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Why Does Humidity Cause Mold?



Humid conditions very often will result in mold. But why? Keep reading, and Pure Air North Carolina will help you understand why humidity and mold go hand in hand.


If mold is a battle you have already fought in your home - or if it’s one you want to avoid - you need to pay close attention to the moisture level in your home. Humidity is literally moisture that is still within the air, whether this is outdoors or inside.


This humidity is normally associated with warmer temperatures and summer months. When warm air comes in contact with colder surfaces, it creates condensation. Condensation is actual moisture that you can see and feel. It can ruin surfaces like wood, and it can provide the perfect breeding ground for mold.


Why Humidity Leads to Mold


Once mold spores enter your home, they only need a couple of things to grow.


Moisture is the first.


Mold spores will most likely settle on a wet or moist surface like the shower wall or the ceiling above your stove where steam from cooking accumulates. In this new home, a continuous moisture source keeps it fed and spreading.


Mold will always be found in areas that are wet, moist, or have high humidity.


Food is the other thing mold needs.


Mold feeds on dust, food particles, and any other organic matter (skin cells, paper, etc.). Unfortunately, our homes are filled with these particles.


You can’t take away all sources of food for mold. It can eat through wood, paper, upholstery and more. And, of course, it’s commonly found on old food in the fridge or food that is left sitting out.


Climate is also a factor in mold growth.


Moderate temperature is ideal for mold, and we generally keep our homes at optimal temperatures for it to grow. Additionally, mold likes to hide in dark areas where it is less likely to be disturbed. However, you still may see it on basement or bathroom walls, right out in the open, if the conditions are right.


Reasons for Humidity


Humidity is your home’s enemy for many reasons. Controlling it is nearly impossible because it is usually weather related. If the cause of humidity is coming from an internal source, it is a little easier to get a handle on, but you have to figure out that cause first.


This may require the help of a mold specialist, plumber, or general handyman.


These are the most common causes of humidity in American homes:

  • Weather - Humidity is produced when different air currents come together. You may live in an area that is naturally higher in humidity all year round than other regions.

  • Condensation - Humidity frequently creates condensation in wetter rooms like the bathroom and kitchen. When excess water is allowed to sit on surfaces too long, stray mold spores can find it easily.

  • Poor ventilation - Homes that are not ventilated well are in a constant struggle against mold. The vents in your bathroom and kitchen are helpful, but you may need to install a more powerful system to lower the humidity within the rest of your home.

  • Leaks - An unnoticed leak can cause mold growth and end up costing you a lot of money as well.

Check these sources if you think the humidity level in your home is too high.


How to Prevent Humidity


Lowering the humidity inside your house is one of the best ways to prevent mold problems. According to experts, these are the best ways to keep the humidity low in your home.

  • Watch out for weather patterns.

You can’t stop the weather, obviously, but you can prepare for it. If you know that the humidity is supposed to be off the charts, you may want to add a dehumidifier to your home or run the ones in your bathroom continually to remove humidity and prevent condensation in the most at-risk areas of your home.

  • Check your ventilation system.

An whole-house ventilation system can reduce odors in your home and remove allergens, in addition to its obvious purpose of reducing humidity. Many new homes are being built with whole-house ventilation systems. Have yours checked periodically to make sure it is working correctly.


If your home does not have one of these systems, we suggest having one installed to reduce the risk of mold and help with seasonal allergies.

  • Run a dehumidifier

If humidity is a constant problem, you can run a dehumidifier all the time. Basements are notorious for being damp and having little to no ventilation, so they are the perfect place to add a stand-alone dehumidifier. This is even more appropriate if the rest of the house maintains a low humidity level and it’s only the basement that gives you problems.

  • Repair leaks and dripping faucets

You need to repair leaks immediately, no questions asked. It’s costing you money, and it creates a moisture source within your home that shouldn’t be there. For example, a dripping shower head will keep your entire bathroom humid. Leaks within the walls are even worse, as they can provide a direct water source for dreaded mold.


Contrary to popular belief, the humidity doesn’t have to be outrageously high to cause an issue. Humidity levels of just 30-50% within your home are sufficient for mold to grow. This is the normal range for most homes year round.


In addition to causing mold, humidity is linked to dehydration, muscle cramps, and several other side effects. However, removing all the humidity from the air is dangerous as well, and can lead to dry, itchy skin, the formation of wrinkles, and dry hair. It’s important to keep a balanced, normal humidity level in your home.


Monitoring the humidity in your home can help you determine if there’s an issue or if you should take action.


You can purchase a water vapor detector to monitor moisture levels in your home. This can really help you identify a problem before excess humidity has a chance to foster mold growth.

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