Frozen Pipes and Winter Mould Woes

Frozen water pipes caused flooding in Toronto City Hall this past week, an unenviable issue many home owners have to deal with too. Mould can’t grow at freezing temperatures, that’s a fact. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a link between freezing water pipes and mould – when pipes burst and there’s flooding, mould is a distinct possibility.

Once water is flooding the basement, mould can grow within 24 to 48 hours if the conditions are right. It loves to eat drywall and it loves the darkness, so your basement and all those nooks and crannies where water is flowing in a flood represent the ideal breeding ground for mould spores.

The Basement Flood
The most important thing to remember when you’ve had a basement flood is to act quickly. The cold air of a basement causes the moisture to linger and also condensation of any moisture in the air, adding to the problem.

  • Rule #1: Dry out as quickly as possible. Portable fans and dehumidifiers can certainly help. If good old regular mould can grow within 48 hours, wet conditions for several days can cause the development of far worse: toxic black mould caused by the bacteria Stachybotrys chartarum.
  • Open the windows if there are any – and as long as it’s stopped raining or snowing. If the air outside is very humid, then try turning on your air conditioner and/or dehumidifier to circulate air without adding more moisture.
  • Remove as much water as you can to speed up the drying process.
  • Disconnect any electrical equipment immediately.
  • Clean up. Clean every surface and area that’s been affected.
  • Mouldy items – if you’re throwing them away, seal the bag. If there is anything you want to try and keep, freezing the item kills the mould.
  • Foundations – if there’s snow, ice and/or water and puddling building up around your home, mould could be affecting the very foundations of the building and causing mould to grow into the foundation itself. Landscaping changes and grading the yard so that water flows away from the home may be necessary. Once it’s gotten into the foundation mould can actually weaken the structure of the materials used. It’s not just an unsightly spot on the wall.

Prevention Means Maintenance
Maintaining the conditions in your basement into the future is the goal. Unless you’ve made it into a family room or office, the basement is often a neglected area used only for specific purposes and avoided the rest of the time. It’s easy to overlook the kinds of issues that can end up spreading mould spores throughout your home via your HVAC system.

  • Control humidity – this is a must at all time. Some types of mould need only 55% humidity levels to begin to develop. A dehumidifier might be called for in the humid summer months and for any extended period of rain. Drying clothing indoors can also contribute to excess humidity.
  • Ventilation – adequate ventilation will ensure that moisture doesn’t linger and turn into mould. Special areas of concern include any crawlspaces which are often entirely unventilated.
  • Exhaust fans are a good solution for real problem areas like laundry rooms where there is always going to be a certain degree of humidity.
  • Insulate those pipes so you can avoid it happening again.

Get Professional Help
You need professional help to properly clean up after the devastation of a flood. Our experienced mould removal experts offer professional, certified mould removal services to help get your living space back to normal.

In the Toronto area contact GreenStreamEnvironmental.ca at (416) 818-9414. Contact us for a mould removal quote today.

Featured in Mike Holmes’ magazine, HGTV’s Income Properties, W Network’s Love It Or List It and chosen by Homestars.com as “Best Toronto Asbestos Removal Company” based on customer ratings and reviews, GreenStream Environmental Services are fully-certified, trusted and insured professionals in the removal and disposal of commercial, industrial, institutional and residential asbestos, vermiculite and mould (hazardous and non-hazardous). Providing emergency service 24/7/365 for all of Toronto and the GTA (North York, Mississauga, Markham, Brampton, Scarborough, Ajax, Oshawa, and beyond) GreenStream has over 40 combined years of experience serving clients such as the City of Toronto, the Toronto District School Board and many more. For a free estimate in Toronto, the GTA and Southern Ontario, call today at 416-818-9414. You’ll be glad you did.