Mold is a word that almost universally instills fear in homeowners. Fearing mold growing where you live is a valid concern. As with anything alarmist, however, there is a mix of fact and fiction about mold.
Mold in the natural environment
Since molds are seen as such a toxic, foreign contaminant, people are often surprised to learn that mold is quite natural. And, it’s quite common. In nature, mold serves a role in the environment, breaking down once living organisms such as dead trees and foliage. Mold growing indoors requires access and the right conditions.
To grow, the one condition that mold requires is a moist environment. Without moisture or water, mold cannot and will not grow. In the right conditions, mold reproduces by creating large quantities of mold spores. These spores travel when they become airborne.
We fear what we cannot see. That holds true with mold spores. As far as size goes, mold spores are very small particulates. In fact, they are invisible to the naked eye.
How and why is mold growing indoors
Floating mold spores leads us to the first stage of how mold grows indoors. To do so, it needs to get there. Invisible, airborne mold spores often infiltrate a home through an open window or door. At this point, there still isn’t much of a problem for a homeowner.
When is there a problem? When mold is growing indoors. As we mentioned earlier, mold requires water or moisture to grow. When airborne mold spores find themselves settling on water or moisture, growth begins and the mold spreads.
To sum it all up, if mold is growing in a home it is as simple as this chain of events:
- Airborne mold spores enter the home from the outside environment.
- Mold spores land where moisture is present in the home allowing growth to begin.
- While water is present and mold is left untreated it reproduces, creating more and more mold.
Eventually the mold is detected. Then, the task becomes how to eradicate it. Fortunately modern air scrubbers using negative air pressure and HEPA filtration are more than up to the task.
Detecting the presence of mold in a home
Mold is generally found in one of two ways:
- Mold is most often detected visually. While the mold spores that travel in the air are not visible, mold which is, or has been, actively growing is. This discovery can happen when molds are growing in a common area, such as in a bathroom or other damp spot in a home. Another common moment of discovery is when renovating a home where usually hidden spaces are exposed. An example would be opening up walls by removing drywall.
- Medical symptoms of people occupying a space can lead to testing for, and finding mold growing. If one or more occupants of a household find themselves suffering from one of the many symptoms of excessive mold exposure, homeowners eventually may run tests on the environment. Test that detect the presence of mold can be done by professionals as well as by mail-in kits.