Any area of your home can develop mold, but some are much more common because they readily provide the perfect conditions.
Mold loves dark, undisturbed areas. A few other things that mold needs to grow include moisture and a food source. Once these conditions are offered, a single mold spore can begin an entire colony.
While you can practice mold prevention with high success, there is no fool-proof method for completely preventing mold in your home. While it may be obvious when mold is in your refrigerator, it’s not so easy to spot when it’s within your vents, under the carpet or within your insulation.
Inspections are necessary to make sure there is no mold in any of these hard-to-see areas.
Why Home Insulation Can Develop Mold
Mold in your insulation is a huge inconvenience because it cannot be cleaned. The insulation must be removed and replaced in order to prevent the mold from spreading and making your family sick. This will require you to have the insulation removed, sometimes cutting a hole in the wall if there is no other access point.
If this has you scared about mold getting into your insulation, you’re probably getting more interested by the minute about ways to prevent it. To do that, you first must understand how mold can get into your insulation in the first place.
So why is insulation the perfect home for mold?
The first few factors are things you already know, but let’s look at why they are even more crucial when they are in your walls and ceiling.
- Dark conditions are perfect for mold, since these areas of your home also tend to be fairly consistent in temperature. Absolutely nothing will hinder mold’s growth within your walls and ceiling as it feeds on insulation. In fact, the insulation makes even more tiny pockets for mold to hide.
- Food sources for mold are practically infinite. Within insulation, all types of particles can get trapped, including dust, hair and skin cells, and small organisms. Even the paper backing on the insulation itself can become a never-ending food source for a mold colony. Once mold gets into these areas, it’s impossible to control.
- Moisture is not inherently present in or around your insulation. It can be introduced in two ways.
The first way moisture can be introduced into the insulation is that the insulation can get wet during installation. If it is raining or if the insulation is placed on a wet surface before insulation, there is a good chance mold will develop.
The other scenario is that there is a water leak, either a roof leak or a plumbing issue, which results in water inside the walls where the insulation is installed. This, too, can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
The other condition that can cause mold to grow in your insulation is the insulation itself. No type of insulation — and no home, for that matter — is mold-proof.
- Cellulose insulation provides both moisture and food for mold. Mold feeds on anything organic, meaning that it is now or was once alive, including the paper backing on insulation. Cellulose insulation is fairly resistant to mold unless it gets wet, due to the high concentration of boric acid in it. Cellulose insulation also breaks apart when it is removed, so it’s hard to tell if you have removed all of the mold as well.
- Fiberglass insulation seems like the answer to the issues with cellulose, since fiberglass is literally small shards of glass — definitely not a food source for mold. However, the larger air pockets within fiberglass insulation can easily trap moisture and dust, providing mold with everything it needs.
Together, these elements create the perfect environment for mold in your insulation. And the fact that you’ll never be able to check for it gives the mold even more freedom to grow until you take action.
Professional Mold Inspection & Removal
We recommend that you develop a relationship with a mold specialist like Pure Maintenance of St. Louis when you purchase or build a home. We can then partner with you to prevent mold in common and not-so-common areas of your home.
Multi-layer strategies are the best bet for residential mold prevention. Here are a few steps you can take to prevent mold in your home:
- If you suspect mold in your home, you can do a basic inspection yourself in the most likely areas. But an in-depth inspection should always be carried out by a trained, certified professional.
- There is no substitute for professional mold inspection. Call Pure Maintenance of St. Louis and let us do a full home inspection. This will cover the areas that are never seen but can still harbor mold.
- Not only can a mold removal professional find mold anywhere in your home — including the insulation — but professionals can also remove it safely. Don’t take on a dangerous job like mold removal yourself.
Mold remediation in some areas of your home may involve chemical and steam cleaning, but mold in your insulation will require the insulation to be taken out and replaced. Not only is it dangerous to handle insulation, but you have the added danger of mold spores being released as it comes out of the wall. Therefore, every safety procedure must be followed to ensure everyone’s safety during and after the removal.
There may also be some cosmetic damage to your home where the insulation was removed. Your Pure Maintenance mold removal team may be able to make the necessary repairs once the removal is complete, or they might offer suggestions of residential contractors who can follow up immediately to restore your home.
Insulation is one of the worst places for mold to develop because the removal process is so invasive, but it’s definitely not a job you want to put off. Hire Pure Maintenance of St. Louis for a mold inspection if your home has experienced any flooding or if a family member has mold allergy symptoms.