What Causes Mold in the House?
Whether you want to defend your home against mold or scrub it free of existing buildup, you probably want to know how it managed to grow there in the first place. Like other organisms, mold needs a particular habitat in which to grow and flourish. These spots tend to develop over time as a result of specific issues in the home. Thankfully, many of these are relatively easy to spot, and they can be patched up in a jiffy with some professional elbow grease.
What Is Mold?
Unless you’re a high school biology teacher, you may need a quick refresher on what mold actually is and how it grows.
Mold is defined by the EPA as “a natural part of the environment [that] can be found almost anywhere that moisture and oxygen are present. They belong to the kingdom Fungi and live in moist places such as soil, plants and dead or decaying matter.” And, according to the CDC, “The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus.”
Basically, molds are a type of fungus that can grow just about anywhere. Unfortunately for us, mold often turns up in places where we least want it to live: kitchens, bathrooms, and other spaces where we live a big chunk of our lives.
What Causes Mold in the Home?
So, that’s what mold is and where it grows. But how does it grow? What causes mold to grow in the home? Generally speaking, mold just needs a humid environment to grow. This means that all it requires, to re-quote the EPA, is “moisture and oxygen”. Of course, this is present almost everywhere, so it’s easy to see why mold is so pervasive in our homes.
That said, though, mold actually needs a third ingredient: time. Mold doesn’t tend to develop and grow unless left alone for an extended period of time. Because of this, we can often stop mold from developing before it even gets started.
The problem, of course, is that people don’t always do this. Homeowners have busy lives with important things going on all the time. And it’s only getting busier by the day! As a result, simple problems can grow over time into a big mold issue.
So, again, what causes mold in the home? There are five main culprits to creating the perfect environment for mold in your house:
- Ventilation Issues
- Damp Basement or Crawl Space
- Heavy Rain or Flooding
Any one of these can be enough to cause a mold situation to develop over time. To check for mold in your home, you can do a few things.
First, check the humidity in your home, especially in areas like the basement, attic, or crawl space that might not be visited regularly. If they’re outside the normal range, consider getting a dehumidifier to make the space less hospitable to mold and mildew buildup.
Second, look for leaks. This isn’t as simple as checking the faucet. You’ll probably need to have someone do a physical inspection of your pipes and roofing for leaks that might create a good mold environment.
A third, related point: make sure your home ventilation and air conditioning systems are functioning properly. Poor ventilation can easily allow for a damp environment, especially in smaller, more humid areas like bathrooms. Likewise, a leaky A/C system can cause a mold buildup over time as well.
Finally, if your area has recently experienced heavy rains or flooding, then your home may be at increased risk of mold or mildew. If this is the case, then you should have a local team come in and clean up any property damage, dry the area, and do a thorough scrub to clean up any potential fungus problems.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Home
Once you’ve identified where the mold is growing in your home and determined the cause, it’s really time to get it out for good. The best way to do this is by contacting a mold expert that can safely and effectively root out the mold and mildew buildup in your house and get you back to your life.
While there are over the counter, at-home remedies for cleaning up mold, we do not recommend trying them for tough mold situations. To quote the CDC again: there is “sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people” and “asthma symptoms in people with asthma”, among other issues.
In other words, to be 100% safe, it’s recommended that you have a trained team of professional floor cleaners come in and do the job for you. That way, you can have peace of mind that the mold is completely removed from your home, and that you and your family are safe and sound.
What Causes Mold and How to Remove It
At the end of the day, if you have a consistently humid environment anywhere in your house, then your home is at increased risk of mold buildup. Once it’s started growing, mold can be dangerous to your health and that of your family and even visitors to your home.
With all that in mind, if you spot or suspect mold, give us a call at the first sign, and we’ll be over right away to fix the problem. Contact us today to find out how we can help you deal with mold and get back to living your life with peace of mind.