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What is Mold?

Molds are fungi similar to mushrooms and yeast. There are over 100,000 species of mold and at least 1,000 are common in the United States. Fungi are heterotrophic, they do not produce their own food like plants. They must get their food from their environment. They do this by secreting digestive enzymes to dissolve organic and inorganic materials. They absorb the soluble products from digestion.
Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. Mold growth will often occur when excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.
mold image

Molds reproduce by releasing spores that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Mold spores float through the indoor and outdoor air continually. When these spores land on a damp or wet surface indoors, they may begin growing and digesting whatever they land on in order to survive. Molds gradually destroy the things they land on.
There are many types of molds that exist and there are many types of molds that only grow in an indoor environment that has had water damage. All molds have the potential to cause adverse health effects. Molds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants like Stachybotrys, Chaetomium and Ulocladium to name a few. Potential health effects and property damage are important reasons to prevent mold growth and to remediate any existing indoor mold growth.

About Mold / What Is Mold?
Mold Facts / Controlling Mold
Information about mold. Mold facts. Information on mold in the home.
How to control mold.

What is Mold? : Molds are microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors.Mold is alive, but it is neither a plant nor an animal. Mold is a type of fungus. It is part of a group of living organisms that are very common and serve an important role in the environment. Penicillin, an antibiotic that has saved many lives, is a type of mold, as is yeast.Mold is formed by microscopic creatures belonging to the Fungi Kingdom. When tiny airborne spores of mold burst, and then land on a favorable surface, they proliferate into visible colonies, and find new favorable surfaces on which to further develop. Why Chlorine Bleach is ineffective in Killing Mold

Fungal growth requires oxygen, adequate temperature, nutrients and water.

Temperature tolerance:
Thermophiles – 35ºC + human pathogens such as Aspergillus FumigatusMesophiles – 18ºC to 35ºCPsychrophiles – some fungi grow at 4ºC or below.

Paper, wallpaper, wallboard, sugars (fruits, vegetables), fabrics, wood, dust, etc
Click here to see what the EPA has to say about Mold in your home.

How does mold grow?

Mold seeks MOISTURE, WARMTH, and FOOD, and all three conditions are necessary for it to grow. Mold is most likely to find a place to grow in a bathroom, basement or kitchen, but it can grow in other rooms if conditions are favorable. The climate where you live and the living habits in your household can affect the ability of mold to grow.
Mold spores can thrive and reproduce in wet or damp parts of your home: areas that have had flooding or where leakage has occurred in roofs, pipes, or walls, or areas around house plants, especially ones that sometimes are over-watered. In just 48 hours, a moist environment combined with room-temperature conditions and an organic food source can lead to mold growth.

Some places where mold can grow in your home are:

  • carpet
  • drapes
  • upholstery
  • leather
  • wood products
  • clothing
  • paper
  • cardboard
  • books
  • rags
  • wallboard
  • cloth
  • ceiling tiles
  • ductwork
  • paint
  • wallpaper
  • household dust

After it gets the food it needs, mold can move to virtually any kind of surface. Mold growth prefers temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If a warm enough area in your home is humid or damp and contains items that mold likes to eat, your home could develop a mold problem.

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