Mold spores are an integral part of our natural environment, and occur both indoors and outdoors. Precursors to mold, moisture & mildew, Mold spores are detrimental in our homes when they cause health issues and structural damage.
Even when exterior water sources are minimized, moisture in indoor air can build up from poorly vented sources such as showers, cooking, laundry, and breathing. High indoor relative humidity and stagnant air are ideal for mold growth and damp unventilated basements are perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Just because you don’t see mold growing in your home doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Without proper dehumidification, humidity damage to your home or indoor pool can cost thousands of dollars to repair.
Musty odors are a gaseous byproduct of mold growth, and you may be smelling and breathing them in daily. Live mold spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths when they find the right conditions. Mold spores only need a few things to grow and multiply:
- Moisture – Moisture keeps mold spores chemically active.
- Nutrients – Mold spores feed on building materials, fabrics, wood, etc. that are saturated.
- Suitable environment – Warm temperature and stagnant air encourage mold growth.
Exposure to molds can adversely affect your health by causing allergy symptoms and/or respiratory difficulties, such as asthma and other ailments. It can damage the structure of your home by causing wood to rot and beams to buckle. The contents of your home are also at risk of being destroyed by mold.
How badly your house becomes infested with mold and musty odors is determined by a number of factors, including air circulation, possible leaks and amount of organic materials present. Depending on the severity of the problem, mold may be found growing on walls, doors, carpeting, clothes, books, and other items. Mold grows in the form of dark or very white spots. In many cases you can’t see it, but you can smell it. If your house smells like a musty basement, then molds may be present.
CAUTION: Beware of products on the market that are nothing more than an exhaust fan in an enclosure.
These are sold as basement or crawl space ventilation devices which can not only increase moisture and mold but can be dangerous if the home is heated with a combustion type furnace. Exhausting continuously from a basement means air has to be replaced. The air is being drawn from the inside of the house and the humidity is 100%, that is the air being put back in the basement causing it to condense increasing moisture, mold and mildew.
DANGER: More significantly, if insufficient outside air is supplied to the house, replacement air may be pulled down chimneys, preventing proper venting of furnace flue products (water vapor and carbon dioxide). The flue products will then mix with indoor air and reduce the amount of available oxygen. This causes the fuel to burn incompletely and may produce carbon monoxide.