Mold in the Home? Look at Your Windows
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
If you have been suffering from unexplained symptoms like sneezing, headaches, and itching that gets worse when you are at home, mold may be the culprit. Some people have mold in the basement or between their walls, but homeowners often forget to check a major spot for mold growth: the windows.
Old windows, in particular, are a common breeding ground for mold. Here's a closer look at why mold grows in old windows and what you can do about it.
Why Do Old Windows Get Moldy?
Mold spores are all around you. They're in the outdoor air, and most indoor air contains some mold spores too. When the spores land somewhere moist where there is also a good source of organic matter like dirt or dust, they sprout and develop mold.
Old, wooden windows are the perfect spot for mold growth because they tend to be both moist and a source of organic matter. Many old windows are leaky because the glass has begun to separate from the sash. Water seeps in when it rains, keeping the sash and sill moist. The wood itself then begins to deteriorate and becomes the perfect food source for the mold. Once the mold has set into the grooved, deteriorated wood, the mold becomes difficult to remove.
How Can You Tell if Your Windows Are Moldy?
All you have to do is look. The most common place to find mold is along the bottom window sash or sill because this is where moisture settles. However, you may also see mold along the sides of the window sashes. Keep in mind that not all mold is black. Some species are white, cream, or green, and molds can look slimy or fuzzy.
What Should You Do About Moldy Windows?
When you discover mold in your windows, you should adopt both a long-term and short-term plan for dealing with the problem.
To get rid of the mold and try to ease your allergy symptoms, start by wiping up the mold with a solution of bleach and water. The CDC recommends using a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water for maximum effectiveness. Spray the mixture into the moldy areas, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe it away with a sponge.
Also, consider installing a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels inside your home and reduce the amount of condensation that accumulates on the inside of windows. Whenever you shower or cook, run the exhaust fan to expel excess water vapor from the home.
Finally, look over each window to see if you can spot areas where air and water are leaking in. Apply caulk or rope caulk to these areas to reduce the amount of water that seeps in.
Once wooden windows start molding, keeping the mold at bay is an ongoing battle because of the porosity of the wood. To permanently get rid of the mold, the best approach is to replace your old windows.
New windows should be free from leaks, so rain water won't seep in and contribute to mold growth. Many replacement windows are now made from a wood composite material, which resists mold and mildew growth much better than natural wood. Keep your new windows clean and locked to help deter mold growth in the future.
Windows are a common source of mold growth in the home, and even a small amount of mold in your windows can lead to unpleasant symptoms and allergy attacks. If your old windows are beginning to mold and deteriorate, don't waste any time. Clean the mold up with bleach as a short-term fix, and then contact JFK Window & Door Co. to schedule a window replacement estimate.