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Home & Health

Mold and Moisture

Mold describes any of a large and diverse number of fungal species that grows in warm, damp, humid conditions where there is little air movement. Mold spores are small airborne particles released by the mold for reproduction. These spores can cause respiratory issues.

The Facts

While mold is a part of the natural environment and occurs outdoors, mold growing indoors has the potential to cause health problems. Allergies and rashes are common reactions to mold, and mold and moisture can exacerbate the symptoms of asthma in children and adults.1

Sources

Places you might find mold:

  • Bathrooms
  • In wet or damp basements and crawl spaces
  • Around leaky sinks
  • In attics under leaky roofs
  • On windows and walls where condensation collects
  • Under wallpaper or carpet
  • In or around air conditioners2

Effects

Moisture and mold can cause:

  • Eye and skin irritation
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Hyper sensitivity pneumonitis3

Actions You Can Take

How to remove mold:

  • Use soap and water to scrub mold off hard surfaces (harsh chemicals are not needed). Soft, porous surfaces like carpet of furniture may have to be thrown away.
  • Remember to wear personal protective equipment while cleaning mold.
  • If the mold occupies more than 10 square feet, contact a professional mold remediator.
  • After removing the mold, you must address the source of the moisture problem to prevent mold from growing back.

The key to mold control is moisture control:

  • Fix sources of moisture problems as soon as possible.
  • Watch for condensation and wet spots.
  • Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
  • Throw away wet carpeting, mattresses, cardboard boxes, insulation or other things that have been wet for more than two days.
  • Keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed.
  • Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
  • Maintain low indoor humidity, below 55 percent relative humidity, ideally 30-50 percent, if possible.
  • Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
  • Don’t let the foundation stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
  • Use downspouts to direct rainwater away from the house. Make sure the gutters are working.4

GET HELP NOW

Contact GHHI to see how you can keep your home safe from mold and moisture.

  1. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA) [Pamphlet]. (2012). Washington, D.C.: EPA
  2. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA). Ibid.
  3. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA). Ibid.
  4. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (EPA). Ibid.