areas of your home can allow water, moisture and additional spores to enter the home. Therefore, it is important to limit any leaks that may allow water or mold spores to enter the home.
Especially after the cold and harsh winter months, summer is a great time to locate any damage that may have occurred to your home and fix leaks before they become a larger problem. If you aren’t sure how to determine if you’ve experienced water damage or currently have a leak in your home, the expert team at InchByInch Inspections can assist with identifying areas of your home that are facilitating mold growth. Even if your home is devoid of any leaks, it’s still important to take steps to prevent mold growth during this hot and humid summer. The best course of action you can take to avoid mold growth in Toronto is to use a dehumidifier, reduce water exposure through any leaks or in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens, and ensure that windows and doors are sealed tightly from the outside.
Do air conditioners help with mold and humidity?
In theory, you might imagine that air conditioning units can help limit mold growth by reducing the temperature inside your home. Unfortunately, most air conditioning systems cannot effectively remove moisture from the air during humid weather because they cannot cope with the high concentration of water vapour. Air conditioners work to reduce heat and moisture in the air in order to reduce temperature, however the technology must work harder as humidity increases, often resulting in more moisture remaining in the air than intended. This can both reduce the comfort of your home during the summer and facilitate mold growth. You can determine if this is occurring in your home if the air feels clammy or sticky, if you see fog on your windows, or if you notice a musty odour (usually the result of mold growth). The best solution to reduce the amount of work your air conditioner needs to do to minimize air humidity is to use a dehumidifier during the summer months. This will allow the air conditioner to more efficiently cool the home, and for moisture in the air to be minimized. If you are frequently emptying the collection tray of your dehumidifying device, you should be able to minimize mold growth in the home.
Unfortunately, another issue that can arise with an overworked air conditioning unit in the summer is that mold can accumulate within the unit and circulate spores through the home via the fan. Especially in portable or window air conditioning units that go unused for most of the year, mold can grow within the unit while it is sitting in storage, remaining undetected until the device is switched on. If you suspect you may have mold in your air conditioning unit, there are steps you can take to remove the contamination before it affects the air quality of your home. You can either inspect and clean the unit yourself, or we recommend having a professional expert from our team examine your unit for signs of mold growth. Professional technicians are experienced in removing mold, and DIY cleaning jobs often result in mold remaining in the unit and continuing to grow over time.
Another important consideration during the summer months is that turning your air conditioner on and off for long periods of time can also help facilitate mold growth. Even though many people are tempted to turn off their air conditioner while they are away on vacation, this can allow mold to grow in the unit and the home in your absence. Instead, we recommend setting your air conditioner to a higher than normal temperature, but still leaving it on to cool your home in your absence. This way, the AC will continue to turn on when the temperature gets too warm and cycle air through the unit to reduce mold growth.
How do you know if mold is making you and your family sick?
There are many ways to determine if mold is making you and your family sick. Symptoms associated with mold exposure will depend on the length of exposure time and if you or any of your family members have a mold allergy. In general, symptoms can include prolonged flu-like symptoms, difficulty breathing, headaches, sore throat, asthma attacks or frequent respiratory-tract infections. If you notice you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and if they get better when you leave your home, you are likely being exposed to mold. This is especially important if you have young children or elderly family members in your home, as mold exposure is worse for vulnerable populations. Mold growth in Toronto is common, and if you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek professional help.
Can I clean up mold myself? What are the best products to use?
It is possible to clean up mold using products available on the market such as bleach, borax, vinegar or ammonia. However, these products are only effective at cleaning mold on hard surfaces and are ineffective on porous or fibrous materials such as wood, drywall, carpet or other fabrics. You may read online that it can be more effective to lightly rinse surfaces treated with these chemicals in order to allow them to continue fighting mold, however exposure to these chemicals can harm children and pets overtime. Surface cleaners are also ineffective against hidden mold or airborne spores. We therefore recommend hiring a professional to remove mold contamination in your home. Professionals have access to chemicals which are more effective at removing mold, while still being safe for your family and pets. If you suspect you have mold and want to get it professionally removed, contact the team at InchByInch Inspections to help permanently remove your contamination.
Overall, mold growth can be a dangerous problem for both the structural integrity of your home and your family’s health. As the heat and humidity of the summer can contribute to mold growth in Toronto, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to identify and remove any contamination before it can cause long-lasting damage. Mold removal is not a DIY job, and it’s important to seek professional help to ensure the contamination is properly removed. In order to guarantee the safety and quality of the air in your home, a complete mold inspection and air quality testing by a professional is necessary. With professional cleaning you can then ensure the mold growth is dealt with appropriately the first time you notice contamination. The expert technicians at InchByInch Inspections are qualified to handle all your needs related to mold growth in Toronto. If you have questions or are concerned about the air quality of your home, our trusted and experienced team of technicians can help restore your peace of mind. Your home should be a safe and healthy place for your family, and the team at InchByInch Inspections can help ensure you are mold free. Contact us at 416-826-7172 today to get started on identifying and removing any mold contamination in your home.