What is Indoor Mold?
Molds are types of fungi. They grow in the natural environment. Tiny particles of molds are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air.
In nature, molds help break down dead materials, and can be found growing on soil, foods, plants and other items.
Molds are also very common in buildings and homes. Mold needs moisture to grow.
Indoors, mold growth can be found where humidity levels are high, like basements and showers. Molds produce microscopic cellscalledâ€œsporesâ€ that are spread easily through the air. Spores can also be spread by water and insects where humidity levels are high, like basements and showers.
Molds produce microscopic cells called â€œsporesâ€ that are spread easily through the air. Spores can also be spread by water, insects and where humidity levels are high, like basements and showers. Live spores act like seeds. They form new mold colonies when they find the right conditions.
What makes indoor mold grow?
Mold only needs a few things to grow and multiply:
- Nutrients (food)
- A suitable place to grow
Many building materials (such as wood, sheetrock, etc.) provide food that can support mold growth. Even dust that has settled on these materials or furniture can be a food source for molds. Molds can grow almost anywhere there is enough moisture or high humidity. Controlling moisture is the key to stopping indoor mold growth, because all molds require water to grow. Moisture can come from:
- Flooding from the outside (storm water, overflowing lakes, streams, storm surge, etc.)
- Flooding from the indoor (overflow from sinks, tubs, toilets, air conditioner drain pans orsewerage systems)
- Condensation (caused by indoor humidity that is too high or surfaces that are too cold)
- Water leaks from outside the building (roof, walls, floors)
- Indoor plumbing leaks or broken water pipes
- Outdoor sprinkler spray hitting the walls, or indoor fire sprinklers
- Poor venting of kitchen and bathroom moisture (steam from shower or cooking)
- Humidifier use
- Drying wet clothes indoors, or not venting clothes dryers outdoors (including electric dryers
- House plants (over watering, etc.)
- Moisture from our bodies (sweat, wet hair on pillows, breath)
- Warm, moist air from outdoors
- Liquid spills
Should I be worried about indoor mold?
Yes and no. On the one hand, there will always be mold in your home in the form of spores and pieces of mold cells. The presence of mold in the air is normal.
On the other hand, one should not let mold grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, your level of exposure can increase, thereby increasing the risk of potential health problems.
Building materials, household goods and furnishings may also be damaged. Mold needs to eat to survive, and itâ€™s perfectly happy eating your home if you allow it.
What health problems can be caused by mold?
There are four kinds of health problems that come from exposure to mold: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and toxic effects.
For people that are sensitive to molds, mold symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, wheezing, skin rashes or burning, watery or reddened eyes may occur.
People with severe allergies to molds may have more serious reactions, such as hay-fever-like symptoms or shortness of breath.
People with chronic illnesses or people with immune system problems may be more likely to get infections from certain molds, viruses and bacteria.
Molds can also trigger asthma attacks in persons with asthma. Headaches, memory problems, mood swings, nosebleeds and body aches and pains are also reported in mold complaints.