How does Mold Grow in a House?

February 28, 2013

How does mold grow in a house?

Uncontrolled water, moisture and humidity can allow mold to take a foothold in your home. Mold is a fungus that reproduces by creating small spores that work like seeds. Every home has mold spores of all kinds in the air, black mold, stachybotrys chartrum, and penicillium to name a few.

penicillium mold

The 3 most common places in the home to find mold

The most common places that people discover mold in their homes are:

  1. The attic. The attic gets moisture from nail pops on the roof and roof leaks. The attic can also retain moisture if not properly ventilated. Because mold in the attic can spread quickly it is important for you to check the attic on a regular basis.
  2. The bathroom. The bathroom has moisture in it from the sink, toilet, tub and shower.You should have an exhaust fan in the bathroom that vents directly to the outside not into the attic. If you don’t have an exhaust fan you should open the window when engaging in activities that produce moisture.
  3. The basement. The basement can get moisture through the foundation in the form of actual water leaking or water vapor. In the Summer humidity from the warm air is also a concern because the cool basement floor and walls attract moisture.

Mold needs food and water just like people

So you already have mold spores in the air, how do you get the mold to grow? Is it just from the moisture? The answer is no; mold needs two things to grow; moisture and dead organic matter.

The moisture and/or water part is easy, but what about dead organic matter? What does that mean? Think about strawberries for a moment. Strawberries are definitely organic matter and when they are alive on the vine there is no mold present. But, as anyone who has left strawberries in the refrigerator for a few days too long can attest, dead strawberries get moldy pretty quick. Mold gets its nourishment from eating dead organic matter. You should not store mold food like paper, cardboard, books, etc. in a humid area like the bathroom or basement.

After a leak occurs, react quickly to prevent mold growth

black mold

Whatever caused the water or excess humidity that can create mold growth must be corrected to prevent mold from occurring. If you had a leak of some kind and fixed that is good, but what about the moisture and humidity that the water left behind? The residual effects of the water intrusion, such as wet carpeting and water soaked moldings are having all this humidity releasing in your homes’ indoor atmosphere. This is now the perfect environment for growing mold.

Not everything that got wet is yet dry. What do you do about all the moisture that still remains? Run the dehumidifier? Natural enemies to mold growth are sunlight and ventilation. While it may be impossible to bring direct sunlight to certain areas of your home like the basement, crawl space and attic you can increase ventilation. Ventilate your home through the use of a high quality ventilation system such as the E-Z Breathe.

The E-Z Breathe Ventilation System works 12 months a year and not just in the warmest months. This whole house ventilation system is a device that expels the dampest, most humid & contaminated air from your basement to the outside. It replaces the air in the basement with fresher air from the upper floors four to six times per day automatically with no bucket to empty or filter to replace.

Posted by mold, basement, Mold Solutions, E-Z Breathe, black mold, mold testing

Doug Lynch

Written by Doug Lynch

Doug Lynch, of Westfield, NJ is a Certified Waterproofing Specialist, Certified Mold Inspector, Certified Mold Remediation Expert, EPA Indoor AirPlus Ally, EPA Lead Safe Certified as well as member of Indoor Air Quality Association, Basement Health Association, North Central Jersey Association of Realtors, Coldwell Banker Concierge Services.

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