Mold – Growth, Causes & Ventilation

Mold – Growth, Causes & Ventilation

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Mold is a type of fungus that consists of small organisms found almost everywhere. Mold can be black, white, orange, green, or purple. When mold is growing on a surface, spores can be released into the air where they can be easily inhaled. These spores in small amounts may not be harmful, however as the spores grow, mold can create rather large health issues.

What Mold Needs to Grow

Mold needs these conditions before it can begin to grow in a home:

  • Moisture (eg water leaks, humidity)
  • A food source (eg wood, drywall, cotton)
  • Darkness (mold can’t grow under ultraviolet light)
  • Warmth (mold can’t grow in freezing temperatures)
  • Oxygen
  • Time (most molds can begin to grow in 24-48 hours if the conditions are right)

Moisture is the key cause of mold growth since the other conditions on the list are always present in homes. Making sure proper moisture levels are maintained in your home will protect you from mold damage. Maintaining proper moisture levels may require a dehumidifier running in certain areas, or having an attic properly ventilated.

Humidity Causes Mold

If the weather’s been very humid for a few days in a row you might notice mold starting to grow in your home. When it rains for several days it’s especially common to see mold start to grow on walls, benches and other surfaces because of the wet air. If you live where humidity in the air is naturally high, like by the coast or another large body of water, then mold growth in your home can also be a recurring problem. Also, when moisture inside your house evaporates into the air, it increases the humidity indoors. If your home isn’t well ventilated then the humidity will remain at elevated levels. Sometimes people use humidifiers in their homes. However, there are molds that only need the humidity level to be higher than 55% to start growing. So, if you need to use a humidifier in your home, make sure to keep the humidity below 55%. Not only does high humidity feed mold, but it means that puddles of water and damp materials in the home take longer to dry out. These wet surfaces can in turn create mold growth of their own.

Leaking Pipes Cause Mold

Water leaks from pipes are a common cause of mold growth. The worst leaks are the ones that go undetected because they are hidden out of view, like inside a wall. By the time you discover these leaks, mold has usually started to grow already.

Leaks in Roof Cause Mold

Like some leaking pipes, a roof that leaks into the attic might not be discovered until it’s already lead to mold growth. The best thing to do is to check the attic regularly for leaks and keep an eye on the ceiling below the attic. If you notice any signs of water damage on the ceiling or any mold that has grown through, then you probably have a leaking roof and it’s time to call a professional!

Poor Ventilation

If your home is poorly ventilated it can create pockets of stagnant moist air which mold thrives in. Steam and water evaporating into the air creates humidity inside which then needs to be circulated outdoors through windows to keep the moisture levels balanced. When your home is overly humid or has poor ventilation wet surfaces dry out more slowly. Ventilation is especially important in rooms such as the bathroom and the kitchen where there is a lot of moisture and steam.

Mold Can Grow on Wet Clothes and Fabrics

If you leave clothes wet for a long period of time in your house mold can grow on them as well as on other surfaces due to the moisture wet clothes release into your home. Damp clothes left in a pile waiting to be washed for more than a day can lead to mold growth. Clothes left wet for over a day after being washed may start to have a smell, known as mildew; which is the beginning growth of fungus. You will notice a smell that has formed and may take special treatment to remove from the fabric.

Sources:
https://yourmoldsolutions.com/blog/poor-ventilation-causes-mold-growth/
https://moldpedia.com/

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