The growth of mold and mildew in residential, commercial, and municipal structures as many different factors. The construction of the building, proper ventilation, and water leaks can all play a factor. And while many of these are controllable, the weather is not one of them. Certain seasons and weather events can have an impact on large buildings. Let’s unpack a Mass.gov article called “Preventing mold growth in Massachusetts schools during hot, humid weather” to learn a bit more about how MA’s summer weather affects structures like these.
Understanding the Dew Point
The above report looks at schools and other municipal builds that experienced significant mold growth that caused delays and required significant funds to perform mold remediation. This was due in part to lessened maintenance in summer, but also due to “the dew point.” The dew point is the temperature that a surface has to be for humidity condensate on it, something you’ve probably seen on cold beverages. As the temperature and humidity of the air rises, so does the dew point. A few examples:
- At a temperature of 45 oF and a relative humidity of 52%, the dew point temperature at which condensation collects on a surface is around 28 oF
- At a temperature of 76 oF and a relative humidity of 30%, the dew point temperature at which condensation collects on a surface is around 42 oF
- At a temperature of 85 oF and a relative humidity of 30%, the dew point temperature at which condensation collects on a surface is around 83 oF
Condensation and Mold Growth
With the above examples, especially with the last one, you can see how water can start to condense on materials only slightly cooler than the surrounding air, such as materials that are in the shade or indoors. When water condenses on materials that aren’t treated to reply water and mold, these porous and carbon-containing materials (such as drywall, carpeting, cloth, and wood-fiber materials) can start to grow mold. In two years of the above report’s study, 30 government-run buildings had to delay openings and spend significant amounts of money on mold remediation.
Unless these materials are dried by HVAC, ventilation, or other air and heating elements, mold growth becomes a real possibility. If you’ve found mold in your building, it’s time to call in the specialists to deal with it. Fiber Control, Inc. is a full-service hazardous material inspection and remediation service, including asbestos, mold, and lead. Contact us today, and make sure to also read our other articles on understanding, identifying, and dealing with mold.