Melting Snow and Ice May Bring Mold Problems

Annual winter storms not only bring out the shovels, but they also create situations that could cause indoor environmental concerns.

Winter began officially only a few weeks ago, but already the Chicago area and the rest of Illinois have been hit with several snow storms. These annual winter storms not only bring out the shovels, but they also create situations that could cause indoor environmental concerns.

When the snowfall is over the problems are just beginning for some people. Ice damming during winter’s freeze-and-thaw cycles can be a huge problem. When the sun or warm weather begins to melt the snow and ice, the resulting water on roofs has no place to go if the gutters are frozen solid or obstructed. This often results in water flowing over a property’s siding, seeping into cracks, or simply leaching through the roofing material.

These conditions have roofers working overtime to help people with leaking properties. Unfortunately this same moisture not only means water damage and staining, but also potential microbial growth. Mold thrives in warm, moist environments, and that is what many homeowners may find on and in their walls and ceilings. Often this occurs in wall and ceiling cavities that are out of sight. The moisture can lead to mold growth in as short as 24 hours.

 “We see cases of water damage leading to mold and IAQ problems every winter in Illinois and Chicago,” reported Ed Chambers, president of EC2, an environmental consulting and investigation company. “It’s important that property owners, managers, and tenants look for any signs of ice damming and water damage from ice dams during the winter and early spring months. If caught quickly, the situation can be fixed before mold begins to grow and cause health concerns.”

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