Asked on Jun 15, 2013

Why did mold grow in the space with my microwave

Sherrie S
by Sherrie S
I have lived in my home over 24 years & never had mold in any room including the bathrooms and laundry. Today I was having my 9 year old microwave replaced and that entire area had a LOT of mold. The new microwave will not be installed until I know how/why this happened and what I should do/not do. I was shocked and still am. The cabinets surrounding it have no mold outside or inside.
  5 answers
  • Jeannine Maranchuk Jeannine Maranchuk on Jun 16, 2013
    My guess would be not enough air circulation. I live in a 5th wheel trailer on Vancouver Island & the winters are very damp here. Mold grows everywhere here if air circulation is minimal. I open all the cupboards and place a small fan in the bedroom on the floor to keep air circulating around & through the closet. If I do not do this, then I get moisture built up and that leads to mold. I also do not overpack my cupboards, keep my clothes from blocking the floor of the closet & do not put things up against the walls as that just invites moisture & then mold. A lot of the trailers here in the campground are just disgusting because of inadequate air circulation. Hope this helps.
  • If the microwave was a combo vent microwave unit, I would look at the quality of the vent system that it should be connected to. Moisture when the vent fan runs is most likely not getting out of the house because of a failed connection or faulty vent pipe and or hood. This would be my first guess. If the micro recirculates the air back into the room, check the old unit to see if they properly converted the unit to do this. If they did not properly convert it to the type of vent that should be there, it could have been blowing all the moisture into the cabinet space and then allowing the rest to vent out of the front grill. In any case I think your issue is the venting and the way it was installed and connected.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 16, 2013
    Do you think the cabinet should be replaced or can the mold be removed with some chemical? It really looks horrible in that area but didn't spread to any other cabinet. Thank you.
  • You can simply use a good quality cleaner or bleach to wipe it clean and you should be fine. The wall behind the unit if its moldy do the same and then paint it using a mold preventive paint such as Zinzer primer that has mold additives in it. Unless there was real damage which I doubt has occurred you should be fine. The only way the mold will spread is if water has gotten behind elsewhere. Plus even if the mold did spread slightly behind each cabinet on each side, not to worry. Mold needs moisture to continue to grow. Once you solve the venting issue if that indeed was the problem, the mold will simply die and not spread. I would caulk between the back of the cabinet and the exposed wall just to seal off those areas should a moisture issue start again to prevent the dampness from getting to anything you cannot reach. In addition it will prevent any mold spores from spreading should some exist.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Jun 16, 2013
    The man that was here to install the new microwave said (just as you posted) the unit was improperly installed and didn't vent properly. Thank you so very much for your valuable help. I sure wish you serviced my area.