Mold fungi are everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Mold plays an important role in our ecosystem as it breaks down and feeds on decaying leaves, trees, and other organic material.
Mold can present problems in homes when wet and/or damp areas allow it to settle on surfaces, and grow. Organic based materials with greater than 16% moisture content will allow for the formation of mold. This mold will then begin to feed on the organic material, breaking it down, causing decay.
The first step in controlling/eliminating mold is by correcting the source of the moisture that allowed it to form. Sometimes this is as simple as correcting a plumbing leak. Once the leak is stopped the mold will no longer have its moisture source and eventually the mold will become dormant. The mold spores however, will still be present.
Frequently Mold is found on floor framing members in crawl spaces and basements due to the available moisture in these areas. Often grading deficiencies allow the soil surrounding the foundation to become saturated. This wet soil allows moisture to permeate through porous foundation walls increasing humidity levels and creating an environment conducive to the formation of mold growth.
Health Effects of Mold
The presence of mold spores in the home can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can trigger asthma attacks and can be particularly harmful for persons whose immune systems have been compromised.
Indoor mold types that can damage your home and health include:
The effects of a particular mold species on the occupants of a home should be evaluated and advised by a medical professional.