Molds are forms of fungi that are found all year round in both indoor and outdoor environments. Outdoors, mold can be found in soil, on plants and on dead or decaying matter. Mildew is another common term for mold. Mold growth can be fostered by warm and moist conditions, although it can also grow during cold weather months as well. Most fungi, including molds, produce microscopic spores that spread easily through the air. These spores act like seeds, forming new colonies of mold under the right conditions. We are all exposed to some spores daily in the air that we breathe.
Small amounts of mold growth in the workplace and the home are not a major concern. However, no mold should be allowed grow and multiply in an indoor environment. Large quantities of mold growth have the potential to cause annoying odors and health problems for some individuals. Mold can also cause damage to building materials, furnishings and may even cause structural damage to wood.
Most of the mold that is found indoors comes from outdoor sources. The main ingredient for mold growth is moisture. Mold becomes a problem when there is water damage, high humidity, or persistent dampness. Some common sources of indoor moisture that can cause mold problems are flooding, roof and plumbing leaks, and condensation. The key to preventing mold growth is controlling excessive moisture.
Keeping areas that susceptible to excess moisture clean and dry is very important. Ventilation can be used to remove excess moisture. Water leaks should be repaired promptly and the impacted area should be dried and cleaned as soon as possible. Materials that stay wet for more than 48 hours are likely to foster mold growth. Report water leaks to the University of Idaho Facilities Services as soon as they are detected.