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mold in common areas

Protecting Your Family from Mold in the Home

The thought of mold, wherever you might find it, is icky – it’s slimy, fuzzy and smelly. Yes, it might be a necessary organism, given how it helps to decompose organic waste in our eco-system. Mold is a great friend of nature, but it isn’t that great of a thing to have growing at home. When left undetected, it can cause serious allergic reactions and infections in your family. The effects are far worse if you have infants, young children, elderly family members and individuals with compromised immune systems in your family. Here’s a simple guide that allows you to assess your home and look out for specific kinds of molds in specific areas:

Know The Signs

Before discussing each area of your home, make sure you’re aware of the symptoms of mold growth. The most obvious clue would be visible signs of water problems in your home, such as wall stains, peeling paint, leaking and condensation. This shows your home has high moisture levels, which indicate either current mold growth or potential mold growth in the future.

Other clear signs include seeing mold growth itself. Also, if you smell the odor of mold growth, and if you and your family are experiencing allergic symptoms, mold growth has clearly taken hold in your home and should be treated immediately.

Common Household Areas of Mold Growth

Look out for cladosporium, which grows on painted surfaces and in air ducts made of fiberglass. It looks like pepper, and is often black or green in color. It is non-toxic, but it can cause severe allergic reactions in your family.

One of the more toxic molds is aspergillus, and you should keep watch for it as it grows quickly after you’ve had a flood in your basement, or a big leak in your plumbing system. It can also strike in your air-conditioning system. Anywhere with unusually high humidity levels in your home is vulnerable. Anyone can have an allergic reaction to it, but the symptoms are much more dangerous to children and seniors and those with a weakened immune system.

Alternaria is an airborne mold that travels easily from the outdoors into your bedroom. You might find it growing on your rugs, clothes, carpets and other flat surfaces. It can grow on all kinds of areas too since it isn’t as moisture loving as other molds. Look out for a mold that has tufts of long hairs. Its colors vary from dark green to dark brown, and it has a velvet-like texture. When left untreated, it can cause respiratory problems in your family.

Penicillium is perhaps one of the common molds we’re most familiar with. Anyone who’s left food on the countertop or in the refrigerators for too long will know what we’re talking about: a white fuzz growing on the surface of your food. Penicillium can sometimes grow in green or white too. Since it can lead to extreme gastric irritation and allergic reactions, any first signs of penicillium should be quickly dealt with by throwing out moldy foods immediately.

The bathroom has to be one of the places that becomes home to mold most easily if not managed properly. Because it is a moist and often dark environment, it is easy for cladosporium to start showing up. Since it is airborne, it is extremely difficult to completely remove.

Seek Professional Advice

Mold growth in the home is not an issue to ignore. If you suspect that you may have mold growth, seek the expertise of a mold remediation specialist. Environmental Protective Solutions serves the Tampa Bay and Nashville Area, helping residents treat and protect against mold growth.

Adam Key is a Certified Mold Remediator at Environmental Protective Solutions, a company specializing in Water Extraction, Leak Detection, Mold Remediation and General Contracting. Visit online for a free inspection or quote.

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6 thoughts to “Protecting Your Family from Mold in the Home”

  1. Nice Post. That is a very clear way of letting homeowners know what to expect so they aren’t worried about every kind of mold affecting every part of their home. Thanks -Steve

  2. Excellent article guys–very good basic info to help people understand mold in the home and what you can do about it. I’m an indoor air quality specialist and two things that I firmly recommend to those looking to kill & control mold in the home are:

    1) fix any leaks in the home and definitely check indoor humidity with a hygrometer and keep it below 45% or so–if mold doesn’t have the required moisture, it has hard time growing–might also need a dehumidifier to get moisture under control, and,

    2) consider adding UV lights to the air conditioner ducts–a good 36 watt system is less than $300 and can kill over 95% of any airborne spores so mold doesn’t continue to grow and cause allergy or other problems. Here are a couple of links for more info on the above:

    UV Light Systems:


    Any questions, give me a call–1-800-701-2513

  3. Help! I have a positive AIQ test done in 3 areas of house with several molds including some black mold, cladosporidium,aspergillus etc.
    I want to DIY mold remediation myself and was told by the air hygenist I could if I cleaned everything in house 4 to 5 times before having him recheck it(this is even with his recommend on his test to air neg pressure kitchen and basement bedroom below the kitchen.) And he knew people were sick.This is after we rip out all house carpet and the bedroom Sheetrock where damaged by water. There is not visible mold on walls. And people were sick tested toxic pos. By a doctor. I have been so devastated by all circumstances overwhelming me with this and problems.
    I need to get going on this but am looking at tons of repairs on house to fix and try to get to rental status of place.
    Then I talked to another concrobium product person that worked water damage job to treat mold and he said a lot that was contrary to what the air quality guy said(so not to DIY MYSELF) I could do if cleaned top to bottom 4-5 times.
    So now I am just back in limbo again when I was just settled that I would have to DIY the mold remediation myself. Just so confused how to proceed!!! Too many repairs at house to afford to hire mold remediators and fix place. I had to remove the people from house and it has been
    setting vacant since not in use. Tons of things left in house to clean out. Probably Hvac needs cleaning too.
    Please help with how to proceed!!!!!
    Who knows maybe just have company do the
    2 rooms mentioned in AIQ report by mold remediators company as one possibility.
    Thank you for your help!

  4. Sandy,

    Since you have clearly identified through testing that you have mold, you’re going to have to completely get rid of it and do follow up testing to prevent any liability problems and be able to safely rent again.

    That said, it’s almost always best to have professionals do the job or at least get a few estimates/opinions because they have the equipment, people and experience to do it right, and you usually get a warranty. As for the cost, it may be something that insurance can help with, especially if the water leaks were caused by storm damage, etc–check with your agent. You may even tap into some equity so you can spread the cost over a long period of time.

    If you still end up wanting to do everything yourself, you’ll want to follow much of the same protocol that mold remediators follow, and find / fix any and all water sources / leaks. And then definitely make sure the indoor moisture is keep in the 30-35% range after everything has dried out, and you’ll probably want to put UV lights in the air conditioner to kill any mold spores that would be floating around. And after everything, you’ll want to do follow up testing to make sure that the mold has been stopped / removed adequately.

    I hope this helps!

    Air Purifiers and

  5. Purchase dehumidifier about three weeks ago. Dehumidifier was delivered on time as promised. We have have it in our house and we are very pleased with the results. Very easy to understand instructions.
    Great product and I would definitely recommend it to our friends.

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