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.