Q: What Makes Mold Grow In My Home?
A: Tiny particles of molds are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air and are very common in buildings and homes. Indoors, mold growth can be found where humidity levels are high. Molds produce microscopic cells called “spores” that are spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold colonies when they find the right conditions.
So what are the “right conditions”? It’s basically common sense. Mold only needs a few things to grow and multiply:
1. Nutrients (food) – wood studs, plywood sheathing, drywall, carpet, air conditioning duct etc.
2. A Suitable Place to Grow – attics, crawlspaces, wall and floor cavities, homes, schools, offices, etc.
3. Moisture – damp, high humidity, poorly ventilated environments, etc.
Many building materials (such as wood, sheetrock, etc.) provide food that can support mold growth. Even microscopic dust particles that have settled throughout the home can supply an adequate food source for mold to grow and multiply. Molds can grow almost anywhere there is enough moisture or high humidity. These conditions are prevalent in the very humid tropical and sub-tropical climate here in Florida. Because all molds require water to grow, controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth. Moisture can come from any number of different sources:
-Flooding from the outside (storm water, overflowing lakes, streams, storm surge, etc.)
-Flooding from the indoor (overflow from sinks, tubs, toilets, air conditioner drain pans or sewerage -systems)
-Condensation (caused by indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold)
-Water leaks from outside the building (roof, walls, floors)
-Indoor plumbing leaks or broken water pipes
-Outdoor sprinkler spray hitting the walls, or indoor fire sprinklers
-Poor venting of kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from shower or cooking)
-Drying wet clothes indoors, or improperly installed or leaking dryer vents
-House plants (over watering, etc.)
-Moisture from our bodies (sweat, wet hair on pillows, breath)
-Warm, moist air from outdoors
Since we can’t control the first two of the three required factors for mold growth (food source and suitable place to grow), the only way for us to adequately battle mold growth in our homes is to control or eliminate the third factor: moisture. The easiest way to prevent the mold from gaining a foothold is to control dampness. Keep your home clean and dry. When water stands for even 24 hours, common molds can take hold. Keeping humidity levels below 60% and venting moisture from showering and cooking to the outside are several ways to prevent the conditions that can lead to mold growth. Other ways include:
-Clean and dry up spills within 24 hours
-Dry out wet building materials and carpets within 24 hours
-Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier to reduce the indoor humidity levels below 60%. If you have a central air conditioning system and need a dehumidifier to reduce relative humidity below 60%, you should have the air conditioning system examined for problems
-Do not carpet bathrooms or basements
We recommend Mr Dry Out for any mold problems.