Many people and even institutions would be happy if they could find a way of getting rid of mold. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to get rid of mold completely. However, if we understand the conditions that support mold growth, we could then try to manipulate those conditions so as to control mold growth. Mold growth has the following requirements:
1. Presence of spores or mold fragments that are capable germinating (viable) and developing into new mold growth.
2. Moisture. Like any other living organism mold requires water for growth.
3. Nutrients. Nutrients are readily available as some components of building materials are made of easily degradable organic materials. Nutrient are also available in dust.
4. Suitable temperature. For most indoor molds the optimal temperature for growth is between 20 and 25 oC.
The last two mold growth requirements would be difficult to manipulate. As mentioned above some materials in buildings are readily degradable by microorganisms. As for the temperature, mold can grow at a wide range of temperature and it’s optimal temperature is similar to that required in buildings for human comfort.
To control mold growth, therefore, we need to try and reduce or eliminate spores/mold fragments and water in our buildings. We could reduce the amount of spores and/or mold fragments settled on interior surfaces in buildings by HEPA vaccum cleaning all surfaces that are prone to dust on a regular basis.
To be able to control moisture, we need to understand the sources and also the mechanisms by which moisture moves through the building. The primary sources of moisture in buildings include:
1 . Liquid water, from precipitation (rain and melting snow) or plumbing leaks;
2. Water vapor (condensation), from the exterior and from activities and processes within the building;
3. Liquid and vapor from the soil adjoining the building;
4. Moisture built-in with materials of construction or brought in with goods and people
Controlling moisture in the building may require the help of a professional who understands the processes by which moisture moves in and through the building. To completely get rid of mold growth in a building is difficult.