How Mold Grows in your Home
Mold occurs naturally in humid environments, and when this minuscule
fungus grows in your home the results can be dangerous. Understanding
how mold grows allows homeowners to reduce the risk and eliminate conditions
that contribute to mold growth. Being watchful and mindful are effective
methods of prevention against the spread of mold in your home.
Why Is Mold
The presence of mold can create health issues including frequent
allergic reactions, infections and breathing difficulties. If a member
of your family has a recurrent illness or condition such as asthma, mold
will likely irritate and inflame the problem, causing pain and discomfort.
Mold will also destroy material possessions, from building materials
to clothing and furniture; both organic and manmade substances are subject
to mold contamination. Plastics and vinyl can be cleaned thoroughly of
the nutrients that contribute to mold growth, while organic materials
like cloth and wood usually deteriorate when mold sets in.
How Does Mold Grow?
Mold spores are present in the air, indoors and out. When spores
land on a moist surface inside your home, mold can develop if the required
nutrients to multiply are present, and if the environment is favorable.
Mold needs three elements to grow:
- moisture – different molds require different levels of moisture
- nutrients – organic materials act as food for growth
- warmth – extreme cold kills mold spores or forces them into
Learning how mold grows and the conditions that contribute to mold growth
is vital. You cannot eliminate the spores from the air, but you can discourage
spores from establishing themselves by keeping surfaces in your home dry,
since moisture is the essential element in mold growth.
More about Moisture
Not all types of mold need standing water or excessive moisture
to grow. Some develop on the outer layer of wood, cloth or other organic
substances, provided the interior is damp and air can travel through the
material, making walls and floors an easy target. For instance, the typical
moisture present underneath flooring causes prime conditions for mold
growth; however, homeowners usually do not detect the problem until the
mold becomes obvious to the eye.
More about Nutrients
Your home is abundant in mold nutrients, at least from a spore’s
perspective. Virtually all organic materials in your home are at risk
of mold growth, depending on the temperature and the level of moisture
in the area.
Typical nutrients include:
- paper - wallpaper, books and artwork
- wood - framing, wall paneling and floors
- cloth - window treatments, upholstery and clothing
- fibers - insulation, ceiling tiles and duct systems
More about Warmth
Temperature is a significant factor in mold growth. Most molds
can thrive in common room temperature settings, while a few grow better
in intense heat. Most molds prefer temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees
Fahrenheit (or 3.4 to 37.7 degrees Celsius). Direct sunlight and other
forms of lighting discourage the growth of mold; hence, humid, dark areas
are an ideal environment.
Mold presents many dangers to your family’s health, as well as
to the condition of your home and your possessions. Protect
yourself by knowing how mold grows and avoiding the conditions that
promote its development. If you suspect or detect mold in your home, you
should take immediate action to eradicate it.