Mold is present all around us. Some forms pose no threat to humans, while others like the dreaded black mold can cause serious health effects. It’s essential to always be on the lookout for mold to protect the health of you and your family, as well as to avoid costly mold removal.
The experts at ServiceMaster of the Upstate discuss the types of mold in your home or place of business and in what ways their growth affects your property.
Mold Remediation Company in South Carolina
If you think that you already have mold in your home, it may be time to contact a mold remediation expert from ServiceMaster of the Upstate, especially if you notice any that match the descriptions of the dangerous molds recorded above. Small, closed-off spaces such as attics and basements are particularly susceptible to the damp conditions that attract mold. For mold inspections or mold remediation, look up a trusted mold remediation company in South Carolina like ServiceMaster of the Upstate and get them tended to as soon as possible.
Basic Facts About Mold
- In order to grow, mold requires moisture. It grows on soil, plants, and decomposing materials outdoors; indoors, it thrives in damp, moist areas like basements and bathrooms.
- The four common types of indoor mold are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium.
- Mold often appears greenish-gray, gray, brownish-green, and black. Slimy green mold growing on exteriors can often be removed by a power washer.
- Mold propagates by releasing spores that create new colonies.
- While most mold species are harmless, some do release toxins and cause health risks for people with mold allergies, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals.
- The mold species Stachybotrys chartarum is commonly known as “toxic mold” or “black mold”. It can be harmful and can safely be handled only by a mold remediation professional.
- Bleach can remove mold on non-porous surfaces, but only use it in a well-ventilated room. Some types of tile may etch upon contact with bleach, so make sure to perform a little spot check.
- Provide sufficient ventilation to often moist areas such as bathrooms. Open windows and doors if the weather permits and makes use of fans and dehumidifiers.
- Mold growth can be indicated by an unnatural musty, mildew-y smell. Locate the source of the odor immediately.
- High humidity manifests as condensation on walls, windows, and other hard surfaces. To inhibit mold growth, maintain indoor humidity levels below 45 percent.
- Mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours after a water damage incident.
- Mildew is a surface fungus that appears white or gray and grows on cardboards, books, and even fabrics. It can easily be wiped away by a cloth.
- Mold can grow in hard-to-reach or hidden areas, like within insulation and behind drywall, after a flood.
- Add mold inhibitors to paint before painting to reduce the likelihood of mold growth.
- Get complete mold remediation services only from professionals, such as ServiceMaster of the Upstate.
Types of Mold and How to Identify Them
Mold comes in a variety of colors and varieties and can be present in almost every space of your home.
- Acremonium mold is a toxigenic mold type that evolves in its appearance over time.
- It first starts out as a small moist mold that turns into a fine powdery substance.
- Acremonium mold is often pink, grey, orange, or white in color.
- Acremonium typically grows in household systems and areas such as condensation from humidifiers, cooling coils, drain pans, and window sealants.
- With a black or green ground pepper-like appearance, you can often find aspergillus around toilets, painted surfaces, or around air ducts.
- If inhaled, Aspergillus can cause allergic reactions that cause asthma attacks, fever, and a mucus cough.
- These commonly found molds should be checked frequently.
- Aureobasidium is an allergenic mold that can sometimes be found growing behind wallpaper or on painted or wooden surfaces.
- Aureobasidium usually develops in pink, brown, or black color. As it ages, aureobasidium typically turns a darker brown color.
- The primary health risk of aureobasidium is its ability to cause infections of eye, skin, and nails. Because of its potential to cause dermatitis (skin rash), it should never be touched directly with bare skin.
- Alternaria is black with a velvet-like texture. Although it is a common type of outdoor mold, it is easily airborne, traveling for a warm, wet place to multiply. This is when it will cause an issue for your home.
- It will cling to plants, furniture, and in damp areas like under sinks, showers, or window frames.
- The health risks of this mold include a runny nose, sore throat, hives, and rashes on the skin. Babies and those with asthma should be especially careful around this mold.
- Cladosporium is olive or black color and found in wood and textiles. This is another mold that is more commonly seen outside, although it can also find its way into your home.
- Attaching itself to damp areas of the home like the basement, attic, and bathrooms. Similar to other molds, it can cause allergic reactions like watery or itchy eyes, coughing, sneezing, and other common cold symptoms
- This green and white mold can feel almost wool-like and thrives in a variety of environments. These can include wood, paint, carpet, and filters.
- Its adaptability is due to its strong metabolism, so almost anywhere can be a potential living space.
- Potential Health Risks: Most Trichoderma species aren’t amongst highly dangerous forms of mold, but it can trigger allergies as well as asthma.
Harmful Effects of Mold
Some mold types can produce minor health effects like allergy symptoms, while others are highly toxic to humans, which can cause:
- Chronic coughing and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Internal bleeding in the lungs
- Damage to internal organs
- Brain damage like memory loss and tremors
Implementing consistent home checks in places like the bathroom, attic, and basement can help to catch the growth of mold before a loved one begins to feel these symptoms.
What to Do When You Have Mold in Your Home
- Ceilings and Walls: In the ceiling, water damage can either be the result of water leaking in through the roof or, if there’s a bathroom on the floor above, from a leaking pipe in the bathroom. For walls, you’ll want to check for the same sources of water damage, as well as areas around doors and windows.
