About Mold

Mold is a microscopic organism, which grows from spores. There are mold spores everywhere in our environment but they are usually inactive. However, when the relative humidity exceeds 60% and the temperature is between 32 and 104 degrees F, they germinate and multiply. As the mold develops, it produces enzymes to digest organic materials including paper, books, cloth, photographs, leather, and wood.

There are 100,000 different species of mold in the world. Mold is part of the fungi kingdom; a realm shared with mushrooms, yeast and mildews.

What does mold need to grow?

In order for mold to grow it needs a food source such as leaves, wood, some insulations, wallboard, drywall, carpet padding, clothing, paper or dirt. In addition, mold needs a source of moisture for at least 24 to 48 hours. Temperatures above 65 degrees increase the likelihood of mold growth. Below is a list of moisture sources that may cause mold problems:

  • Flooding
  • Backed up sewers
  • Leaky roofs
  • Humidifiers
  • Mud or ice dams
  • Damp basement or crawl spaces
  • Constant plumbing leaks
  • House plants
  • Steam from cooking or boiling
  • Shower/bath
  • Clothing dryers vented indoors
  • Combustion appliances

Should I be concerned about mold?

Even though mold can cause many problems, it is also an important part of the world we live in. Mold plays a key role in the decomposition of leaves, wood and other plant debris. Without mold we would find ourselves wading neck-deep in dead plant matter. Mold is also an aid in the development of food and medicine, such as cheese and penicillin. However, problems do arise when mold begins to digest organic material we do not want it to, like our homes.

Read More: Health Effects