The following conditions are necessary for mold growth to occur on surfaces:
Since the first three conditions are present in most building environments, moisture is often the primary condition we attempt to combat in the fight against mold growth. Unfortunately, moisture makes for a cunning enemy because of its ability to infiltrate openings in a building’s shell both as a liquid (e.g. bathrooms, kitchens, pipe leaks) and as a gas (e.g. travelling water vapour, exhalation by occupants, attachment to clothing). When all four conditions are present, mold growth typically occurs either at the source of the leak or where moisture in the air first makes contact with the coldest surface in a building (e.g. a window, framing, exposed exterior materials). The latter is how mold often ends up in unexpected places. When moisture in the air hits the colder surface, it transforms into a liquid on the building material through condensation (think cold drink on a hot day), creating an ideal environment for mold growth.
When you see mold, it's already too late.
To most accurately predict mold germination and growth, we need to measure the composition of all four conditions at each surface that is a potential risk (e.g. window one, window two, building crack one, etc.). While very expensive, this approach also assumes a building operator can successfully predict exactly where mold will eventually first occur. Tricky business.
Areas commonly at risk for mold generally have cold external walls, or poor insulation, or poor ventilation. For example:
Rather than measuring for all conditions at each individual surface, Solve™ provides a heuristic prediction approach by continually monitoring a robust area and calculates its moving ‘Dew Point’ temperature to determine critical mold growth environments. Dew Point temperature is scientifically seen as the most practical indicator to predict mold within a high probability. Solve calculates Dew Point in real-time using inexpensive sensors that monitor an area’s ambient temperature and relative humidity, drastically reducing the building’s costs.
As Solve continually calculates Dew Point, it weighs it against the real-time relative humidity data to report on which building areas exhibit mold growth environments. Because building surfaces commonly cycle between wet and dry states, Solve also indicates how often mold growth conditions occur and when they’re occurring. This makes it easy for building operators to understand the relative conditions of each area, which are the highest risks, and which are the most urgent.
Building operators can then proactively take informed action to offset mold growth conditions by reducing the moisture content of the air, increasing air movement at the surface, or increasing the air temperature.
Place a small battery-powered wireless sensor in each area to be monitored. Connect a LoRaWAN gateway to your local network (similar to a Wifi router).
The sensors send raw environmental data through the LoRaWAN network to Solve™, where it's decoded, assessed for alerting conditions, and saved for reporting.
|Hardware sensor||$40-$80 each|
Your existing (non-technical) staff typically does the onsite installation of the gateway and sensors. Solve includes free onboarding and support.
|Each registered user||$39|
|Each monitored point||$6|
Solve™ is a subscription, and the total price is based on the number of active users and monitored points. Solve Core includes the use of the Solve CRM/ticketing apps, IoT cloud hosting and management, security, awesome support, third-party integrations and free updates.
All recurring prices are broken down monthly, but in many cases they may be billed annually.
Once the LoRaWAN network and Solve accounts are in-place additional solutions can be layered in by simply installing more "sensors" and enabling the corresponding "monitored points".
Risks of mold growth:
Minimum conditions for mold germination and growth:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness.” Last reviewed August 11, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm.
Lawrence, Mark and Planck, Max. “The Relationship between Relative Humidity and the Dewpoint Temperature in Moist Air: A Simple Conversion and Applications.” American Meteorological Society. (February 2005): 225 - 234.
Tsongas, G. A. and Riordan, Frank. “Minimum Conditions for Visible Mold Growth.” ASHRAE Journal 58, no. 9. (September 2016): 32 - 43.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. “Appendix C: Moisture, Mold and Mildew.” Accessed August 10, 2020. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-09/documents/appenc.pdf.