Nobody really knows the exact number of species of mold that exist in nature. We just know that there are thousands! The reality of the situation is that just because we don’t see the black or green spots, doesn’t mean that they’re not there! The difference between molds that tend to grow outdoors versus indoor mold, is that while the former does not typically harm us, the latter can have some potentially detrimental effects on human health.
People most likely to be affected by the negative effects of household mold are those with pre-existing respiratory problems or people who are susceptible to asthma attacks. So, should the rest of us rest easy that mold won’t take its toll on us? Absolutely not! When it comes to skin irritations, red and watery eyes, nausea and coughing, everyone is ‘fair game’ and can fall victim to an assortment of ailments after coming in contact with or inadvertently inhaling mold spores.
How mold finds its way into our homes
You need to understand that molds are a unique fungal species, which exist in the environment and typically reproduce by way of their spores. In order to thrive, these spores which can be transported indoors by us, typically require damp, warm and dark environments. Consequently, mold will grow in our homes if conditions are right.
- People and pets can be exposed to outdoor mold without even knowing it. Subsequently, shoes and pet fur become vehicles for transporting mold and its spores into our homes. Given that mold thrives in the presence of moisture, it is almost inevitable that any spores that land on damp and dark areas of our homes will multiply.
- Water damage, flooded areas, leaking pipes, wet carpets and similar problems in the house also encourage mold growth.
Susceptible areas of mold infestation in our homes
Although mold reproduces and multiplies in humid environments, it also feeds on substrates like wood, fabric, drywall and carpets. It typically grows in improperly ventilated basements and bathrooms, around water pipes, in laundry rooms, and inside air ducts. Porous shower tiles, unsealed grout and wet carpets serve as an indisputable catalyst for mold infestations.
Common types of household mold
Different species of mold exhibit different characteristics like color and different effects on human or pet health. Most people are under the impression that black mold is the most hazardous type because it is considered a toxic mold. Although this is partially true, it is imperative to note that other species of mold, regardless of color, size and mode of contact, also have the potential to be even more hazardous, or not!
A look at the most common types of household mold
- Cladosporium: This is one of the most common types of household mold. There are about 30 Cladosporium What’s special about this mold is that it can also grow in cool environments whether it is on carpets, cabinets or fabrics. It can cause breathing problems.
- Penicillium: This type of mold is greenish in color and grows very fast. It feeds on materials, which are exposed to moisture or water. Carpets, furnishings, wallpaper, fiberglass ducts are a few examples of where Penicillium grows. It can cause allergic reactions or even asthma attacks to susceptible individuals.
- Alternaria: Although Alternaria usually grows outdoors, it can also grow indoors if certain areas are damp, wet or flooded. The problem with Alternaria is that it can be rapidly transferred from one place to another within a home and can cause asthma attacks and allergic reactions.
- Aspergillus: There are more than 185 aspergillus species and 22 of them can be really harmful to humans by causing serious respiratory disorders, ear and eye infections, and lung problems.
- Stachybotrys chartarum: This is popularly known as black mold. It actually takes weeks or several days to grow and prefers wood, paper, cardboard and air ducts as substrates. It usually has a greenish/blackish color and emits a musty odor. It can cause asthma attacks, breathing problems, nausea and allergic reactions if you come in contact with it.
Other types of household mold include Botrytis, Fusarium, Chaetomium, Serpula Lacrymans, Trichoderma, and Ulocladium. They all grow in moisture laden environments.
The take home message?
We must NOT let our homes become the nests for potential mold infestation. With routine carpet maintenance and prompt water damage restoration followed by mold inspection, we can maintain control of our homes and our health. Call our mold remediation services to tackle any mold issues.
Sources Image 1: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Ascomycetes.jpg