FAQ's About Mold
Mold is a naturally occurring microorganism that exists everywhere in our surroundings, especially in damp areas. Because of this, mold can grow in a variety of ways and cause extensive damage to your home or business. It is important that you know how mold occurs and steps you can take to prevent mold from spreading.
Here are some facts about mold according to the American Industrial Hygiene Association:
What is Mold?
The term “mold” is a everyday term for a group of filamentous fungi that are common on food or wet materials. This includes the green Penicillium species that produces penicillin, and fungi that spoil our bread, fruit, cheese and crops. There are thousands of species of mold, and they can be any color. All of us are exposed to a variety of fungal spores daily in the air we breathe, both outdoors and indoors.
How does mold get into your home?
Mold and fungal spores occur naturally outdoors. However, when moisture is present indoors, mold can grow in your home too. Common sources of excessive indoor moisture that can lead to mold problems include:
- Flooding from surface waters
- Roof leaks from damaged or missing roofing materials, ice dams or blocked gutters;
- Storm-driven rain through window frames, exterior walls or door assemblies;
- Leaking pipes, sewer back-ups or overflows;
- Damp basements or crawl spaces due to a high-water table or poorly managed rainwater drainage
- Condensation on cold surfaces.
- Elevated and prolonged humidity
How do you prevent mold growth?
The key to preventing indoor mold growth is to control excessive moisture and condensation. Keeping susceptible areas in the home clean and dry is critical. In general, mold will not grow indoors without water, dampness or excessive moisture.
Here are a few things you can do to control excess moisture from building up in your home.
- Localized sources of humidity, such as clothes dryers, should be directly vented to the outdoors
- To lower indoor humidity during warm, humid weather, air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers should be used
- Cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, should be covered with insulation to help prevent condensation
- Allow air to circulate between rooms and regularly ventilate to remove humid air. Fans should be used as needed
- Clean and repair gutters regularly
- In the case of floods or leaking pipes, any standing water should be promptly removed (may require professional help) and water-damaged materials should either be dried out and cleaned, or removed and replaced. Materials that are wet for more than 48 hours are very likely to yield mold growth.
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