Mold needs three things to grow – warmth, a food source, and moisture. Because two of the three conditions necessary for mold growth: warmth (temperatures between 47-120 degrees Fahrenheit), and food (wood, paper, or any organic matter) already exist in our homes, mold can grow just about anywhere there is excessive moisture. Areas where leakage may have occurred in walls, roofs, or where there has been flooding should be carefully evaluated for mold. It is critical to keep moisture out of your home.
Three Sources of Moisture
These sources for moisture need to be understood, discovered, and controlled. They include:
- Ground water (including snow melt, rain)
- Humid air (which condenses on cooler surfaces)
- Interior moisture (from human bodies, cooking, bathrooms, unvented clothes dryers, etc.)
The primary concern when it comes to mold is ground water. Rain and snow melt from your roof can sneak inside your home and cause major problems.
Walls, Roofs & Attics Are the Most Common Places for Mold
Because rain is a constant visitor to any area, some of the most common places for moisture to get into our homes is the walls, roof, and attic. Spring rains can cause problematic roof leaks but animals can cause damage as well. Squirrels and raccoons can tear up roofs and vents to make a cozy home in your attic. It’s important to check your attic for signs of moisture on the ceiling and in your insulation. Outside, an inspection of the exterior walls and roof can help identify potential problems before they become major headaches.
Mold Warning Signs to Look For
Building experts urge homeowners to stay alert for signs of mold, including:
- Peeling paint
- Compacted insulation
- Actual mold outbreaks
With today’s buildings being built more airtight for energy efficiency, mold is more prevalent than ever because these airtight homes don’t breathe as well as older structures. To make matters worse, more complex home designs have increased the potential for moisture intrusion.
Where Does Mold Come From?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, allergies affect as many as 30% of adults & 40% of children. They also assert that asthma affects 8% of adults & 10% of children. The main culprits are dust, mold, and mildew. Mold spores are found in virtually every environment indoors and outdoors, These spores may enter homes and buildings through air infiltration such as windows, doors, heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems, or by attaching themselves to people, clothing, and pets thus bringing mold spores indoors.
How Does Insulation Grow Mold?
Some types of insulation are more or less susceptible to mold growth than others. Fiberglass is a non-biodegradable material and is resistant to mold growth. Cellulose-based insulation, made of paper materials, is the ideal food source for mold if it becomes wet. Even fiberglass can have a paper backing that would serve as a buffet for mold.
If the building was poorly designed or constructed, if there was a plumbing leak, an extreme weather event causing flooding, or if there is a leak in roof, then insulation can become moldy. In many cases, building owners will assume that the product on which the mold is growing is the cause of the problem. However it’s important to remember insulation does not cause mold; the added moisture is the culprit.
How to Remove Moldy Insulation
If your insulation is already damp or mold-infested, the first step is to fix the leak that caused the problem. Then you can replace any damp insulation with new insulation. According to the National Center for Environmental Health, in most cases, mold can be removed by a thorough cleaning with bleach and water.
If you need help, give A+ Insulation a call and we’ll be glad to inspect your attic, fix the leak, and install new insulation. Call us at (913) 648-9290 or (816) 268-7511.