Water Damage Mold and Your Home

Water Damage and Mold

For significant mold growth to occur, there must be a source of water (which could be invisible humidity), a source of food, and a substrate capable of sustaining growth. Common building materials, such as plywood, drywall, furring strips, carpets, and carpet padding are food for molds. In carpet, invisible dust is the food source. After a single incident of water damage occurs in a building, molds grow inside walls and then become dormant until a subsequent incident of high humidity; this illustrates how mold can appear to be a sudden problem, long after a previous flood or water incident that did not produce a mold-related problem.

The Right Conditions

The right conditions re-activate mold. Studies also show that mycotoxin levels are perceptibly higher in buildings that have once had a water incident

Both our indoor and outdoor environment have mold spores present. There is no such thing as a mold free environment in the Earth’s biosphere.

Spores needs three things to grow into mold:

(1) Nutrients: Food for spores in an indoor environment is organic matter, often cellulose.
(2) Moisture Moisture is required to begin the decaying process caused by the mold.
(3) Time: Mold growth begins between 24 hours and 10 days from the provision of the growing conditions. There is no way to date mold.

Mold colonies can grow inside building structures. The main problem with the presence of mold in buildings is the inhalation of mycotoxins. Molds may produce an identifiable smell. Growth is fostered by moisture. After a flood or major leak, mycotoxin levels are higher in the building even after it has dried out (source: CMHC).

Food sources for molds in buildings include cellulose-based materials, such as wood, cardboard, and the paper facing on both sides of drywall, and all other kinds of organic matter, such as soap, dust and fabrics. Carpet contains dust made of organic matter such as skin cells. If a house has mold, the moisture may be from the basement or crawl space, a leaking roof, or a leak in plumbing pipes behind the walls. Insufficient ventilation can further enable moisture build-up. The more people in a space, the more humidity builds up. This is from normal breathing and perspiring. Visible mold colonies may form where ventilation is poorest, and on perimeter walls, because they are coolest, thus closest to the dew point.

If there are mold problems in a house only during certain times of the year, then it is probably either too air-tight, or too drafty. Mold problems occur in airtight homes more frequently in the warmer months (when humidity reaches high levels inside the house, and moisture is trapped), and occur in drafty homes more frequently in the colder months (when warm air escapes from the living area into unconditioned space, and condenses). If a house is humidified artificially during the winter, this can create conditions favorable to mold. Moving air may prevent mold from growing since it has the same desiccating effect as lowering humidity.

Minnesota Water and Flood Restoration Expert

There are many ways to prevent mold growth. A Minnesota Water and Flood Restoration Expert is capable of repairing the damage – usually by removing the affected areas and eliminating the cause of the excess moisture with state of the art equipment and experience. Industrial pumps will remove the water quickly and efficiently. High velocity fans will dry the area in no time at all. Experience counts when dealing with mold, mildew, fungus and water that might be contaminated will keep you and your family safe.