Living in humid climates can help produce mold inside your home

Mold will grow best at about 60 to 80 degrees.

Humidity is key to the lifecycle of mold. So what does this mean for the millions of Americans who live in humid climates? 

Well, high humidity just indicates high moisture. According to David Ragsdale, Production Manager for SERVPRO Industries, moisture really is the key, not necessarily humidity.

High humidity can exist at low temperatures, but mold will grow best at about 60 to 80 degrees. So it’s really just about moisture more than overall humidity in the atmosphere, Ragsdale stated.

Mold has to have two things in order to grow: a food source and moisture. Mold feeds on anything organic like wood, paper, textiles, clothing, or even dust.

"It's a lot of times when we see homes, sometimes mold will end up being on a lot of baseboards areas that may or may not get really good ventilation and they probably don't get clean very often," said Ragsdale. "So you end up having a build-up of dust mixed with low airflow, mixed with higher humidity. So now you get you kind of get the perfect storm if you will."

For people living in humid climate areas like Texas, Ragsdale said the best way to combat mold is good ventilation and dehumidification. 

Ragsdale suggested sometimes installing a dehumidifier ends up being something that can be beneficial to help control the humidity, which in turn helps control some of the mold problems someone may endure.

"Airflow or ventilation keeps high humidity from building up in entrapped spaces and things like an HVAC just operating properly helps keep your relative humidity or the ambient air inside a home below 60 percent," stated Ragsdale. 

According to Ragsdale, the ideal indoor humidity levels inside your home should be between 50 to 60 percent, especially if you are in a humid climate area. 

Areas like the desert southwest don’t see as many mold problems as areas on the East Coast or in the Southeast. It’s usually because the overall humidity in the area is so much lower and also with higher temperatures, that air can hold more moisture.

"Because of those higher temperatures, for instance, in the desert southwest, you could even have higher humidity, but because the temperature is so much higher, it doesn’t play a big role," said Ragsdale.

Ragsdale stated that a home in Phoenix couldn’t have a mold problem, but he said that’s typically going to be because there’s poor ventilation in the indoor environment from a humidity and temperature standpoint.

Once you do encounter mold or it’s established inside your home, you don’t want to allow it to blow across your home and affect other areas. 

"Air movement across mold or a moldy surface can actually spread spores to potentially unaffected areas," said Ragsdale. 

Ragsdale said so if you notice that there is mold inside your home, that’s not the time to go get a bunch of fans and try to start ventilating. It’s more about trying to minimize airflow to protect those unaffected areas.

"Many times just shutting the door can really be one of the simplest ways of containing mold," stated Ragsdale.