Does your home have a musty odor that continues to persist even after cleanup? Is the air quality in your attic, basement, or any other indoor space concerning? If this is the case, you probably have a mold problem. Mold is a fungus consisting of small organisms that appear black, white, orange, green, or purple on different materials.
Mold thrives in a damp and poorly ventilated environment at home. It reproduces by spores, which means the reproductive cell can develop into a new partition without fusion with another reproductive cell.
Mold growth is prevalent in a home where the walls, floor, carpet, and furniture facilitate its spread. Many people use the terms mold and mildew synonymously, though there are some differences. You can identify mildew by its growth since it spreads in a flat pattern and appears as a powdery or fluffy appearance.
Also, it presents itself as a white patch or a gray yellow fungus lying on a moist area. Molds are usually fuzzy and slimy in appearance, and this differentiates them from mildew.
Dangers Of Mold Growth On Human Health
Mold exposure can cause harm to both you and your home. The effects on one’s health depend on the extent of mold growth and how sensitive you are to it. Some molds are highly toxic and can harm children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with preexisting conditions. Mold can cause chest and nasal stuffiness, skin irritation, eye irritation, and other conditions.
What type Of Mold Is In My House?
Mold is either allergenic, pathogenic, or toxigenic. Allergenic mold causes allergic reactions, pathogenic mold causes diseases, while toxigenic molds produce toxic substances. These can further be broken down into 12 different types of mold, namely:
This starts visible, small, and moist but then turns into a powder-like substance. It is usually pink, grey, orange, or white. It is very dangerous and can cause diseases of the bone marrow immune system and other organs. In extreme cases, it can impair brain function.
This allergenic mold has the texture of velvet with dark green or brown hairs. It is usually present in bathtubs, showers, and under sinks that are leaking. This particular mold causes asthma-like symptoms.
This allergenic mold and has flask-shaped spores. There are more than 185 species of this mold, which is why it comes in different colors. It can cause lung infections and respiratory inflammation. Besides, some aspergillus species can produce aflatoxins.
An allergenic mold is mostly present behind wallpapers and wooden surfaces. It can be pink, brown, or black. It is dangerous since it can cause eyes, skin, and nail diseases. It can cause a skin rash, and therefore, it is advisable not to contact it using bare hands.
This mold is common in basement foundations and leaky pipes. It appears white, grey and brown, and black and is characterized by a cotton-like texture. Also, you may easily recognize it by its stuffy smell and compromised indoor air. It can produce mycotoxins that can be deadly to people with compromised immune systems.
This allergenic mold can grow in both warm and cold conditions. It is often found in fabrics, carpets, floorboards, and inside cupboards. It is olive green or brown with a suede-like texture. Exposure to this mold can cause eye, nose, throat, skin allergic reactions, skin rashes, lung disease, and sinusitis. It is advisable not to touch the mold with bare hands as it may cause skin and lung irritation.
This mold is both allergenic and toxigenic, and it grows in homes with water damage, carpets, wallpaper, and other fabrics. It has a pink, white or reddish appearance and often grows on food products and in compost. This mold causes skin disease, sore throats, running nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes when exposed to it. Prolonged contact with this mold can cause deadly conditions such as bone infections and brain abscesses. Besides, this mold can produce dangerous toxins that damage the nervous system, leading to internal bleeding.
This is an allergenic mold that grows on thick patches in air conditioning, HVAC systems, and damp carpets. It is usually white or grey. In case of exposure to this mold, one can experience difficulty in breathing and fever. Therefore, it is advised that a professional remove mucor and, in case you have to do it yourself, use mold remediation equipment and safety gear.
This is an allergenic mold that appears mostly in water-damaged homes, buildings, carpets, wallpapers, ducting, and mattresses. It is blue or green and has a velvety texture. This type of mold is unique since it is used in antibiotic production and food processing; however, it can cause bad respiratory issues such as pulmonary inflammation and asthma when it grows indoors. People with compromised immune systems should be exposed to penicillin to worsen preexisting conditions.
This mold is also known as black or toxic mold. It is toxigenic with dark green with a slimy texture. It thrives in areas with high humidity levels. It produces mycotoxins that can result in severe health problems, including difficulty breathing, sinusitis, a burning sensation in the airways, tightening in the chest, persistent cough, and painful headaches.
This is an allergenic mold that is white with green patches. It is commonly found in wet surfaces, carpets, fabrics, air conditioning filters, and HVAC system ducts. This mold contains an enzyme that destroys wood, paper products, and textiles and leads to rotting, and due to this, the structures end up crumbling.
This is a black mold. It survives best in wetness and thrives in places with extreme water damage. When exposed to this mold, people with preexisting immune disorders or prone to allergies can experience severe reactions. Also, one can face difficulty in breathing. Ulocladium can easily be confused with other types of mold.
How To Know If Mold Is Toxic
In case you are wondering if the mold at your house is toxic before conducting expert mold testing, here is a tip:
Look closely at the color and consistency. Toxic molds have a grayish, soot-like texture, slimy wet surface, furry orange, brown spots, or greenish-black hue. If you notice any of this, it is time to contact a professional to get rid of it.
Is White Mold Dangerous Compared To Black Mold?
White mold is powdery and can be white, green, or grey, depending on the pan’s surface. It thrives in areas with moisture levels such as showers and leaky walls. Black mold is dark greenish and has a slimy texture, and survives best in woods and cardboards. Black mold is more dangerous than white mold since it presents more health risks.
Mold Removal And Remediation
If it is in a small area, locate the mold and get rid of moldy materials that cannot be cleaned using safety gear such as gloves. If the mold infestation is on a larger scale, a professional mold remediation team will:
- Get rid of moldy items
- Use dehumidifiers to dry out the affected area since mold thrives in wet areas.
- Prepare the room to contain the mold problem using tape and plastic sheets to seal vents and doors.
- Establish negative air pressure to prevent mold spores from escaping into the rest of the home.
- Use a fungicide to kill the mold spores.
- Fix water leaks, floors, and drywall to eliminate excess moisture.
How To Prevent Molds
- Fix any leaky pipes, roof, and walls
- Keep humidity levels as low using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
- Ensure the air in your house flows freely.
- Add mold inhibitors or paints before painting.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Refrain from using carpets in places like bathrooms or basements that are frequently wet.
Suppose you live in Indianapolis, Indiana, or its environs, and you are concerned because the air quality in your home is stuffy. In that case, you need the services of a mold remediation company. Such a company will offer testing, removal, and restoration services.