Northern Thermal Comfort
2379 Rux Rd.
Arbor Vitae, WI 54568

The Insulation Lab

Unforeseen Consequences - Mold

Jeff Aderholdt - Sunday, February 14, 2016

There was a time when we didn't worry about energy efficiency. Energy was cheap. The technology to increase efficiency was expensive. It just wasn't cost effective, and therefore it wasn't a high priority. But then it changed. Starting in the mid-70s, energy costs started to rise dramatically. We started trading in our gas-guzzling American cars for more efficient Japanese imports. Interest increased in alternative forms of energy such as solar and wind. Some even built stills to make there own ethanol.

This concern over energy efficiency was not limited to our cars. Our homes were becoming more and more expensive to heat. Thus started a forty year trial and error project to stop our houses from hemorrhaging energy. The bleeding needed to be stopped, or at least lessened. We started adding insulation. We started plugging holes. All of this was new to us. We never saw some of the consequences that would result from our efforts. One of these consequences was, and is, mold. Some of the techniques we used, and still use, create a perfect breeding ground for mold. This danger is more severe in the extremely cold climates. Southern, warm and humid climates are also at risk, but that is not my expertise. Though the science can be extrapolated for use in such climates, I will leave that discussion to those who know it better. My focus continues to be on cold climate issues. For mold to grow, you need three things: temperature, moisture and food.