Have you ever smelled a musty odor inside a commercial building or home? Usually that means mold is present. Mold is a fungus and is always present indoors and outdoors in small amounts. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), mold can be toxic to both humans and animals, depending on the type and amount of mold present.
Several types of molds can thrive in buildings. They all require moisture and an available food source to flourish. Mold prefers porous building materials such as drywall, the underside of wallpaper, wood, and personal belongings made of fabric, paper or leather. The potential for a mold problem is higher if the moisture is in a concealed space, such as an attic or above ceiling area where it may go unnoticed.
Education is key when it comes to preventing mold issues. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of 4 Common Causes of Mold in Buildings or Homes, particularly those located in humid climates.
1. Leaky buildings and pipes
Though not limited to humid climates, one common cause of mold in buildings includes water from a severe storm leaking through the building envelope. Other contributors to mold issues are leaks from plumbing pipes and fixtures. According to ASHRAE, if the affected areas are not dried within a few days, mold will flourish.
2. An A/C system that is not maintained
Air-conditioning systems remove moisture from the air in the form of condensate. The condensate is collected internally in a pan, which typically drains through a piping system. If the pan or drain leaks or becomes clogged, the condensate may drip into building structure and promote mold growth. Maintenance of these systems in essential in preventing mold.
Does your A/C system seem to not run very efficient? Read these five tips to help improve A/C efficiency.
3. Negative indoor pressure
Another cause of mold in a home or building is negative indoor pressure. If the indoor air pressure is not positive or neutral (relative to outside), moist outside air is drawn into the building envelope, causing moisture to accumulate in the walls. Air handler systems can also create localized negative pressure, above ceilings or in the air handler closet, drawing moist air in. Mold will then grow in these locations.
4. A/C supply ducts not properly insulated
Air-conditioning supply ducts must be insulated properly or the moisture in the humid air will condense on the cold metal ducts and drip onto building elements or furnishings. This creates an environment favorable for mold growth.
Hopefully, the above list will educate readers on the steps to take to prevent future mold issues. If you find significant mold or persistent moisture, it’s best to have a professional examine it. Taking action now can help prevent future health concerns.