Here’s a sad but true reality for homeowners: where there is moisture, there is usually mold. Houses of any age can experience a mold issue, which can become a hazard to your health if left untreated – not to mention a structural hazard to your property. Some mold types are common, while others don’t look like what you might expect. In this post, we’ll look at the different mold species that can occur in a home, how to identify them and the consequences of being exposed to them.
Here are the main types of mold you may encounter where you and your family reside:
Typically found in warmer climates, Aspergillus is an allergenic mold that causes asthma and lung infections in people with a weak immune system. There are around 200 types of Aspergillus but less than half of these species are harmful to health. The colors of this mold can be yellow green on the top and gold or reddish-brown underneath. Other types are black on the surface and white or yellow underneath. Aspergillus is commonly present in wallpapers, moist building materials, fabrics (such as carpet), and household dust. It can also travel throughout the home through the HVAC ducts, especially when you switch on the heat.
This is a toxigenic mold that transforms from a tiny moist growth to a powdery texture. Its color is typically gray, white, or pink, but some varieties of this mold are also colorless. Acremonium is also pungent spelling and often grows on hard-to-reach areas like insulation, drywall, air conditioning pipes or HVAC systems. Because of its small size and the ability to merge with other molds, it’s not easy to spot. The risk of prolonged exposure to this mold comes from its mycotoxins, which are harmful compounds that have been linked to liver cancer, pulmonary edema, neurological damage, and autoimmune diseases.
Chaetomium is a “marker” mold that serves as an indicator of water intrusion. It has a strong, musty odor and the capability to grow rapidly in basement, concrete, drywall, or plywood. If you spot patches of mold that have an unpleasant smell or change their tone from whitish grey to dark brown, you’ve come across Chaetomium. The mold poses a minimum health risk when it’s in an airborne form or at low concentration levels (the most it can do is cause itchiness or watery eyes). In fact, Chaetomium poses a greater risk to household materials than to your health. Make sure to check the piping and HVAC system for potential leakage as these areas are a popular breeding ground for Chaetomium.
Like Chaetomium, Stachybotrys requires water intrusion to spur growth. Many people refer to Stachybotrys as black mold because of its blackish appearance, but not every black mold is Stachybotrys. There are several varieties of molds that have a black color but are actually quite benign. Stachybotrys, however, can be very dangerous. It creates mycotoxins that are damaging to human health. Prolonged exposure to this mold can result in liver damage, lung inflammation, infertility in females, and even death. Other after-effects include hearing loss, eye damage, or abdominal pain.
This mold is usually black/brown or olive green in color. Most species of Cladosporium have a cylindrical shield-like shape when examined closely; however, they might simply appear as small dots to the naked eye. When they grow, they can merge together to create bigger patches. You’ll usually find Cladosporium in areas such as bathrooms, including around faucets and under sinks, but it can also grow on surfaces like walls, floors, carpets, and furniture. In terms of health-related risks, exposure to this mold may result in skin ailments like rashes. In people with a weak immune system, it can worsen respiratory diseases.
Fusarium is both a toxigenic and allergenic mold that typically grows on materials like carpets or wallpaper after water damage. It can also form on food products and on compost and has a bright pink color. Fusarium is also capable of thriving in winters. Short-term exposure to this mold can cause skin infections and allergic reactions, but prolonged exposure can result in more serious health issues, including bone infections or brain abscess. Fusarium can spread quickly, so if you identify it somewhere, make sure to check the adjacent areas for signs of Fusarium as well. Those with asthma or a weak immune system are advised to protect themselves from the mold.
Mucor is often found on plants and decaying leaves. However, it’s capable of finding a way into your home through the assistance of the wind. The mold will typically be attracted to air vent condensation. Mucor has a soft, fluffy texture with a grayish-white color, but it can be hard to differentiate it from other types of household mold. If there’s a leak in your home, you may have a ready-made breeding ground for Mucor. The good news is that most species of Mucor don’t cause any harm other than triggering moderate allergies. Only in rare instances, it can cause an infection called Mucormycosis (a fungal disease that enters and spreads through the body through skin cuts or inhaling). The disease can result in pain, fever, and a cough, and it can even compromise facial structures.
Trichoderma is an allergenic mold that forms in tiny, round clusters. It has a white color with green patches, and you’re most likely to see it grow on wallpaper, carpet or fabrics. Trichoderma may also be present in HVAC ducts if condensation has formed over time. Most forms of Trichoderma are non-pathogenic (meaning they don’t pose a big threat to your health), but there are some mold varieties that are known to cause lung and liver infections. Plus, this mold is known to seriously compromise building materials. In fact, it can cause parts of the building to become inhabitable.
If you identify any signs of these molds in your home, it’s crucial that you immediately call in the professionals. The Disaster Company has mold inspectors who are skilled in detection as well as mold cleanup. Whether you live in Layton, Ogden, Bountiful or Kaysville, contact our mold removal specialists today.