Mold & Moisture

Molds are living things that produce spores. They are part of the natural environment and play an important role in the environment by breaking down and digesting organic material, such as dead leaves. Also called fungi or mildew, molds are neither plants nor animals.

Molds produce spores that float in the air, land on damp surfaces, and grow. Many spores are so small they easily float through the air and can be carried for great distances by even the gentlest breezes. The number of mold spores suspended in indoor and outdoor air fluctuates from season to season, day to day, and even hour to hour.

Mold is not usually a problem indoors — unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. As molds grow they digest whatever they are growing on. Unchecked mold growth can damage buildings and furnishings; molds can rot wood, damage drywall, and eventually cause structural damage to buildings. Mold can cause cosmetic damage, such as stains, to furnishings. The potential human health effects of mold are also a concern. It is important, therefore, to prevent mold from growing indoors.

Mold and Moisture Related illnesses:

  • Inhaling or touching molds can cause hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes (i.e., allergic dermatitis);
  • Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma;
  • Respiratory ailments (i.e., bronchopulmonary aspergillosis or allergic fungal sinusitis);
  • Fungal Infections.

Where to look for mold contamination

Mold under bathroom cabinet due to condensation

Areas that are always or often damp, such as bathrooms, laundry/utility rooms, including but not limited to carpet backing and padding, are common locations for mold growth in homes. Regularly check areas that have been or are likely to get wet. Mold does not need light to grow: it can grow in dark areas and on hidden surfaces, such as the backside of drywall, wallpaper, and paneling; the top side of ceiling tiles; and the underside of carpets and pads. Possible locations of hidden mold also include damp areas behind walls and in crawlspaces, inside pipe chases and utility tunnels (areas in walls where water and other pipes are run), on acoustic liners in ventilation ducts, and on roof materials above ceiling tiles.

The air-handling system should also be inspected to determine whether it is moldy. Moisture may collect in the ventilation system due to poor condensate pan drainage, poor roof drainage, or high humidity in the ventilation ducts. In some cases, water may enter the ventilation ducts from a leaky pipe. A contaminated ventilation system may spread mold spores throughout a home/building and should be considered a high priority for investigation and repair.

EPA Mold Condition

Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed. It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, mold growth can be controlled indoors by controlling moisture indoors.

Mold spores are ubiquitous; they are found both indoors and outdoors. Mold spores cannot be eliminated from indoor environments. Some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in settled dust; however, they will not grow if moisture is not present.

The key to mold control is moisture control. Buildings that have been heavily damaged by flood waters should be assessed for structural integrity and remediated by experienced professionals.

Mold due to sprinkler systems

Mold due to sprinkler systems

Mold inside wall

Mold inside wall

Contact info

Inspector 12