A Homeowners Guide to Different Types of Household Mold
It’s a disturbing yet common realization: You’re not just raising a family in your home. You’ve also provided just the right environment to raise a thriving colony of mold.
Maybe you noticed it near the water heater or under the leaking sink. Whether you plan to remove it yourself or call a remediation specialist, it helps to know what you’re dealing with. Only professional testing can tell you for sure. But this homeowner’s guide to different types of household mold can give you an overview of the possibilities.
When it comes to mold, knowing just a little information can be worse than knowing none. You might remember the black mold panic in the early ’90s, when the toxic substance was blamed for sickening many in Cleveland. But there are actually more than 100,000 different kinds of that can fester inside and outside your house.
One positive outcome of the Cleveland case, though, is that it raised awareness of the presence of mold in homes with standing water, leaks, moisture, and high humidity. Better safe than sorry, of course. But if you spot dark mold in your home, don’t panic. Leave the area until you’re wearing proper safety gear, or leave it to the experts. It could be any of the following usual suspects, which are pretty much considered the dirty dozen.
We’re going alphabetically, but this mold would be near the top of the “most unwanted” list anyway. It’s toxigenic, which is an even scarier way of saying “hazardous to your health.” It can appear to be several colors—white, gray, pink, even orange—and look powdery. It’s bad news. Extended exposure could lead to bone marrow and immune system diseases, not to mention brain damage.
Although Alternaria isn’t nearly as awful as Acremonium, it’s allergenic. It can trigger or cause asthma-like symptoms. You might notice that you’re coughing more, breaking out in hives, or experiencing itchy eyes. If so, look around the bathroom and other damp spots for a growth of dark green or brown “hairs.” Alternaria has a lot going for it; it’s extremely common in homes, and it spreads like the dickens.
This is actually an umbrella term for more than 185 related species. Because of that, it’s hard to say exactly what color it might be, but it has long spores that can grow fairly thick. This chameleon of the mold world is considered an allergy trigger, and some varieties are even more toxic. In the absolute worst-case scenario, Aspergillus could produce aflatoxins, carcinogens that cause cancer.
Homeowners may not need to know all the ins and outs of mold science, but understanding the lifecycle of household mold is critical to seeing how the fungus can thrive in their home. Mold removal and remediation teams keep the mold lifecycle in mind as they work to fully rid your home of the mold currently growing there. Here are a couple of ways the mold lifecycle impacts a remediation team’s decision-making process.
Its appearance is friendly, white, and fluffy, but its smell is anything but cute. It’s unmistakably musty. Chaetomium evolves from white to gray, brown, and black. Any mold can be dangerous for someone with a compromised immune system, but this one can be the source of eye or skin infections. All it needs is moisture and oxygen to grow, so it’s essential to fix the root of the wetness. Otherwise, it’ll just keep coming back.
Hey, that suede wall isn’t an interior design choice—it’s Cladosporium, which nonetheless does have a distinctive ’70s vibe with its olive and brown coloration. It’s not one of the top public enemies, but it can affect your nose, throat, eyes, and skin. You could even develop skin lesions, sinusitis, and lung infections. It can grow in both cool and warm spots, so check for it in water-damaged carpets, old fabrics, and wood surfaces.
Fusarium is not a mold you want to try to clear out yourself. It’s allergenic, toxigenic, and all-around ugly. If you’ve experienced a flood or destructive storm, you could see this pink, white, or red growth around your house. No, it’s not your imagination—it can spread from room to room quickly. If ignored for a prolonged amount of time, Fusarium can produce toxins that lead to hemorrhages and internal bleeding.
This allergenic mold likes to settle in near HVAC systems and ducts. It’s usually white or gray, and triggers respiratory issues as well as flu-like symptoms. Stay away from it. Mucor can lead to mucormycosis, a fungal infection that can become systemic in your body. Let’s just leave it at that.
The discovery of the antibiotic penicillin was very good. But discovering Penicillium in your home is unfortunate, to say the least. You’ll recognize it by its velvety texture and bluish-green hue, anywhere from your flooring to ducting and mattresses. (Go check. We’ll wait.) It’s another mold that’s bad for the respiratory system and can develop into chronic sinusitis.
Finally—the infamous black mold with all that bad press. While many kinds of mold are black, this one might also have a dark green cast and look slimy. The musty-smelling growth needs high humidity for weeks before it can really take root, so take care of any wet damage as soon as you can. It grows on cellulose materials—paper, wood, wicker—and can be deadly for infants and children.
Trichoderma is the name given to five different subspecies, which have varying degrees of danger. It’s usually white with green patches and appears anywhere condensation builds up. In some cases, it has an allergenic effect. In others, it can infect your liver. It’s destructive for the structure of your home, too, so make sure you call a remediation specialist for this one.
This is a black mold that can result in breathing problems for anyone exposed to it. It’s not afraid to gang up with other forms of mold. It can grow alongside other bad boys like Stachybotrys, Fusarium, and Chaetomium, around moist spots like windows and kitchens. And that’s one rumble you’re not going to win on your own.
At Mold Only, we don’t use scare tactics on our customers like some remediation companies. But even without exaggeration, mold is a frightening presence. This guide to different types of household mold should alert you to the seriousness of the problem, but we’re here to help. If you need mold remediation in Broward County, Florida, contact us to take care of any and all of these spores. We can test your home and tell you exactly what’s going on, and then get to work repairing the issue and clearing out the mold—because you deserve to have your home all to yourselves again.