The Fungus is Among Us
The majority of us find molds repulsive and quite gross. We don’t jump in excitement at the sight of it and we definitely don’t like it growing in our own homes. It can creep underneath the carpet and floor boards, snake its way into the walls, and even start destroying our foods. Molds can grow on just about anything, as long as moisture is present. This produces a problem for people because even the smallest of water damage can assist in the development of mold. Ultimately, it can affect the structural integrity of a home and cost hundreds of dollars in remediation depending on the extent of the damage. Water damage caused by flooding, sewage back-up, plumbing and appliance leaks, leaky air conditioners and water heaters, overflows from bathtubs and sinks, damp basements and attics, and roof leaks, is subject to mold and mildew. Learning about toxic mold and mildew will help homeowners become more aware about the potential dangers it generates and why it is important to prevent mold before it worsens.
What is Mold?
Molds are micro-organisms that play the role of nature’s decomposers. It is vital to the environment because it helps decay dead substances and deposits them back into the ecosystem for re-birth. It is also destructive because it can cause mold damage to homes and allergy issues for some individuals. Moisture is its life source and as long as it is present, it can take less than 48 hours for spores to grow. In order for mold to reproduce, it begins to produce spores which are microscopic organisms carried through the air and attach themselves onto moisture rich areas allowing the continuance of growth. They start destroying and eating away at the materials they latch onto and continue spreading from there. By not drying out the moisture as urgently as possible, the mold will only become exacerbated.
Types of Mold
Like the rainbow, mold comes in a variety of different colors. Molds can range from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, brown, tan, white, and black. Unfortunately, the color does not help you much in the situation. Color can only really help scientists determine the species of the mold but only that point in time. There is a wide belief that some colors of mold, like black, are the most toxic mold. This is a misconception because black mold is normally congenial and quite common in the environment. There are some black molds that are toxic but certain white molds are also toxic. The most common types of mold found in homes are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Aureobasidium, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys.
Alternaria: is considered one of the most common outdoor molds. But, this mold does like to make its way into households though feeding on mostly damp areas like the shower or near leaky pipes underneath the sink. Alternaria needs minimal moisture to survive so it can also be found in duct-work and upholstery. It spreads quickly and in fact, quite easily. This mold is dark in color (black or grey) and can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks in people.
Aspergillus: is commonly found indoors and can cause serious allergic reactions, respiratory infections and more severely, inflammation and bleeding in the lungs. This mold is normally seen in clusters of green circles. It can grow on insulation and walls.
Aureobasidium: is often found outdoors but can latch itself onto wallpaper, painted surfaces, window frames, and caulking exposed to moisture. Bathrooms can be a popular area for this mold because of the constant moisture. This mold is often seen as pink or black and can cause allergic reactions in many people.
Chaetomium: grows in water damaged drywall areas. This mold has a musty odor and appears brown and covered in hair.
Cladosporium: is a unique mold because it can grow in warm and cool temperatures. It is often found growing in homes and has a taste for carpets, cabinets, and floorboards. This mold can cause pulmonary and respiratory issues as well as infections to the skin and toenails. It can appear green, brown, grey or black.
Fusarium: is fast growing and can survive in cooler temperatures as well. It has been found growing on water damaged carpet and appears pale and lightly colored. This mold can cause respiratory issues, allergic reactions, and asthma attacks in people.
Penicillium: is found growing all over your home as long as there is water damage. It latches onto carpeting, inside walls, insulation, mattresses and upholstery. It spreads quickly, efficiently, and appears blue, green, or white. This mold causes allergic reactions, lung inflammation, and chronic sinus infections.
Stachybotrys: is the infamous slimy black mold that has gone viral in the media. It produces toxic compounds which can cause allergic reactions, chronic sinus infections, and asthma attacks when people come in contact. This mold also has a musty odor and thrives in very damp areas like A/C ducts or near leaky pipes
If you have experienced water damage in your home and are wondering whether or not mold growing, give us a call to come to your home for a free assessment and evaluation. From there, we can get rid of the mold and eliminate any signs of moisture. It is crucial to call a water damage specialist immediately after seeing signs of water damage. Inspecting areas frequently that are prone to water damage can prevent the growth of mold and a whole lot of money.