Q:

What causes mold in homes?

A:

Quick Answer

Mold grows naturally in the environment and starts to grow in the home when spores land on a moist surface. In nature, mold is a part of the biological process that breaks down dead organic materials. In the home, residents should take steps to prevent mold growth.

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Full Answer

While there are many types of mold, all require moisture to grow. Many normal activities in the home, such as cooking, showering and human breathing increase the humidity in the enclosed space. Reducing the humidity level in a home is one effective remedy to prevent mold growth. Options for reducing humidity include increasing ventilation and installing a dehumidifier.

Installing vents in areas where residents create moisture helps to decrease the growth of mold. Bathroom and cooking vents move warm moist air out of the area, while drawing in drier air from the outside. Gas burning appliances produce water as a by-product of combustion. Venting furnaces and space heaters reduces the chance of mold growth.

In areas where moisture is a constant problem, such as basements, venting is not always enough to prevent the growth of mold. Dehumidifiers use a fan to circulate air over cold coils, causing the moisture to condense and drip to a collection bucket or drain. With a dehumidifier, it is possible to reduce the humidity level to below 50 percent, the range where mold is less likely to grow.

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