Most common causes of household mold

Posted by Matt Buchanan

In 2017 we’re committing much of our blogging efforts to discuss mold. Over the course of the past several years, as homeowners have become more educated about the health effects of black mold exposure, they’ve rightly become more concerned with their home’s health. So in this blog installment, we’ll discuss the most common causes of a sick home that is infested with toxic black mold. Our hope with this post is to help you better understand what causes mold so that you can make sure to be on the lookout and prevent damaging mold growth in your home in the future!


Why does black mold growth occur?


Before we jump into the most common causes of black mold, it’s important to explain the reasons black mold forms in the first place. But first a surprising fact: every home has black mold. There are trace amounts in virtually any indoor environment. That isn’t meant to scare you. At low levels it is entirely benign. It’s when it has the right conditions in place to grow that it becomes a severe health risk.

Here’s the simple formula for a bad mold problem in your home:

() Food – mold can eat any organic substance, such as the wood in your walls, paster, your cabinets, subfloor, etc.

() A warm, dark place – mold can’t survive in areas that are exposed to high levels of UV light. It also can’t survive in very cold conditions. Luckily for mold, there are plenty of areas in your home that are dark and remain the perfect temperature to ensure its survival.

() Moisture – Like us, mold needs water. Every surface in your home has some moisture in it. But if those levels get elevated, that’s when things can go south quickly.

() Time – and not much of it. Some people think mold is a very slow threat. The reality is that it’s an extremely aggressive and fast threat. With the right conditions listed above, it only needs a couple of days to start growing rapidly.

Alright, now you’re an expert on what mold needs to cause problems in your home. Now let’s talk about the most common reasons we see mold growth occur…


Most common causes of black mold infestation


By knowing the most common reasons black mold grows to dangerous levels in a home, you can help protect your home and your family’s health. As a leading provider of mold removal services throughout the country, we see it all. So here’s what we’re most likely to see…


Slow pipe leaks

We have blogged extensively about slow leaks in homes. There are many reasons for that, but one of those reasons is because of the likelihood that not finding the leak will mean you’ll end up with a very costly black mold problem. Pipes are typically out of eyesight and buried behind walls or under floors. So when they leak, it’s not always noticeable.


Damaged roofing

A cold, windy winter followed by a wet spring is the perfect recipe for a roof leak. And because you’re probably not up in your attic ever, a roof leak can go undetected for a really long time. In the meantime, mold can begin eating away at your roof decking along with the structural beams holding up your roof, attic insulation, and anything else up there that is edible.


HVAC duct condensation

If you have a forced air climate system in your home, then you have ducts running throughout your home to carry that air to the various rooms in your home to keep the warm or cool (depending on the time of year). Sometimes condensation can occur in high enough volume to create a constant flow of moisture. And because these ducts are located in dark, hidden places in your home, they can go undetected and result in black mold growth.


Foundation cracks & other basement moisture issues

If you have a home with a basement, hopefully you understand the inherent risks associated with moisture and an area of your home that might reside smack dab in the middle of your area’s water table. In short, it’s always under attack from ground water and it’s always at risk of flooding or at least a small amount of water intrusion. Even the tiniest crack in your foundation can allow water to seep in over time. If your basement walls are finished, you might not notice the leak until it’s too late. Here’s an old blog post we did walking you through things you can do to prevent basement flooding and moisture problems!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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