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How Mold Grows in your Home

Mold occurs naturally in humid environments, and when this minuscule fungus grows in your home the results can be dangerous. Understanding how mold grows allows homeowners to reduce the risk and eliminate conditions that contribute to mold growth. Being watchful and mindful are effective methods of prevention against the spread of mold in your home.

How Mold GrowsWhy Is Mold Dangerous?
The presence of mold can create health issues including frequent allergic reactions, infections and breathing difficulties. If a member of your family has a recurrent illness or condition such as asthma, mold will likely irritate and inflame the problem, causing pain and discomfort.

Mold will also destroy material possessions, from building materials to clothing and furniture; both organic and manmade substances are subject to mold contamination. Plastics and vinyl can be cleaned thoroughly of the nutrients that contribute to mold growth, while organic materials like cloth and wood usually deteriorate when mold sets in.

How Does Mold Grow?
Mold spores are present in the air, indoors and out. When spores land on a moist surface inside your home, mold can develop if the required nutrients to multiply are present, and if the environment is favorable.

Mold needs three elements to grow:

  • moisture – different molds require different levels of moisture
  • nutrients – organic materials act as food for growth
  • warmth – extreme cold kills mold spores or forces them into dormancy

Learning how mold grows and the conditions that contribute to mold growth is vital. You cannot eliminate the spores from the air, but you can discourage spores from establishing themselves by keeping surfaces in your home dry, since moisture is the essential element in mold growth.

More about Moisture
Not all types of mold need standing water or excessive moisture to grow. Some develop on the outer layer of wood, cloth or other organic substances, provided the interior is damp and air can travel through the material, making walls and floors an easy target. For instance, the typical moisture present underneath flooring causes prime conditions for mold growth; however, homeowners usually do not detect the problem until the mold becomes obvious to the eye.

More about Nutrients
Your home is abundant in mold nutrients, at least from a spore’s perspective. Virtually all organic materials in your home are at risk of mold growth, depending on the temperature and the level of moisture in the area.

Typical nutrients include:

  • paper - wallpaper, books and artwork
  • wood - framing, wall paneling and floors
  • cloth - window treatments, upholstery and clothing
  • fibers - insulation, ceiling tiles and duct systems

More about Warmth
Temperature is a significant factor in mold growth. Most molds can thrive in common room temperature settings, while a few grow better in intense heat. Most molds prefer temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 3.4 to 37.7 degrees Celsius). Direct sunlight and other forms of lighting discourage the growth of mold; hence, humid, dark areas are an ideal environment.

Mold presents many dangers to your family’s health, as well as to the condition of your home and your possessions. Protect yourself by knowing how mold grows and avoiding the conditions that promote its development. If you suspect or detect mold in your home, you should take immediate action to eradicate it.


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