Mold. It’s unsightly, it makes your home look dirty, and worst of all, it’s dangerous to your health - it’s even been found to cause a variety of respiratory problems.
Finding mold is the first step to getting rid of it. We noted in last week’s installment of the Mold Matters series that mold can be found in your front-load washing machine – a place meant to keep your clothes clean. As we continue the series, we take a look at the windows throughout your home and why they can be a prime breeding ground for mold.
What should you do if you discover mold growing on your windows? Most importantly, get started as soon as possible to clean it up and figure out why it might be forming in the first place, because mold only gets worse over time.
Find the cause. Molds are microscopic fungi that grow easily in moist, somewhat dark conditions. Molds can develop in bathrooms, under kitchen sinks, places where water has leaked into walls or floors, or in insulation that has gotten wet. Mold can also develop on windowsills, as well as in and around window frames—this happens when the windows leak rain in from the outside, or when moisture condenses on the windows in a bathroom after a shower. If mold has developed around a window in your living room, bedroom, or basement, find out how water is getting into the frame. If mold is developing around a bathroom window, the problem may be as simple as a lack of ventilation.
Remove the window and clean or replace the frame and fix the leaks. If mold has gotten into the window frame, you will have to have the window removed and the frame cleaned or replaced. Remove all wet insulation or framing and thoroughly dry any framing that’s left in place. Then, seal up the leaks around the window and frame to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Check the roof and gutters. If you didn’t see any obvious window leaks, there’s a chance that your roof has a leak or that your gutters are backed up, which can send water down into your home and out through the window frames. Check the roof and gutters thoroughly to make sure they’re not creating the problem.
Redirect water away from your home. Basement windows may be getting wet because they are too close to the ground, and the ground gets too wet when it rains or snows—or even when someone waters the lawn. Once the window has been fixed, drain water away from the home and the downstairs windows. You can also protect your downstairs windows with a window well that can help prevent water from seeping into your windows and growing mold. Water condenses on windows especially in the winter, then drips down into window frames, where it can cause mold.
Reduce humidity and moisture in the bathroom. If bathroom windows are moldy, most likely it’s because there’s not enough ventilation. Always run the fan in the bathroom when bathing, and especially when showering. Leave a window open as well, and keep the door to the bathroom open after your shower so that there are several ways for steam to exit the room rather than condense on the windows. If your bathroom doesn’t have a ceiling fan, position a small portable fan on the floor or counter so it can circulate the air and help dry it out.
Monitor your windows. Mold is notoriously difficult to destroy. Once you’ve cleaned your windows (and we recommend having a professional eradicate the mold) and addressed the source of the problem, keep a watchful eye on your windows to make sure the mold doesn’t return. If you notice water puddling on a windowsill or condensing on the window frames, wipe them up immediately.
Mold is difficult to remove. If it isn’t done properly, it can continue to be an eye sore and cause potential health risks to you and your family. If you find mold lurking around the interior and exterior of your home windows, contact the experts at Sage Restoration. Mold isn’t something to take lightly – it DOES matter! In the next installment of our Mold Matters series, we will take a look at the opportunity for mold growth on your dishes and cutlery!