common causes of mold growth in houses and businesses

Common Causes of Mold Growth in Homes and Businesses

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Mold is a normal part of our environment, existing almost everywhere in nature. Mold spreads through microscopic particles called spores. Spores are virtually everywhere, but they only grow in specific conditions. Under these proper conditions, mold can grow and spread throughout one area. 

Consistent exposure to mold can lead to various health concerns, so it’s important to check your home or business if you suspect any signs of mold, especially if you live in a humid area. Understanding what causes mold growth will allow you to take the proper preventative measures and keep your home or business free from mold.

What Causes Mold Growth?

Moisture is the number one cause of mold growth. Mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours, so enough moisture sitting in one spot for too long can allow mold to develop. It can grow almost anywhere, regardless of the material. These situations create the perfect formula for mold growth.

1. Leaks and Water Intrusion

Leaks will allow moisture to settle in an area, creating an ideal environment for mold to grow. Leaks can occur through various methods, whether in the plumbing or a vulnerability in your home or business’s construction.

Water can enter your home or business through a variety of methods, including:

  • A leaky roof
  • Broken drywall
  • Leaking pipes
  • A dripping faucet
  • Open windows
  • A leaking air conditioning system
  • Moisture from the foundation
  • Moisture from bathroom fans not properly ventilated

If you live in a rainy area like Portland, then a small flaw in the construction could open up the building to a potential leak. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for leaks by checking under sinks or looking for water spots on the wall or ceiling.

Most importantly, remember that in the event of a leak or water intrusion, it’s crucial to address the issue at the source—don’t address the issue of mold without addressing the cause.

2. Poor Ventilation

Because moisture is the key cause of mold growth, airflow into an area is helpful for drying excess moisture and reducing the chances of mold developing. However, poor ventilation traps moisture, creating an environment where mold can thrive.

Poor ventilation is especially an issue in humid areas, like Portland, as the moisture in the air can build up in a confined space. Over time, the humidity can accumulate with no room to escape and create the proper conditions for mold growth.

Mold growth due to poor ventilation can often occur in less frequented parts of the home, like the basement or crawl space. However, it can also occur in high-traffic areas like the kitchen or the bathroom. Small steps like leaving a window open while cooking or leaving the bathroom door open after a warm shower can make a significant difference in controlling mold growth.

3. Flooding and Water Damage

Flooding and water damage are other major causes of mold, bringing significant amounts of water into a space. Standing water allows moisture to remain in a single area, giving mold a chance to grow.

In the event of a flood or water damage emergency, it is important to act as quickly as possible to remove the moisture. Since mold begins to develop within one to two days, quick action is essential for controlling its growth.

However, drying out a space after a room or flood is easier said than done. A flood can cause water to soak into the materials of an area, including the carpet, drywall, furniture, and more. Because of the extent that water can spread through a room, have a professional assess the damage and catch any issues that may not be visible to an untrained eye.

Health Implications of Mold Growth

Mold exposure can cause a range of health effects depending on the person. Mold affects everyone differently, as some people are more sensitive to mold spores than others. For people sensitive to it, mold growth in your home or business may lead to some of the following health effects:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Eye irritation, like watering or redness
  • Nose irritation
  • Skin irritation, like rashes
  • Headaches
  • Aches or pain

Consistent exposure to mold, especially without the proper safety equipment, can make these complications more likely. As a result, it is important to have an experienced professional with the right equipment to address the issue.  

Importance of Professional Help

Taking a DIY approach to mold removal can offer a range of potential risks, including health concerns and ineffective results. With the possible risks of handling mold, it is important to leave the difficult work in the hands of professionals, who have the right experience and equipment to address and remediate mold growth.

Altogether, a professional will:

  • Have all the gear needed to protect themselves and avoid putting you in harm’s way
  • Be able to identify the different types of mold and the proper cleanup method
  • Know which cleaning products to use for the best result
  • Know how to mitigate the risks of being near mold
  • Have the knowledge and training to understand how to remove all of the mold from an area
  • Ensure the issue is addressed correctly so that mold does not begin to regrow shortly after removal

On top of the many benefits of choosing a professional, they will pull out all the stops to protect you and your property. In addition to mold remediation and removal, they will also be able to provide other services, like air quality testing and mold spore testing, to ensure your home is free from risk.

Ultimately, trusting a professional will take the work out of your hands, saving you time and energy while ensuring a job well done.

Prevention Strategies for Mold Growth

Mold exists everywhere as spores in the air, so you can’t eradicate it entirely, but you can prevent it from growing and spreading in your home or business. The number one prevention strategy for mold growth is controlling the moisture in your home and being aware of areas where moisture is present.

1. Check for Moisture

Be sure to regularly check for leaks or excess moisture in your home or business. Monitor areas where moisture can easily build up, like the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and basement. Being aware of the potential risk of mold will go a long way toward helping you prevent its growth and address any potential mold problems.

2. Act Quickly

Mold can spread quickly, so if mold does start to grow, then you should act as soon as possible to clean it up and address the moisture that allowed it to grow. If you experience a water emergency, like a flood or a leak, act fast to prevent water from sitting too long in one spot and spreading into additional areas. Acting quickly will prevent mold growth from starting at all. 

3. Contact a Professional

If you experience a flood or mold growth, then you will need the support of a team with the right experience and equipment. After a flood in your home or business, allowing the affected area to air dry won’t be enough. If you experience a water damage emergency, be sure to contact a team of professionals to support you in removing all the water and drying out every material to prevent mold.

Get Professional Mold Remediation from Alpha Environmental

Mold can be tricky, but with the right prevention strategies and the right support, you can keep your home or business safe. At Alpha Environmental, we respond quickly to water damage emergencies to help control mold growth.

Our team is also experienced in mold remediation to control any existing mold presence. Whether it’s the result of a leaky pipe or a water damage emergency, our experts have your home or business covered. 

Contact us at Alpha Environmental to learn more about what causes mold growth and for professional support in mold remediation. We have served the Portland area for 21 years and are trusted by the community for effective mold remediation and prevention.

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David D.
Lake Oswego, OR
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Beaverton, OR
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