Mold and Moisture

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What is mold?

Molds reproduce from tiny spores. Mold spores waft through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When mold spores land on a damp spot indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they are growing on in order to survive. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.

Testing for mold is generally not necessary.  If you can see and smell it, you have a mold problem.  However, it is recommended that you do a thorough inspection to determine the cause of mold growth.  If you are interested in hiring a specialist to conduct an indoor air quality investigation you can contact Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program and request a Home Performance with Energy Star inspection.  These specialists conduct indoor air quality (IAQ) investigations, and can determine when structural issues exist that may be causing mold problems (such as ice dams, moisture, and heating and cooling complaints).  They can help you understand why mold is growing in your home and what actions you will need to take to prevent growth.  Also, you can contact a company that specializes in indoor air quality issues or a mold remediation contractor.  For a list of Indoor Air Quality Consultants, click here.  For a list of Mold Remediation Contractors, click here.

Occasionally, mold can be found in the bathroom, on a windowsill, shower curtain, or wall.  This mold can be wiped off the surface with a damp cloth and cleaning agent (e.g. window or bathroom cleaner).  Preventing mold growth requires controlling the moisture source.  This  may be as simple as using a dehumidifier or fixing a simple leak.  For larger mold problems (about 10 square feet), follow the three phases that are described in the Mold in Your Home: Cleaning Options