Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is mold. While it makes for some delicious cheeses (blue cheese, I’m looking at you), when it starts to grow in our homes it isn’t so nice. Not all of them are deeply toxic if we breathe them in, but all cultures can cause some respiratory health concerns.
Is there anything we can do when it starts, though? Thankfully, the answer to this question is yes, of course we can do something about it. Removal and remediation are both actions you should consider if you’re experiencing this in your home.
How do You Know it’s Growing?
There are several warning signs to watch out for to know if mold is forming in your house. While typical places are the bathroom or the basement, always be vigilant of any unusual smells. Any mildew or musty scents are a red flag.
Typically, it is visible as well once it starts to get worse. Something to know about it is that it is a type of fungus. This means that mold releases spores into the air and that is a part of its growth process. While the spores exist in most places, they only start to flourish if they land on a surface or in an environment that is damp and warm.
So, some common spots you might find it growing are around any leaks in a roof, windows, or pipes, for example. Also, any spots where flooding has been an issue might promote it. Unfortunately, it grows well on any products made of paper including cardboard, as well as wood products and ceiling tiles.
Look for black, green, or brown spots. However, it can also be white, yellow, or blue. Even spots that look like simple discoloration could turn out to be hidden mold, so the best policy is to be on the watch for unpleasant or unusual fragrances.
Types of Molds
There are several varieties that can grow in a house. While over three hundred thousand exist in the world, not all of them are capable of flourishing indoors. There are four that are typically found.
The first is Alternaria, which tends to form in areas like under a sink or in a shower, particularly if there are any leaks occurring. It’s an allergen that can sometimes cause complications for people with asthma. Additionally, it’s a large contributor to spoiling of produce.
Aspergillus is another. Unlike the above, it tends to be in drier or dusty areas. Infections in humans are known as Aspergillosis. This tends to be in a place like the ear.
Cladosporium is a versatile mold that can exist in both warm and cooler environments, be they wet or dry. However, the most typical spot to find them is on dead plant material. Usually, they are brown or green but can also make colonies of black spores.
Penicillium is the final one I will touch upon today. It’s characterized by blue or green coloration. You can find it on damaged wood materials most of the time, but it also impacts agriculture and medicine outside of our homes.
Is it Dangerous?
I was raised with stories about how dangerous black mold is, and how I should always be watching for it. On a lot of the reality shows that I watched, especially with house cleanouts, mold was one of the worst-case scenarios. How much truth is there to this, though?
Well, you can see some information on this within an article here. There are no definitive studies out there that show “black mold” as a single health risk. However, part of that conclusion is due to the fact that there is no one strain that can be called black mold. You see, many different species can be that color.
That being said, there are concerns that some strains release something into the air known as mycotoxins. It can cause a disease called mycotoxicosis (mold poisoning). The symptoms range from mild and severe, so watch for nosebleeds, memory loss, headaches, mood changes, and any aches and pains in your body if you think you have been exposed to mold.
While there is a low chance of developing mycotoxicosis, allergies and subsequent reactions are a bit more commonplace. If you’re sensitive to environmental factors already, these fungal spores could certainly create complications. In some cases, you might have a serious reaction and need to go to the hospital. Thankfully, that is a rare circumstance.
One question that comes up a lot when it comes to cleaning up mold is if you need to identify the strain in your house. Usually, it’s not necessary. If you get a service like the one at PrecisionMoldRemoval.com, the process can be complete without needing identification. You still can submit samples to a lab if you are curious, though.
Getting rid of the fungus is important both for health reasons and for the safety of your home’s structural foundation and your belongings. It can weaken wood and destroy personal items if we aren’t careful and keeping a close eye out for it.
Prevention is the best tool to get rid of mold, of course. Watch for leaks and repair any that you see. Don’t leave damp spots on a floor or wall to fester.
For small spots, you could probably clean them up on your own. However, for larger infestations, it may be wise to call in professionals. Contractors or other cleaning services exist so that we can get needed assistance when mold starts to take over.
Just keep in mind that there is a difference between removal and remediation. The latter handles taking care of the reason the mold is growing, while the former focuses only on extraction. Consider your options and decide which makes more sense for you given your budget and situation.