Once you discover, or suspect, that mold is growing in your home you may wonder how and why it got there. Does it mean your home is substandard? Did you do something to cause the problem? Was there anything you could have done to prevent it? What do you do now?
Does Mold Discriminate? Are We Dirty?
Mold doesn’t care how much your home costs and whether it’s old or new. While mold may be quite prevalent in older or substandard housing due to leaks and older materials, under the right circumstances it can also be found in newer and upscale homes. It simply takes the right formula of moisture, nutrients, and temperature. Moisture and nutrients are available in almost all indoor environments. It just takes a mold spore landing in the right spot for a problem to start.
How Did It Get Here?
Mold travels very easily. It can be brought into your home on building materials, clothing, and even pets. And, since mold spores are airborne, they can also enter through windows, doors, and cracks. Virtually every building has some fungi existing on its surfaces somewhere. However, the fungi cannot grow and spread without the presence of the necessary moisture, temperature, and nutrients.
What Caused It To Grow?
For mold to grow, there must be excess moisture of some type. This can be in the form of standing water, condensation, humidity and steam. Materials that retain moisture, such as wood and paper products, are likely to be more problematic since the moisture can remain for longer periods of time. Surfaces that have been exposed to moisture should be cleaned and dried within 24-48 hours to discourage mold growth.
Mold also requires nutrients (food source) to grow. Materials such as wood, paper, and fabrics supply plenty of nutrients. However, simple household dust contains adequate biological particles (such as dead human skin) to provide nutrients alone. Outside of sanitary clean-room type environments, most indoor areas can easily support mold growth with available nutrients.
Temperature is also a factor of mold growth, but a range of normal indoor air temperatures are conducive to mold growth.