Question

Will a high-heat pest extermination process also eliminate mold systemically from my home?

Asked by Eva
San Luis Obispo, CA

How do I get rid of mold that is in hard-to-get places in a mobile home?

Answer

David Willson

Answered by David Willson

Sebastopol, CA

Advanced Home Performance

April 4, 2011

The common misconception about mold in our homes is that it can be gotten rid of by killing it.

I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, and this is a simplistic answer to a complex problem, but here are a few facts about mold:

  • It is not mold but mold's spores, or fruit, that are of concern to our health.
  • These spores are so small that they can stay aloft indefinitely and are very easily sent flying into the air by the slightest movement of the fruiting body.
  • Mold is everywhere. We probably inhale a number of mold spores in every breath we take, and our bodies have evolved to deal with this by catching and eliminating them in the natural mucus lining of our bronchials.

Mold needs moisture

In the presence of enough moisture, mold can throw so many spores into the air that our immune systems become compromised. Mold needs moisture to grow and fruit.

  • Standing water is a banquet to mold but even in the absence of water, mold can grow on virtually any substrate if there is enough humidity in the air.
  • There is not a definite limit, but in the absence of standing water, the rule of thumb is humidity levels below 60% prevent mold growth and even 70% is fairly safe.

So mold is not the real problem but a symptom of a moisture problem. Dry the moisture and the mold growth stops.

Keeping moisture levels low enough

It can be difficult to keep moisture levels low enough in a mobile home but there are a few things about moisture control to keep in mind:

  • Warm air carries less moisture than cool air so keeping your home warm can slow mold growth.
  • Running a bath fan when showering can remove much of the moisture introduced when you shower.
  • A dehumidifier can keep humidity low enough to stop mold growth.

This may not have answered your question. Mold is a complex issue.

For more information, talk to a home performance contractor in your area who is familiar with indoor air quality and mold/moisture. 

 

For more information:

Read "I just finished remodeling my basement. Can you help me choose mold-resistant flooring?" a Q&A answered by Mary Cordaro.

Tagged In: home air quality

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