We have had a lot of requests in the last few months for mold testing in homes. That in itself is nothing new. We live in a portion of the country that is prone to high levels of mold because of our elevated humidity. But lately we have been asked to investigate property where mold is suspected but no visible mold has been found. We just wanted to briefly discuss what mold needs to survive and grow.
Mold simply needs three things to thrive. A food source, the right temperature, and water.
Mold eats any kind of organic materials. This is really out of our control since most of the building materials in our home or business is made of organic materials. Wood, sheetrock, ceiling tiles, carpet and pad... all are made of organic materials that mold can consume.
Different molds grow at different temperatures. The range is between 22 and 120 degrees. Safe to say although we all like a different temperature to be comfortable; we like it between the freezing to scorching hot scale of mold growth. With tens of thousands of species of mold you can be confident there are a few species that like the same conditions that you do.
Water is the one element we have some control of. We are talking about moisture in the air, or humidity. Most of us running normal HVAC systems have humidity levels in the 30% to 40% range. When there is a water intrusion (such as a water leak) those levels rise. Any environment above 60% humidity can have mold growth.