Causes and Sources of Mold in Homes and Buildings | Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality
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Causes and Sources of Mold Growth

Underlying Causes of Mold

Mold is everywhere. The issues facing us as home and business owners, is when mold reaches a point that it becomes a risk to health.

Mold thrives in moist / warm conditions. Add these conditions to a suitable food source, mold can spread very quickly, often in unseen places. Mold thrives  on paper, cardboard, wood, fabric, carpet, drywall, and many other common building materials.

Most causes of mold growth can be headed off by regular inspections of your property.

Causes of mold include:

  1. Moisture: Ensure any leaky water pipes or roof leaks are fixed quickly. If the property has a history of flooding, you need to evaluate the risk of it happening again and maybe even consider a house move. Extensive flooding increases the risk of mold contamination. In the event of a leak we recommend removing all wet materials like cabinets, sheet rock and carpet from your property as soon as possible. Failure to act promptly will encourage the growth of mold and bacteria. Both are likely to cause illness in those living and working in the building. Special High Tech tools like infrared thermal imaging can find hidden areas of moisture in walls ceilings and floors.
  2. Holes and gaps in the walls: Look out for cracks in walls or open gaps around windows. A very small gap can let moisture into the building. Even a small entry point for water over a long period of time can cause a big mold problem.
  3. Condensation: In the winter, the warm air inside your property hits a colder surface, like your windows, it causes interior condensation. In the summer the reverse happens  causing condensation. This cycle leads to mold eating away at wooden window frames. To specifically target your windowsills, a professional moisture inspection should be performed annually. Sweating walls or window is NOT NORMAL and should be investigated and remedied immediately.
  4. Air Conditioning units: Your air conditioning, heating, and ventilation unit needs regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure that it is functioning properly. If dirty or malfunctioning, it could be circulating fungus spores around the house. Get an expert like Volunteer Mold to examine the entire system.
  5. Humidity: A proper functioning Heating and Air Conditioning system should be adequate to removing excess moisture from a residential or commercial building. There are situations when it pays to augment your normal HVAC systems with dehumidifiers.  A dehumidifier ensures you can keep the humidity of your property around the 50% mark – mold finds it harder to multiply in drier air.

Golden Rules of Good Indoor Air Quality:

Circulate: Keep air moving in all rooms by using fans and cycling your central air unit regularly. Moving air helps to keep surfaces dry and inhibits the set up of mold and bacterial growths.

Condition: Cooling and heating your building helps to dehumidify inside. If you have fish tanks or spas indoors you may need to take the additional step of adding dehumidification equipment.

Filter: Good quality pleated filters in the returns of your HVAC system helps to greatly reduce airborne pollutants. Filters should be replaced every month or so for best air cleaning and comfort of the people indoors.

Test: Its wise to hire a professional inspection company like Volunteer Mold and Indoor Air Quality to inspect you property inside and out to head off expensive repairs and the risk of those indoors becoming ill.

If all else fails you can hire a remediation company, like us to assess, contain, and remove the mold. Make sure you pick a company certified in mold remediation.


Bob Byrne, General Manager and Chief Inspector

Consulting, Inspections,Testing, Reports, Solutions

Bob Byrne - Knoxville Mold Inspector

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