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Facts About Mold and Dampness

by David Smith

| Updated March 27, 2024 |
Mold have been a big issue for a lot of people for countless decades, until recently that scientists and medical professionals found out the cause of this type of fungus. Molds love a damp environment. They grow in a damp or somehow humid environments, be it indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter.

It is important to understand the relationship between these two parties, Mold and dampness, and this article is going to give us some life threatening, and yet exciting facts about them.
Dampness image
Photo from Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Mold and Your Home: Common Sources of Mold Growth

Mold can be a challenging health hazard and environmental problem in buildings and homes. They can appear in different colors; some white, black, green, or even brown spots on your ceilings, walls and every other surface in your environments and buildings (even your home). With that said, there are three common conditions that is required for mold to grow, let’s take a look;

The right humidity

In order for mold to grow, it requires a relative humidity (RH) of 55% or higher. According to the EPA, (Environmental Protection Agency), it is recommended to maintain indoor relative humidity (RH) levels between 30% and 50%. When the relative humidity (RH) goes above 60%, there is a potential for mold growth. This risk becomes even greater when the RH surpasses 80%.

An organic food source

The second source on our list means that molds can strive for any organic substances you can think of right now. Talking of wood, paper, plant material, cloth, you name it, they can grow in it. They can also survive well and grow on some man-made materials like textiles, adhesives, and even paints. But, luckily, it cannot consume and strife on non-living inorganic matter, examples are metals, concrete, or glass. How lucky are those who live in glass houses right?

Source of dampness/moisture

As we have said earlier, Mold will grow in areas that have a lot of dampness/moisture, like places with leaks in roofs, pipes, windows, or where there has been flooding. This translates to the more the moisture, the more rent-free mold will stay.

Mold and Your Health

Molds health effects come in a two way perspective - indoors and outdoors. They appear to be docile creatures when they are indoors, unless the spores land on a damp, or wet spot and begin to grow.

The most common indoor molds are Penicillium, Cladosporium, and Aspergillus. There are set of individuals who are allergic to these Molds. You see, Molds give off some substances that causes skin irritations, and also produce mycotoxins (toxic substances). Any contact with mold, either through inhalation or physical contact with mold spores could lead to allergic reactions such as hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, skin rash (dermatitis), runny nose, and red eyes.

These allergic reactions can occur either right away or after some time. Individuals who are asthma survivors can have an allergy to this fungus. Its allergy can trigger asthma attacks if exposed too much. Being exposed to mold can also cause irritation in the skin, lungs, eyes, skin, throat, and nose for individuals who are both allergic and non-allergic to mold. It is rare for individuals to experience symptoms other than allergic or irritant reactions when inhaling mold.

In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) digged out enough evidence to make a connection between indoor mold exposure and various health issues. These issues could be summed up to coughing, upper respiratory tract symptoms, and wheezing in those who are healthy to their bones. For individuals who are susceptible to hypersensitivity pneumonitis, they may experience this immune-mediated condition due to mold exposure.

Ongoing research is being conducted to better understand the relationship between mold and its impact on human health.
mold image
Photo from Ian Sample on The Guardian

Maintenance and Damp Prevention

The best way to maintain and prevent damping is to look for signs of mold growth, warping, water stains, or odors under the nose to find the source of the smell. Yes, they smell— really bad. They produce this musty smell, and this smell is the first sign of a problem.

Mold would surely grow in an environment with much water, and this needs to be controlled. You can control mold by hitting the brake on moisture in your home. This is the right way to say goodbye to your mold problems.

Sometimes, it's important to thoroughly inspect areas that are not that easy to think of, like behind wallpaper, under carpets, within walls, and inside cabinets. Always keep certain areas of the home in check when it comes to mold growth. Placing them into your regular cleaning routine is key. Let’s take a look at some mold prevention tips:

Reduce condensation

Install and make use of exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens that are attached to the exterior
Vent your water heaters, furnaces, gas fireplaces and clothes dryer outside
Seal or Insulate cold spots (e.g: water pipes)
Minimize making use of humidifiers
Increase the temperature level and increase the air circulation to colder parts of the home

Divert and direct water away from the house

Ensure that the ground and pavements are sloped away from the foundation to prevent water accumulation.
Make sure that your gutters are thoroughly clean and well-maintained
Learn how to install and utilise a sump pump effectively

Repair spills and leaks as soon as possible

It's important to regularly inspect your plumbing, roofing, foundations, gutters, attics, crawl spaces, and sump pumps to ensure they're in good condition.
Ensure that wet materials are thoroughly dried within a day or two to dampen the growth of mold.
To prevent ice dams, it is important to insulate and seal any air leaks between the attic and the rest of the house. This will help ensure a perfectly consistent temperature and prevent warm air from escaping, which can contribute to the formation of ice dams.
You should first and foremost get in contact with a professional damp surveyor so that he or she can identify the exact sources of the damp, and then a professional and specific solution can be used. Cleaning up your damp is quite important as you could see, so for a healthy environment, the above guidelines can be followed to achieve such.


Mold and dampness can have serious consequences for both our well-being and the structural stability of buildings. Addressing these issues promptly and implementing effective moisture control measures, along with regular maintenance, is a great step for creating healthier and safer indoor environments.


[email protected]. “What Separates Mould From Damp Conditions?” Advanced Damp Ltd, 30 Jan, 2024.

Philp, Ken. “How Much Humidity Does Mold Need to Grow?” Ken Philp ClimateCare, 9 Feb. 2023.

"How Mold Grows and More: Your Mold Questions Answered." Wet & Forget Blog, 27 June 2018.

Article by
David Smith
David is a urologist with over 9 years of experience. He is also the Co-fonder of BladGo, where he regularly shares his expertise in the field of urology. David is committed to keeping readers up-to-date on the latest urological research and to sharing other beneficial healthcare tips and information so that they can live healthier lives.

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