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Mold or Water Leak?

What is mold?

Molds are fungi that can be found everywhere. They reproduce by means of tiny spores; these spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. These fungi can grow on virtually any substance, if moisture is present. Molds can grow on ceilings, walls, under sinks, drywall, ductwork, furniture, wood, among other materials. When there is a lot of moisture present, high humidity, and/or temperatures are above 65°F, mold spores become active and start to grow rapidly. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. The key to controlling indoor mold growth is controlling the moisture source.

What you need to know about mold?

  • Allergic reactions are the most common health effects from mold exposure. Commonly reported symptoms include nasal congestion, shortness of breath, worsening of asthma, sneezing, coughing, headaches, fatigue, and/or irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, and throat.
  • If mold is a problem in your home or school, you should correct the source of the water problem or leak, eliminate sources of moisture, and clean up the mold.
  • The steps you can take to reduce moisture is to use air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers; inspect and repair the ventilation system; maintain indoor humidity at 30 to 60 percent; use exhaust fans to circulate indoor moisture (from cooking, dishwashing, showering) to the outdoors; and remove carpeting in areas of excess moisture (from cooking, sinks, bathtubs and showers).

  • Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  • Mold can be cleaned from hard surfaces by using water and detergent. If you plan to clean up the mold, it is advised to wear long clothing, a head cover, waterproof boots, heavy rubber gloves, safety goggles, and a particle-filtering mask.
  • Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  • There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. To control indoor mold growth, control the moisture source.

Where can mold be found in homes?

Mold Graph

For more information about mold, please visit the links located at the top of this page. For help with mold removal, please click here for information.

Last Updated: 07-08-2015

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