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Interior Mold Issues

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Mold or mildew? This is on the paneling in the closet where there is no air vent present. I pulled a piece of the paneling away from the wall and pulled up the carpet as well. There does not seem to be any moisture or mold behind the paneling or on the concrete floor and padding under the carpet. Do I use white vinegar vs bleach vs something else? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

White mold on interior wall.

Yes, this is very likely mold growth (mold and mildew are interchangeable).   The mold growth is likely due to condensation.  This is due to the fact you didn’t find evidence of mold and moisture on the backside of the paneling.  If the mold growth was from a water intrusion, we would expect to see even more growth on the backside of the paneling.  You have a couple of ways to prevent future growth.  First, increase the heat and ventilation in this room.  The higher the heat, the less condensation will form on the wall paneling.

Second, insulate the wall cavity behind the paneling.  This will increase the temperature of the wall paneling and eliminate condensation.  Clearly this is a more involved solution than the first step (increase heat & ventilation).

I also recommend purchasing a relative humidity gauge to monitor the room during the winter months.  Depending on your climate, you want to keep it under 50% RH.