Dealing with Mold in a South Florida Winter Home
When temperatures begin to cool up and down the east coast, many people, or “snowbirds”, begin to return to states like Florida for the winter. It’s no surprise that these homeowners are likened to a snowbird as the warmer weather is the main attraction to move south during the winter months. But with warm, humid weather practically year-round, the escape from frigid temperatures can also bring its own set of issues. It is not uncommon for snowbirds to discover their winter home has been infested with mold.
A home that has been vacant and unattended to for months in some cases, is the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Many factors contribute to mold found in a winter home including:
1. Hot and stormy summer months
Summers in South Florida are filled with lots of rain and humidity, especially when a Tropical Storm or Hurricane hits the area. This can lead to damage or leaks, allowing water to find its way into a vacant home with no attention to it until the owner’s return.
2. Additional moisture found in ocean and lake-front homes
Homes by any large body of water, especially those that tend to have a more swampy, humid environment like a lake, are much more susceptible to additional moisture and water damage.
3. Lack of air circulation
Many homeowners may choose not to run their HVAC systems as not to incur any electricity bill charges. No air flow combined with drawn shades, humidity, and raised interior temperatures, mold has the perfect playground to run rampant.
When returning to a winter home, any owner should be diligent in inspecting for mold or other damages and aware of what these signs may be:
1. Visible mold growth
Some mold may present itself on surfaces and is clearly seen. Though it is always best to have a mold specialist perform actual tests as mildew can often be mistaken for mold.
2. Unpleasant Odors
If the home has an earth-like or musty smell that does not clear, this may be an indication that mold is present.
3. Moist, humid feeling
If upon stepping inside the home, the interior feels humid or almost wet, there is unwanted moisture somewhere either from a leak or stagnant air. Since it can be hard to tell how long the air has been in this state, it is always safe to suspect mold and call for testing.
4. Leaks, flooding, or other water-related damages
If there are any leaks from any appliances or plumbing, broken seals on windows or doors, or any kind of flooding or wet material, water has found its way into the home and has likely sat for some time. Mold takes only 24-48 hours to begin colonizing so calling out a water damage expert as well as a mold specialist is highly recommended.
Discovering a mold infestation is not the ideal warm welcome back. If a home is experiencing the usual signs of mold, it is better to deal with mold testing and mold damage remediation right away. Enjoying the winter in sunny South Florida is more enjoyable without mold in your home.