Mold is a living organism. For mold to thrive, it requires nutrients, water and suitable temperature. If we can deny mold any one of these requirements we can completely control it’s growth. It is practically difficult to manipulate the temperature or to eliminate the nutrients. However, we can control moisture or humidity in our houses. The key to mold control is to keep our houses dry all the time. Regularly vacuum cleaning of dusty surfaces such as the carpet also help to reduce the amount of settled spores which actually give rise to new mold growth when water becomes available.
One of the questions commonly asked by homeowners is how they could get rid of mold growth on ceiling tiles, carpet, walls and basement. To get rid of mold completely is difficult but we can control mold growth. For us to control mold growth we need to know the factors or conditions necessary for mold growth.
For mold to grow indoors:
- There should be a source of viable spores or hyphal fragments of the mold that can regenerate into new mold growth. The main source of spores indoors is the outdoor. Building materials may also get contaminated with mold. Spores that have settled on surfaces may remain viable for many years. Once moisture is available these spores germinate and if the moisture is not eliminated, growth continues and more spores are produced which contribute to more mold growth. Settled dust is generally a reservoir of mold spores.
- Like any other living organisms, mold require nutrients for growth. Dust, dirt, and some components of building materials are contain or are nutrients for mold growth.
- For rapid growth optimal temperature is required. Generally molds can grow under a wide range of temperatures but at suboptimal temperatures growth is slow. The optimal temperature for most indoor molds is the temperature usually maintained in houses or offices for human comfort.
- There should be adequate moisture to support growth. Moisture is the most critical factor. The level of moisture (together with other factors) determines the types of mold that will be more prevalent/dominant in the environment.
By manipulating anyone of the factors outlined above, we can control mold growth. However, we may have very little control on spores since spores infiltrate into our houses from outdoor all the time especially when we open the doors and windows. Also, although we can set the temperature in our houses to the level we want, mold can grow over a wide range of temperatures and therefore it is practically difficult to use temperature to control mold growth…unless we want to turn our houses and offices into freezers. Moisture is the ideal factor to control. Maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30-60% would effectively control mold growth. In addition to controlling moisture, we should also provide adequate ventilation. As mentioned above dust is a reservoir for spores. Therefore, regular vacuum cleaning would help reduce the spore load in the building and hence reduce the level of mold growth following a moisture problem.
If you have a question on how to get rid of mold growth, please call us at 905-290-9101.