Appendix C: Moisture, Mold and Mildew

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Molds and mildew are fungi that grow on the surfaces of objects, within pores, and in deteriorated materials. They can cause discoloration and odor problems, deteriorate building materials, and lead to allergic reactions in susceptible individu- als, as well as other health problems.
The following conditions are necessary for mold growth to occur on surfaces:
■ temperature range above 40°F and below 100°F
■ mold spores ■ nutrient base (most surfaces contain
nutrients) ■ moisture
Human comfort constraints limit the use of temperature control. Spores are almost always present in outdoor and indoor air, and almost all commonly used construc- tion materials and furnishings can provide nutrients to support mold growth. Dirt on surfaces provides additional nutrients. Cleaning and disinfecting with non- polluting cleaners and antimicrobial agents provides protection against mold growth. Other sections of this document have discussed the importance of building maintenance and proper sanitation in preventing IAQ problems. However, it is virtually impossible to eliminate all nutrients. Moisture control is thus an important strategy for reducing mold growth.

Appendix C: Moisture, Mold and Mildew