5 Unexpected Places You Might Find Mold in Your Home

Mold can sneak up on you. One moment your home, apartment or office is fine, the next you appear to have mold.

Mold needs a cocktail of five things in order to take root and thrive: moisture, darkness, something to grow on, minimal air flow, and organic ingredients. Virtually any spot with this combination of factors can turn into a breeding ground for mold.

Some places for mold growth are pretty obvious. Showers that are not kept clean may develop mold on the tiles or ceiling. The space underneath kitchen sinks can be susceptible to mold, too, without periodic cleaning and ventilation.

There are a few spots you might not immediately think of, however. We’re going to outline some of them so you know where to look, that way you can catch mold growth before it gets out of control. Some of these spots include:

Beneath Your Fridge

Whether in your fridge drip pan or beneath the fridge in general, this is a prime spot for mold to develop and thrive. The reasons are obvious. The area gets poor air circulation, can be damp or gather wetness from spills, and is rarely ever accessed. It’s a great breeding ground.

Around Your Air Conditioner

The enemy here is condensation combined with all the goodies the air conditioner sucks in from outside, such as pollen spores, dirt and mold spores. The result is a good spot for mold to grow. It can form around the outsides of your in-window air conditioner, and inside air conditioners of all types.

Under Your Carpet Pad

This is a tricky one to spot. Moisture from spills or leaks, or in the case of carpeting in basement areas, from condensation or “bleeding” floors, can get beneath your carpet pad and end up becoming a nearly invisible spot for mold to grow.

After a time it can even get into your carpet (which is when you’ll probably notice it). A damp carpet or a carpet with odors is a sign that it may have mold. How to prevent this? The best way is good old fashioned cleanliness. 

Inside Your Cavity Walls

A cavity wall is a wall formed by two “skins” with an open space in between, such as an outer layer of brick and an inner layer of masonry. These walls have advantages, especially for insulating your home or building, but if moisture is allowed to access the inside it can prove a perfect place for mold to grow.

Even worse, it’s a place where it can grow undetected for years, since there is rarely ever a reason to open a cavity wall. The best way to address this before thousands in damage is done is with prevention, and the best approach to that is to quickly and thoroughly repair any leaks or holes in order to keep moisture out.

Within Paper Products

If you have stacks of newspapers in a room that gets damp, or books that became water-logged, you just might have a mold breeding ground. Mold can take root in books, papers and cardboard, and once it does it can spread quickly.

Dispose of papers showing signs of mold, and do not return soaked books to the shelf until they’ve had a long, long, thorough drying period.

Mold is more than a nuisance. It can actually be hazardous to your health. Knowing where to look for it might save you thousands in the long term.

(Need to know if there's mold lingering in your Northeast Ohio home? Sign up for a free Home Health Audit.)

Avoiding Mold During Those Blistering Cleveland Summers

Cleveland is a hot city for many reasons, but sometimes it’s just plain hot hot.

This may be good for people who love summer, but it’s also good for a visitor you don’t want in your home, apartment, or office: mold.

This is especially true in the region surrounding Cleveland, where moist air from the lake and sweltering temperatures create ideal conditions for mold growth.

In fact, Richard E. Gots, founder of the International Center for Toxicology and Medicine, estimates that a whopping 70% of homes could have mold inside their walls.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though – and thankfully for you, you’ve come to the right place for ways to avoid mold taking root in your home or business. Here’s what to keep in mind:

Run the A/C While On Vacation

Summer is a time when a lot of us head away for a week or two. That’s fun, and it also means we won’t be spending as much money on our electricity bill … but you shouldn’t go totally without electricity.

Leaving your A/C off while you’re away is an invitation for mold to creep in and make itself at home. This will keep humidity levels lower, get some air circulation going, and control the temperatures that can assist mold in its efforts to take over your home or office.

Monitor Your Humidity

Humidity is something we don’t tend to pay much attention to, unless we’re sitting around drenched in our own sweat (which isn’t uncommon if you’re in the Cleveland city limits). It’s a major factor in mold growth, however, especially during the summer months.

Thankfully, humidity monitors are cheap, starting at only around $20. Look for readings of between 35% and 50%, with possible spikes to 55% during the summer. When it starts to climb to 60% and more, however, you are in mold territory.

That means it’s time to take steps to control the humidity, such as using a dehumidifier.

Cover the Crawl Space or Basement Floor

If you have a basement or a crawl space, it’s pretty much a summer vacation spot for Ohio strains of mold. Groundwater seeps into these places and evaporates into your home, adding moisture and humidity that can lead to mold.

This is especially accelerated during the summer months, when the heat speeds evaporation. Thankfully, you can have a simple vapor barrier installed that will prevent this cycle from taking place and greatly minimizing the risk of mold in your home or business.

There is nothing quite like Ohio summers. The weather is beautiful, there are many things to do, and the people are great.

But mold isn’t so great, so follow our advice and take the above steps to ensure your home or office doesn’t become a summer getaway for mold.

(Need to know if there's mold lingering in your Northeast Ohio home? Sign up for a free Home Health Audit.)