Mold spores are everywhere, and they only need a moist surface on which to settle and grow. Mold thrives and multiplies when the environment supplies moisture, nourishment, and warmth. Many people think that since mold is a living organism, taking away its life source (water) will solve the problem. But can mold be killed by drying it out? Contrary to the common belief, it’s not that simple.
Mold that infests your home or place of business is often related to ambient moisture. This could be from something like high humidity, a leaking pipe, or a damp basement crawl space. There are also less conspicuous forms of moisture, such as condensation inside of walls around cold water pipes, or cracks in the foundation behind the walls of a finished basement. Even something as seemingly minor as a loose gutter or a roof leak that pools up in your attic can create a prime environment for mold to grow.
If left unchecked, mold can eventually become a very costly and even a hazardous problem. As time goes on mold spores can gradually start to damage wall boards, they can also discolor tiles, gradually degrade carpeting, damage window frames and even cause a structural problem in your home.
The Germination Process
Mold can also grow on damp materials or rooms with poor ventilation since there is no free circulation of air. When mold spores settle on a moist surface, they begin to absorb nutrients in their immediate environment, which allows them to grow. They can multiply by the millions, making them not only visible in the large numbers, but also potentially hazardous. Preferred mold nutrients include wood, paper, fabric or anything containing cellulose, a substance found on the cell walls of plant-based materials. In order to devour these nutrients, mold spores must undergo chemical reactions that release volatile organic compounds, vaporous gases, and in some cases toxins into the air. Mold will feed on anything at all with cellulose in it, and unfortunately, there’s cellulose in almost everything, your carpets, your clothing and other fabric, wood, you just name it. This is one reason why mold is plentiful in basements. Basements are moist, and also full of old junk like ruined clothes and ancient carpets.
- Use the range hood any time you cook
- Use the bathroom vent when you shower or take a bath
- Make sure that wet clothing is laundered as soon as possible
- Use a dehumidifier rated for the appropriate square footage of your house
If the relative humidity indoors is maintained below 60 percent, and there are no condensing surfaces, then there will not be enough moisture for mold to grow. It effectively renders them harmless. However, cutting off any sources of moisture may dry out mold and prevent it from multiplying but they do not die. Mold spores simply become dormant.
What Happens to Dormant Mold?
Once mold spores dry out, they are temporarily dormant. Some types of mold spores can stay in their passive state for several years under the right circumstances. They will remain a threat as long as they are present in the environment. Dry mold spores can easily become airborne when blown around with the air circulating in and out of the house. Once they become airborne, they can move from one place to another and may end up settling in an area with all the necessary conditions for their growth. If mold becomes a problem, it’s not enough to reduce moisture. The best way to get rid of recurring mold is to eliminate any contaminated materials and perform a remediation procedure to ensure they never grow back.
Mold Removal Is Necessary
Whether mold growth is occurs due to high humidity or as a result of a water damage incident, removal of any visible mold is imperative for the health and safety of you and your loved ones. The safest way to do this is to call a mold remediation specialist. Successful mold remediation is not a one-step solution. It includes standardized mold prevention methods like air sampling to detect the presence of spores and proven techniques to locate and remove mold growth and sterilize affected surfaces. It requires multifaceted treatment to ensure comprehensive decontamination. All mold growth must be identified and physically removed from wherever it exists in the house. No existing mold, active or inactive, can be left behind, as any remaining growth may likely reactivate at some later point under certain conditions. After removal, areas of contamination must be directly treated with EPA-approved fungicides to sterilize surfaces and prevent regrowth.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to save your home, there is a solution. The certified restoration experts at Xtreme Home Improvement will inspect your property and develop a remediation strategy. Count on us for water damage cleanup, drying services, mold growth evaluation, damage containment, mold removal, and mold damage mitigation.