Mold is a type of fungi that is found all around us and serves an essential function to a healthy ecosystem. Mold breaks down organic material such as cut grass, leaves, and rotting wood. While outdoor mold has a purpose and is nature’s friend, mold found inside our homes can quickly become a big problem.
Before you learn how to identify mold growth within your home, it’s a good idea to understand exactly what mold spores are, and how it manages to grow so rapidly.
What Are Mold Spores And How Do They Grow?
Mold reproduces through the release of mold spores. When exactly the spores are released is dependent on the type of mold it originates from and the current weather conditions at the time.
Some spores are released in dry, windy weather while others release in foggy conditions or when humidity is high. Generally, spore counts are highest after an extended rainfall, or after flood or water damage.
The tiny mold spores (less than half the width of a human hair) can settle on your clothes, shoes, coats, handbag or briefcase, and even on your pets. These spores can also enter your home through open windows, doors, screens, and your air conditioning system. They can even appear as tiny seeds that easily move about your house.
Mold spores are quite hardy. They can survive extreme weather conditions, and even if the conditions aren’t conducive to fungi development, air currents can easily transport mold spores to an area more favorable for growth. After mold spores enter your home and find a warm, wet environment, they will settle in and begin to grow new fungi.
The new growth process begins with developing hair-like hyphae. Hyphae are to mold as what roots are to plants. The hyphae can reach out and spread into a colony that can cover several square feet of material. After mold begins to expand, more spores are released, and the cycle continues.
Common Household Molds and Where to Find Them
Once mold spores find a place to grow, they quickly develop into full-blown mold. There are different classifications of mold and each gets their nutrients from different materials. Therefore there are multiple areas in your home where mold can be found. Here are the most common types of mold and where they are likely to grow:
- Alternaria: This mold is a prevalent form that is often found in damp areas such as sinks, showers, or bathtubs and dark or dim areas outside of the home.
- Aspergillus: The most common type of household mold that can be found anywhere in the home. Mold spores can even attach and grow on linen and bedding.
- Aureobasidium: This mold tends to reside on wooden furniture or pressboard, painted walls, wallpaper, around windows, and near caulked areas. Mold found on caulk or similar materials, is often referred to as mildew.
- Chaetomium: You’ll find this mold hiding in drywall that has been exposed to water damage.
- Cladosporium: This resides in carpets, wood floorboards, wooden cabinets, and many types of fabric and upholstery.
- Fusarium: Much less common, this mold is often found in carpeted areas that are regularly exposed to moisture, such as front and back entryways, bathrooms, laundry areas, and kitchens.
- Penicillium: A common mold regularly discovered inside insulation, on water-damaged furniture, and in carpeting. This mold reproduces and spreads quickly.
- Stachybotrys Chartarum: Known as toxic “black mold” that lurks in continuously damp areas like in drain air conditioning ducts, and plumbing pipes.
Warning Signs of Mold
While knowing what type of mold you are dealing with is essential, it’s just as vital to take the time to understand the warning signs of a possible mold problem. Here are three of the most common warning signs you need to be aware of:
- Smell: Mold gives off a very distinctive musty odor, reminiscent of wet laundry, or rotting wood. It gives off this smell because it releases microbial volatile organic compounds, known as MVOCs.
- Spots: If you notice wet spots or patches on your wall or ceiling, it’s likely that you are looking at mold. The color of mold varies and can include greenish-brown, black, gray, white, ashy, or even purple.
- Health Issues: There are well documented physical symptoms and illnesses associated with being exposed to mold for extended periods of time. If mold is present in your home, then you or your family may suffer from flu-like symptoms such as:
- Frequent coughing
- Nasal/sinus congestion
- Irritated/watery eyes
- Upper respiratory conditions (wheezing or difficulty in catching your breath)
There are also other side effects that have been linked to the presence of mold spores, which include:
- Poor memory
- Joint pain
- Mood swings
People with suppressed immune systems or those who suffer from asthma are much more susceptible to the serious health threats of mold. If you suffer from seasonal allergy-like symptoms outside of your typical allergy season or deal with several of the symptoms listed above, it is a good idea to get your home inspected and serviced for mold.
What You Can Do If You Have Mold In Your Home
The first step to getting rid of a mold issue is to prevent any leaks. Where there is water, there is likely mold. If you get the mold cleaned up without fixing the cause of the problem, the mold will quickly return.
Often mold growth proliferates in areas that are not easily accessible, and in places, you can’t actually see. This is when you need to call in professional mold restoration specialists. If you suspect a mold problem in your home, a mold specialist can inspect the matter, identity, and test for mold type, and eliminate the issue. Restoration 1 provides these specific services in a timely and professional manner.
All of Restoration 1’s technicians are IICRC licensed, which means they adhere to the very best industry-developed standards and utilize the most up to date information in their inspection, cleaning, and restoration services.
With years of experience, Restoration 1 has been offering fire, water, and mold damage restoration for over a decade. They also specialize in sewage system cleanup, emergency restoration, storm damage cleanup, and much more.
Find a Restoration1 Mold Remediation Specialist near you!