What Does Mold Need to Grow?

What Does Mold Need to Grow?

Mold is the last thing you want in your house. Aside from making your home look ugly, it can also cause serious health effects for you and your family. The best way to stop mold in its tracks is to take away the elements it needs to grow—or at least reduce them as much as possible.

Mold needs six things. By reducing any (or all) of these elements, you can prevent mold from ruining your home and hurting your family’s health.

Plenty of Moisture

Just like any living thing (yes, mold is alive) mold needs water to survive. In fact, it loves water. Anywhere there’s moisture, there’s a good chance mold isn’t far behind.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of places in your home filled with moisture:

  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Attics
  • Inside walls with plumbing
  • Basements and crawl spaces

If you ever experience a water leak—or worse, a flood—it’s crucial to clean up every last drop of water to prevent mold. For puddles that can’t be cleaned up with a paper towel, it’s a good idea to call a water mitigation expert. They’ll have the equipment needed to dry the area thoroughly enough to prevent mold growth.

Florida homeowners need to be especially careful about moisture. Not only do we get lots of rain, but it’s also very humid throughout the year. Humidity is just moisture in the air. If areas of your home aren’t properly ventilated—like your attic—moisture levels could build up until it’s suitable for mold.

Oxygen to Breathe

After water, what’s another element that all living things need? Oxygen. Of course, unless you live in space, there’s nothing you can do about the oxygen levels in your home. After all, you want to live there too!

While you can’t do anything about oxygen in your living areas, you can limit the amount of oxygen inside your walls with proper insulation. Insulation prevents airflow. So, if mold does manage to start growing inside your walls—like if a water pipe leaked—it would struggle to survive after it used up all the available oxygen. It would still need to be taken care of, but at least it wouldn’t spread as quickly. 

Insulation doesn’t mean mold won’t grow if a leak occurs, but it never hurts to do everything you can to prevent the spread of mold. Always call a water mitigation expert to clean up leaks.

Lack of UV Light

Mold isn’t a fan of light—specifically, UV light. UV light kills most types of mold and mold spores, which is why you don’t find much mold growing outside. You will, however, find plenty hiding in your dark attic and kitchen cabinets.

Like oxygen, there’s not much you can do about controlling UV light in your home. You could replace all your lightbulbs with UV bulbs, but that’s not realistic (not to mention expensive). The best thing you can do is monitor the dark spaces in your house. Don’t just go into your attic once a year for your Christmas decorations. Check in periodically to ensure you don’t have any unwanted, moldy guests.

A Plentiful Food Source

Like any other unwanted house guest, mold loves to eat your food, and it’s not picky. Mold will eat just about any organic matter it can break down:

  • Food products 
  • Drywall
  • Cardboard
  • Upholstery
  • Wood

Some food sources are easy to clean up. If you find a little mold on a cardboard box in the garage, just throw it out. If it gets into the wooden structural supports of your house, that’s a different story. Mold can eat away at your home’s frame and cause serious structural damage over time.

Obviously, you can’t just remove the food source (your house), which is why it’s so important to reduce the amount of moisture in your home. For excessive amounts of moisture, always call a water mitigation team. It can’t be emphasized enough.

Temperatures Above Freezing

You might find mold in your refrigerator from time to time, but you’ll probably never find it in the freezer. That’s because mold needs heat to survive.

While mold can grow anywhere the temperature is above freezing, it really loves temperatures above 60-degrees. Unfortunately, that’s the temperature range humans prefer too.

Unless you plan on running your air conditioner at a brisk 32-degrees year-round, there’s not much you can do to prevent mold on the temperature front. Just be aware that mold grows best when it’s hot—which, in Florida, is most of the time—and remember to check for mold regularly in the common places it likes to grow around your house.  

Mold Spores

That’s right; mold needs mold to grow. Think of mold like a dandelion. You have the actual plant that grows in your backyard, but it also releases little white seeds that float through the air. When the seeds land and the conditions are right, they sprout new dandelions.

Mold works similarly. Mold releases tiny, invisible spores that float through the air and create more mold. That’s how mold reproduces. So, how do you get rid of them? Well, you can’t.

What you might not know (or might not want to know) is that there are always mold spores floating through the air. Generally, this isn’t a problem until they find a place they like. But when they find that cozy, wet, dark, warm place with lots of food, the spores settle down and start a colony.

Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home

The best way to prevent mold spores from growing is to make your house less mold friendly. Unfortunately, your house has all the conditions that encourage mold growth except one: moisture. Keeping moisture at bay is essential to prevent mold from growing, hurting your family, and causing structural damage to your home.

If you experience any leak or flooding, call a water mitigation team right away. They’re the only ones with the equipment and expertise to remove all traces of moisture from your home to prevent mold.

Looking for a water mitigation team near you? Trust the experts at Central Florida Restoration Solutions. We’ve been helping Florida homeowners resolve their water, mold, fire, and smoke damage problems for over 25 years. If you’re experiencing mold problems or require water mitigation service, contact the experts at CFRS to get the advice and support you need.

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