Moisture detection and mold prevention

mold meters

Moisture meters and RH probes for mold detection in buildings

The importance of mold prevention

Microbial or mold growth is a serious problem in homes and buildings and can have negative effects on both the structure of the building and health of the occupants.

Detecting mold issues early is key to preventing further damage and ensuring the safety and health of the residents. 

Even better is mold prevention. By using tools such as moisture meters and Relative Humidity probes, areas that have the potential for microbial growth can be identified before mold gets a chance to develop. The appropriate remediation of the moisture and humidity issues can ensure the health of the building and its occupants.

What causes mold in a house?

Microbial growth indoors develops in places with high moisture or humidity levels. It is therefore very important to be aware of elevated dampness or humidity levels in buildings so that the appropriate remedial steps can be taken to avoid any mold related issues.

For example:

  • excess moisture in the air can cause condensation to form on walls and ceilings, this in turn can cause microbial growth.

  • Damp areas on walls, ceilings or floors caused by rising damp, water or flood damage can also become areas where mold can grow.

  • Poor ventilation can cause high humidity which can encourage microbial growth. 

It is important to note that high moisture or humidity readings alone aren't definitive proof of microbial growth, however if the circumstances are not remedied issues can arise.

mold in house

At what humidity level does mold grow?

Mold requires a certain level of humidity to grow, generally higher than 60% RH, so checking relative humidity can help identify areas that may be at risk for microbial growth.

Is black mold dangerous for your health?

The dangers of living in a space with microbial growth varies, depending on the type and the extent of the microbial growth, and the individual's sensitivity to it.

For health and safety reasons it is advisable to have mold professionally tested, if you find it growing in your house.

Exposure to black mold can pose various health risks, particularly for those who are sensitive or allergic to microbial growth or those who are immunocompromised. 

allergies to mold

Black mold related health issues:

  • Black mold spores can cause respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions may be particularly vulnerable.

  • Some individuals may be allergic to microbial growth, which can cause symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

  • Direct contact with black mold can cause skin irritation, such as redness and itchiness.

  • Exposure to black mold can cause headaches and fatigue, particularly in individuals already sensitive to it.

  • Some studies suggest that exposure to this microbial growth may be associated with neurological symptoms such as memory loss and difficulty concentrating.

Does hidden black mold pose a health risk?

Yes, hidden and undetected black mold is still a health hazard and can be concerning because it may go unnoticed for an extended period of time, allowing the microbial growth to spread and exacerbate.

Mold can grow in hidden or hard-to-reach areas, for example behind walls, under carpets, and in air conditioning ducts if those areas have high moisture or humidity levels.

It is also important to note that microbial growth doesn't always have a strong odor, so the presence of a musty smell isn't always a reliable indicator.


hidden mold

How to detect mold in a house or building

Checking a house or building for high moisture and humidity levels, is a good starting point as microbial growth needs high moisture and humidity levels to thrive.

A pinless moisture meter is an ideal tool for moisture inspections behind a surface material or in hard-to-reach places as mold can often grow undetected whenever moisture and humidity levels are consistently high. 

The advantages of non-destructive moisture meters is that they can detect elevated moisture levels without damaging the surface material, inspect a large area in a short amount of time and help identify areas that may be at risk for microbial growth.

A moisture map can help visualize any potential problem areas. Moisture mapping provides a detailed visual presentation of the moisture content levels within a specified surface area. These maps show both ‘known’ and ‘unknown’ trouble spots and can reveal the scale of the moisture issue.

ME5 on wall

How to detect mold in walls

As microbial growth tends to develop in places with elevated moisture conditions, a non-destructive moisture meter such as the Tramex Moisture Encounter ME5  and Moisture Encounter MEX5 can locate elevated moisture levels within building structures, such as walls and ceilings, without damaging the surface area.

The dual depth feature allows you to measure moisture levels at two different depths within a material or structure. Readings can be taken at both the surface level and at a deeper depth. If the readings at the deeper depth are higher than those at the surface, it could indicate trapped moisture and these conditions may be conducive to microbial growth.


RH probes for detecting high humidity levels within building cavities

As mold requires a certain level of humidity to grow, generally higher than 60% RH, checking relative humidity can help identify high risk areas. 

Tramex Relative Humidity (RH) probes probes measure the relative humidity of the air gaps within building structures such as walls, ceilings, and floors. RH probes and sensors are typically inserted into the material being tested through small drill holes and can provide temperature, Relative Humidity and dew point readings.


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RH probes in wall cavity

What to do if you have high moisture and humidity readings?

In the event of high moisture or humidity readings, it is advisable to check  the following:

  • Has the area been damaged by water, such as a flood or a leak? 

  • Is the relative humidity in the area is consistently high (above 60%)? 

  • Are the building materials organic such as wood or drywall. Organic materials can be a food source for microbial growth.

  • Is there a lot of condensation? 

  •  Are there visible signs of microbial growth, such as discoloration or a musty odor.

In all cases, immediate remedial action is needed to correct the underlying issue that is causing the high moisture and humidity levels.

professional removing mold

How to get rid of mold in a house or building

If evidence of mold growth is found, it's important to take appropriate steps to remove it and address any underlying moisture issues to prevent future growth.

This may involve working with a professional mold remediation service, especially if the mold growth is extensive or in a hard-to-reach area.

How to prevent microbial growth in buildings

  • Mold thrives in damp and humid environments, so it's important to keep humidity levels in your home below 60%. You can use a dehumidifier to help control humidity levels.
  • Fix water leaks promptly to prevent moisture buildup and potential mold growth.
  • Bathrooms and kitchens are prone to moisture buildup, so make sure to properly ventilate the space.
  • The HVAC system can contribute to moisture buildup and mold growth if it's not properly maintained. Make sure to have it inspected regularly and change air filters as needed.
dehumidifier for mold prevention

The right moisture inspection and mold prevention equipment



Tramex Water Damage Restoration Inspector kit

As there are severe risks to living in an environment with high levels of moisture and humidity, both for your health and for the longevity of the building structure, it is essential that you use reliable moisture and relative humidity meters when conducting a moisture inspection to prevent or locate microbial growth. 

The Tramex Water Damage Restoration Kits contain the necessary equipment to carry out a full and thorough inspection of floors, walls and ceilings. They offer non-destructive moisture meters and probes for further investigation, deeper within the building structure.

With the correct remediation methods, high moisture and humidity problems can be resolved and even prevented.

Why Risk it? Test with Tramex


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