Introduction to Mold

An Icky but Necessary Guide

What is Mold?

Mold (fungus) is found in all environments where it plays a vital role in our ecosystem biodegrading waste organic matter (old leaves, un-picked fruit, etc.)

Mold is unique in that it is an alergan (can make you sneeze or cough) a toxin (a chemcial), and a pathagen (that can produce infections).

Mold can be visible or nearly invisible when it is airborn. Although musty smells can indicate mold growhth, mold can also grow without creating an ordor.

How Does Mold Grow?

Mold needs a food source, water source and warm temperatures to grow.

Icky Warning: View at your own risk.

Food Source

Such as wood supports, drywall backing, wallpaper, carpet, cabinetry, books, etc.

Water Source

Such as busted pipe, roof leak, poorly graded building site, or other moisture causing conditions.

Warm Temperatures


Myths & Facts of Mold

Where is Mold Found?

Mold can be found anywhere water is allowed to remain for 48 hours or more.
Humidity about 45% can also lead to mold growth.

Roof Leaks

One of the most common routes of moisture intrusion into a building, especially those buildings with flat roofs. The leaks may be from an old decaying roof, weather related damage, bad flashings, gutter or canale leaks. Close attention should be paid to seals around all roof penetrations, including around chimneys.


Plumbing leaks in the water supply or in the drain pipes can lead to mold growth. Additionally, high humidity in cabinetry below the sink may allow mold to grow on the cabinetry.


High humidity or flooding combined with clutter may allow mold growth.


Bad window seals can lead to moisture intrusion into the building. Additionally, condensation on windows can result in mold growth.


The water line leading to the ice maker can leak, leading to mold growth in the wall or cabinetry surrounding the refrigerator. The drain pans of refrigerators may also contribute to mold growth if moisture is often present.

Air Conditioning Systems

Condensation from air conditioning, or excessive humidity from swamp coolers, can contribute to mold growth within the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.  Additionally, some buildings have insulation inside of the ducting that provides a service and a food source for mold growth.

Laundry Room

Leaks from the washer plumbing (hot and cold water faucets and drain), improperly vented dryers (especially those that do not exhaust to the outside) and front loading washers that do not completely drain may lead to mold growth.


The areas of concern in bathrooms include plumbing leaks around the sink, bathtub and shower (often due to damaged or missing caulking), and elevated humidity from bathing or showering.


Water seepage into the basement through the walls and flooring can provide the necessary moisture for mold growth. Flooding of basements is also a large concern.