As snow begins to melt, it can quickly reveal areas in your home that allow moisture to seep in or form. Unchecked, these dampened areas can become a breeding ground for mold. As you know, mold can cause strong odors, surface decay and, at worst, physical health problems. Fortunately, protecting yourself and your Chicago home is as easy as following a few simple preventative measures and being observant of moisture levels in your home.
First, be on the lookout for condensation. Check window sills, ceilings, door frames, ventilation areas, under the sink and along toilets and tubs. Even if you don’t see dampness at the time, look for signs that it’s been a problem, such as brown stains and warped surfaces.
Second, if you find a problem area, fix it fast. Solutions are generally pretty simple, but don’t be afraid to call a professional for more serious leaks. If you find moisture around door frames, tubs or toilets, it may be time to touch up your caulking – an easy and inexpensive fix. If ceilings show signs of small or slow leaks, it could be time to clean the gutters (a cinch when leaves and other debris are wet).
If you find condensation near window sills or ventilation systems, it’s very possible that the indoor humidity is too high. While this is less common during winter months, when interior spaces tend to be drier due to heaters, it can be quickly remedied with a store-bought dehumidifier or by simply placing a fan in the area.
Third, stay one step ahead with preventative measures. Here’s a simple checklist to consider:
1) Keep roof gutters clean
2) Cover cold surfaces with insulation
3) Increase ventilation in areas prone to moisture or condensation
4) Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen
5) Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent.
To help control interior humidity, you should also ensure that doors and windows are well-sealed. Drafty areas are another quick catch during winter months, as most people are quick to notice a spot that allows cold Chicago winds inside. If this is a problem in your home, simply invest in some indoor weather stripping. This simple insulation will keep your home warmer through winter’s end and keep it cooler come summer.
Follow these simple steps before you say goodbye to winter and you’ll go far toward keeping your home comfortable, clean and mold-free.