Considering that it’s technically a fungus, incapable of moving on its own, the mold is pervasive as well as tenacious about trying to establish itself in your home. The process by which it invades is so seemingly passive. The spores merely float on the breeze, coming into your home when you open a door or a window.
If those spores find favorable moist and warm conditions, the can land and start to colonize shockingly fast. Some type of mold can potentially establish themselves and start releasing new spores of their own in a little over 24-hours!
Mold also seems to have a strange sense of creativity when it comes to all the places it can infest. Sure, a poorly ventilated bathroom or kitchen seems obvious. Basements also have a reputation for being damp, and less-visited parts of the home, where mold can get a chance to develop an unnoticed foothold. Even the carpet of a downstairs closet or on the drywall surrounding your home’s primary wet wall can host mold spores.
Yet mold doesn’t just stop at those obvious and less-than-obvious places. It almost has a sense of humor about where it can establish itself and the materials it can make a home. Mold tends to like porous materials. So, you probably wouldn’t be shocked to hear that it can set itself up on wooden surfaces.
However, a growing number of homeowners who are dealing with mold infesting their home’s fiberglass insulation!
What Are The Signs That Mold Has Infested My Fiberglass Insulation?
This is one of those tricky things. Fiberglass insulation is intended to help your home with heat retention or to reduce the effects of outside heat on the interior of your home. This typically calls for it to be installed in places that aren’t always easy to see or really even all that easy to get to.
There are different ways that fiberglass insulation might be used in your house. Sometimes it is loosely blown into the walls as a low-cost form of spray insulation. Fiberglass insulation is also relatively common in batting rolls made from finely spun glass fibers to produce a light and fluffy material. This type of fiberglass insulation is often laid down in strips in the attic. However, some homes also have it stapled or adhesively attached between the studs of their exterior walls.
At first glance, it almost looks a little bit like pink cotton candy. Yet you wouldn’t want to put it in your mouth, and even touching it with your bare skin can leave tiny shards of irritating glass in the upper layers of your epidermis. When fiberglass insulation is disturbed it can sometimes release into the air causing irritation in the nose, throat, and lungs.
Insulation’s job is to essentially hold tiny pockets of air. This decreases the amount of thermal transfer that occurs between the interior of your house and the outside world. However, it’s not the only form of insulation that might be present in your walls, attic, or other parts of the house.
Vermiculite looks somewhat like flakes of mica with how it shimmers. It might be loosely applied in your home as fill insulation in your home. Sometimes mineral wool looks white or gray and is made in a similar fashion to the process of creating fiberglass insulation.
In recent years open and closed cell spray insulations have grown in popularity. They are less likely to interact with the particulate matter of your home. This includes things like airborne mold spores.
How Does Fiberglass Insulation Host Mold?
Mold can grow on just about any porous surface, so long as there are sufficient moisture and the right temperature. It’s especially likely to affect fiberglass insulation if there is water present from something like a minor roof leak that’s gone unrepaired.
Most homes today are constructed with a water vapor barrier which is designed to prevent the ground the structure sits on from releasing soil-based water vapor back the home. Yet some older homes don’t have a vapor barrier in place, and even some newer homes that have a vapor barrier with faults or it was otherwise installed incorrectly. In these situations, the compromised relationship between the outside world and the interior of the home allows water vapor to become a persistent problem. This, in turn, increases the chances of your home having persistent mold problems.
In some of these scenarios, moisture collects along the barrier finding a way to enter through any holes or rips. As the problem continues to process it can gradually start to soak into the paper backing of the insulation as well as other places like the wood in the subfloor. This creates the perfect place for mold to thrive out of sight.
As you’re the failure of your fiberglass insulation continues to progress, it can lead to even more significant problems in other areas of your home. This could come in the form of heat loss in the winter or inefficiency in your air-conditioning system in the summer, which could cause condensation leaks which increase the potential for mold in your home.
How Do You Tell If You Have Mold In Your Fiberglass Insulation?
If you suspect there’s a mold problem with your fiberglass insulation or any other part of your home, it’s best to schedule an inspection with a mold remediation specialist. They have the tools and training to be able to assess the presence of mold in your home, including your insulation.
If they do find mold, they can then help you understand your options to remove it and restoring the healthy air quality of your home. This might include the total removal of affected materials, replacing carpets, and drywall.
In a case where a mold problem is found in your fiberglass insulation, you may need to have your house completely reinsulated. The mold remediation specialist will provide you with a variety of insulation options, once all the mold-infested fiberglass has been removed.
This might also include repairing or replacing sections of your home’s vapor barrier. They might also recommend installing a type of insulation that is less likely to host mold spores in the future, like open or closed spray foam insulation.