Mold is a fungus that is a part of our natural environment. Mold growth and fungal spores can be found both outdoors (where they play an important role in nature by breaking down dead organic materials) and indoors, where mold contamination and growth should be avoided.
In an indoor environment, mold growth can occur when fungal spores land on surfaces that provide the optimal conditions for proliferation and growth. When spores are present in an indoor environment and land on a surface that has appropriate temperature conditions, moisture (condensation, humidity, leak, chronic water intrusion) and a nutrient/food (such as organic material or dust), mold contamination and growth may start to occur.
In a residential environment, most mold growth and contamination occur in areas of high moisture or water intrusion, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, basements, or where plumbing or roofing issues allow for chronic moisture to occur. Any area that is wet, damp (due to condensation/high humidity ect.) or has had recent flood related or leak related issues (such as cracks in foundations, pipe leaks, roof leaks or areas around house plants) offer optimal conditions for mold growth.
Often, mold growth will just require spores to be present in the right place at the right time. Growth can begin to occur in as little as a few hours within a moist environment that is present in combination with room temperature conditions and an organic food source. Given the presence of spores, moisture and appropriate temperature conditions, almost any organic substance (that contains carbon atoms) will provide the nutrients required to support mold growth. Many of the most common materials found within a residential environment, such as wood, paper or organic fibers, are among the most preferred mold nutrient.
Additionally, most molds can grow very well at the same temperature conditions that we as humans prefer as ideal comfort levels. Even near freezing temperature may not be enough to prevent mold growth. As such, the best means to prevent mold growth within your environment is to control or minimize the spores exposure to moisture.
If you suspect a mold contamination, or the presence of mold spores within your home or office, it is important to have it properly investigated by a professional mold inspection and air quality testing professional. When choosing a service provider, it is always best to select a company that deals in mold inspection and testing services only, and does not engage or offer any sort of mold removal or remediation services. This avoids any conflict of interest or self-serving results geared at selling you costly services you may not require.