Molds are a fungus and a natural part of our environment. There are over 100,000 identified species of mold, although estimates of the true number of molds range from three to five times that. Mold reproduces by way of spores that are invisible to the naked eye. Spores travel through the air and land on surfaces where they wait until conditions are right for growth. In order to grow, mold needs three things: an organic food source, oxygen, and water.
Control Moisture and Control Mold
Because organic materials and oxygen are found virtually everywhere in the environment, the key to controlling mold growth is controlling moisture.
- Act quickly when you have leaks and spills. Even a seemingly small amount of water can travel quickly to hidden areas of a home such as behind baseboards and under flooring. Mold typically takes 48-72 hours to begin growing, so quick mitigation is imperative.
- Maintain air conditioners keeping drip pans clean and drain lines clear.
- Maintain roof, gutters, and siding to prevent leaks within the attic and walls of your home that will go undetected for long periods of time.
- Keep indoor humidity below sixty percent if possible.
- Ensuring your property is graded properly, sloping away from the foundation, so water doesn’t enter through the crawlspace or basement.
- DO NOT ignore undetermined sources of water, even if they seem small. If you notice condensation or small puddles or drips anywhere in your home, locate the source immediately to avoid further damage.
Common Sources of Hidden Moisture and Mold
Moisture and mold can be difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you suspect you have a mold issue, but you aren’t sure where to begin, start by looking in some of these common places. Keep in mind, though, that mold spreads through spores, so refrain from disturbing suspected areas as much as possible, and avoid the temptation of DIY mold remediation.
Roof leaks and condensation commonly go undetected for long periods of time in attics because people rarely enter their attics. When the leak finally is discovered, extensive mold damage within the attic usually accompanies it.
- Window Sills
Window sills are an often overlooked source of mold. Dirt and dust accumulates in the crevices and grooves of the sill, providing mold an optimal food supply. Windows are common sources of moisture through condensation, making them a prime location for mold to grow.
Household appliances are very common sources of hidden and undetected water leaks. Drip pans and supply lines are hidden underneath or behind the appliances, making them easy to forget about. Additionally, there’s a lack of airflow under and behind the appliances, so a small amount of moisture can cause major problems.
Very old wallpaper is notorious for hiding mold. The paper hides and traps moisture more easily than paint and drywall, allowing the water to go undetected and mold to proliferate unseen. If you suspect you have mold behind your wallpaper, DO NOT REMOVE THE WALLPAPER YOURSELF. Mold remediation requires appropriate containment. Pulling down wallpaper that has hidden mold behind it without the proper containment set up will send mold spores soaring throughout your home and causing even more damage before mold removal can behind.
- Duct Work
Hidden mold in ductwork is typically caused by condensation within the ducts. Duct work harbors a lot of dirt and dust, so the introduction of moisture will inevitably cause mold growth if it goes unaddressed. This can be particularly harmful to a household because the mold spores will be dispersed throughout the home every time the heat or air conditioning is turned on.
- Plumbing Leaks
Unnoticed plumbing leaks are often a source for a buildup of moisture. Loose fittings or pinhole leaks can cause water seepage that might go unnoticed for a long time before the effects become apparent, resulting in mold growth. Contaminants in the water also provide organic material that mold can feed on, so these types of water leaks offer mold a rich environment.
While mold is found virtually everywhere and is a natural part of our environment, we don’t have to allow it to take over our homes. Keeping track of and eliminating hidden sources of moisture will and trusting mold remediation to professional remediation teams will ensure your home stays safe and healthy.
Quantum Restoration Services offers many levels of mold remediation services, from indoor air quality testing using our Instascope instant mold detection and infrared thermal inspection to tracking down the source of hidden moisture using both pin and pin-less moisture meters. Once the source of the moisture is mitigated, we'll thoroughly contain the mold-affected area and complete the mold remediation process. Please contact us today to schedule a mold assessment at your property.