What home­own­ers need to know about mold and win­dows

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What’s grow­ing on your win­dows? If you have wood win­dows, or even dirty win­dow sills, the an­swer could be mold.

“As long as it has an or­ganic food source such as wood, card­board or pa­per, mold can grow in any lo­ca­tion,” says John Stark, mar­ket­ing man­ager for Si­mon­ton Win­dows. “The key is the or­ganic food source. When prod­ucts in the home, such as wood win­dow frames or wood win­dow sills, come in con­tact with mois­ture for an ex­tended pe­riod of time, then mold can grow.”

Ac­cord­ing to The Mold Ser­vices Group, a di­vi­sion of GHH Engineering, Inc., vinyl is not an or­ganic food source, so mold can­not grow on vinyl win­dow frames.

How­ever, if even tiny par­ti­cles of or­ganic de­bris are found on or around the sur­faces of a vinyl win­dow in a mois­ture-rich area, home­own­ers can po­ten­tially find mold growth. What makes up this de­bris? It can be any­thing from mi­cro­scopic frag­ments of pollen to an­i­mal dan­der to in­sect pieces to nor­mal house­hold dust.

“Rou­tinely clean­ing vinyl win­dow sills and sur­faces helps elim­i­nate the re­mote pos- sibil­ity of mold grow­ing on vinyl win­dows,” says Stark. “By re­mov­ing or­ganic de­bris, such as dust and dirt, you will help keep your vinyl win­dows free of mold spores.”

Sweaty Win­dows

Stark re­ports that, in or­der to keep ar­eas around win­dows mois­ture-free to pre­vent po­ten­tial mold growth, home­own­ers should watch for --- and take steps to min­i­mize --con­den­sa­tion.

“Peo­ple some­times see their win­dows ‘sweat’ dur­ing the win­ter or sum­mer months be­cause of vary­ing hu­mid­ity lev­els in the home,” says Stark. “With­out proper ven­ti­la­tion, mois­ture can ac­cu­mu­late on win­dows and walls from daily house­hold ac­tiv­i­ties such as hot show­ers, boil­ing wa­ter and open­ing dish­wash­ers af­ter a clean­ing cy­cle.”

This mi­nor ac­cu­mu­la­tion of mois­ture or steam gen­er­ally isn’t a cause for con­cern, and us­ing ven­ti­la­tion fans and de­hu­mid­i­fiers can help re­duce hu­mid­ity in the home.

“Win­dows are a ma­jor com­po­nent in a

home that im­pact other things around them,” says Stark. “They even­tu­ally need to be re­placed. If win­dows have ma­jor air leaks, don’t close prop­erly, or are fail­ing to act as a solid bar­rier to the en­vi­ron­ment, then it’s time to con­sider re­plac­ing them with new en­er­gy­ef­fi­cient vinyl win­dows.”

Re­duc­ing the Chance of Mold

The Florida So­lar En­ergy Center re­ports that mois­ture lev­els in the home are one of the eas­i­est el­e­ments to al­ter so that mold will not grow in a house. Since peo­ple pre­fer hu­mid­ity lev­els that are gen­er­ally be­low the crit­i­cal rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity for mold growth to oc­cur, the sim­ple acts of us­ing ceil­ing fans, re­duc­ing the num­ber of house plants in a home and leav­ing in­te­rior room (and closet) doors open can all help re­duce mois­ture lev­els through­out the home.

Stark ad­vises that home­own­ers with plan­ta­tion style blinds or heavy win­dow coverings that are closed all the time should change their habits. Con­den­sa­tion can get “trapped” in be­tween the win­dow treat­ments and the win­dows cre­at­ing a damp en­vi­ron­ment that may en­cour­age mold growth.

“By rou­tinely open­ing win­dow coverings to in­crease ven­ti­la­tion near win­dows home­own­ers will help re­duce both con­den­sa­tion and po­ten­tial mold growth,” says Stark. “Another smart tip is to make sure that air vent de­flec­tors are placed on floor vents to reroute air into the room rather than straight up against a win­dow.

“Vinyl win­dows are a smart, durable choice for the home. How­ever home­own­ers have to do their part too. Keep­ing the home well ven­ti­lated and clean dur­ing all sea­sons of the year makes it easy for vinyl win­dows to re­main the most ef­fort­less and re­li­able win­dows imag­in­able in the home.”

HOME IM­PROVE­MENT TIME PHOTO

With­out proper ven­ti­la­tion, mois­ture can ac­cu­mu­late on win­dows and walls from daily house­hold ac­tiv­i­ties such as hot show­ers, boil­ing wa­ter and open­ing dish­wash­ers af­ter a clean­ing cy­cle.

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