- Floors: Many things can be the cause of water-damaged floors, including overflowing sinks and tubs or leaky appliances.
- Exterior Walls: Improper drainage or gutters that don’t whisk water away from your house are common causes of exterior wall damage.
- Attic: Stains, mold, and swollen insulation are the common signs your attic has been damaged.
- Appliances: Check under or behind your refrigerator, washer, and dryer, water heater, toilets, and sinks for signs of pooling or leaks.
Tips To Control Mold Growth in Winter
Keep indoor humidity below 45%.
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best way to control indoor mold growth is to carefully monitor and maintain your home’s moisture level.
- If the humidity in your home rises, look for the sources of added moisture and address the problem as soon as possible.
- Place a dehumidifier in these rooms to lower the moisture level until a permanent solution is found.
Set ceiling fans in reverse.
- Your fans should turn counterclockwise in the summer and clockwise in the winter.
- If you set your ceiling fans to turn clockwise during chilly winter months, you will pull cold air up and draw the warmer air downward, which can both save you money on energy bills and keep your home a bit warmer.
- Good air circulation will also keep condensation from building up on cold walls and windows, where it can be a potential source of mold growth.
Check roof gutters
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly, especially if there is an abundance of dead leaves stuck in them.
- While you’re at it, make sure that the area around the downspouts is graded, so that any water coming off your roof flows away from your foundation, rather than sitting close to your home where it can pool and contribute to mold growth.
Mold Versus Mildew
Mildew is a non-penetrative fungus of flat growth, while mold encompasses all microscopic fungi and grows on any organic matter. They both produce a musty odor.
In summary, mold:
- Can cause or worsen health conditions.
- Is penetrative, making it difficult to remove.
- Cannot be removed with bleach.
- Has a fuzzy or slimy texture.
- Does not penetrate surfaces.
- Grows on surfaces in warm, moist conditions.
- Appears gray, yellow, or white.
- Is fluffy or powdery in texture.
Health Risks of Mold
- Spores are tiny reproductive cells of molds that are easily released in the air. Inside a closed area, these spores can be inhaled and may cause health issues especially to those who have respiratory problems, allergies or weak immune systems.
- When you or any of your household members or business staff experience sore throat, headache, coughing, runny nose, sneezing, fatigue, and watery eyes, you may have some molds hiding within your domain. Immediately seek an expert on mold removal in Greenville, SC to avoid more health hazards.
- Exposure to mold can also worsen existing respiratory problems and asthma. Infants and young children who are exposed to mold have an increased risk of getting asthma when they reach the age of seven, according to a 2012 study.
- When ingested, black mold is said to have toxic effects. Eating moldy food results in mycotoxicosis or mold poisoning.
- This condition may worsen if you have pre-existing digestive problems; hence, it may result in diarrhea or stomach ache and discomfort.
Immune System-Related Issues
- Anyone who has a weakened immune system, such as one with uncontrolled HIV, under cancer treatment, and transplant patients could have fungal infections.
- The most vulnerable people at risk are older adults, infants, and children.
Do I Need an Indoor Air Quality Test?
Health and well-being could never be given too much importance. If a person cares about the well-being of their household members, an air quality test must be done to ensure that biological and chemical contaminants are not present at home.
Common concerns related to air quality involve odors, issues regarding comfort, and health complaints. Here are some reasons why a person should have an indoor air quality test:
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCS)
- Carpets and shower curtains often release a chemical smell that lasts for days or even weeks. This smell is due to the release of VOCs in these materials.
- Home has numerous products that emit VOCs. These include paint and furniture cleaners. Although not all of these can be smelled, these can result to short-term health problems such as nausea and headaches. However, repeated exposure can result in longer-term health issues.
- There are numerous VOCs that are not encompassed with indoor air quality testing. However, formaldehyde, a dangerous VOC, can be detected. Formaldehyde is a component in tobacco smoke, fabrics, wood, combustion appliances, and more.
Mold, Mildew, Bacteria, or a Virus
- There are also biological contaminants present in addition to chemical contaminants. These include mold, mildew, fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
- These organisms thrive and multiply in the warm, humid air. This means that homeowners should be alert when it comes to regulating the humidity and fixing water leaks in basements and bathrooms.
- Mold exposure can result in different symptoms that include respiratory problems, and eye and skin irritation, according to CDC. These conditions aggravate the health of people with already existing respiratory problems, such as asthma.
- Most solutions often result to another problem. This goes with pesticides as a household means to remove insects. However, pesticides can result to concerns in indoor air quality.
- EPA reports that two-thirds of US households have used at least one pesticide in the past year. This implies that there will be a detection of a certain amount of pesticides in the air in the conduct of an indoor air quality testing. However, this is best done since there might be high levels of pesticide due to improper use.
Schedule an Appointment for Mold Removal Today
Always check for mold in your bathrooms, cellars, and other moist places, and make sure your home is well-ventilated with controlled humidity levels. If you think that you already have mold in your home, it may be time to contact a mold remediation expert from ServiceMaster of the Upstate at (864) 310-7891. You may also complete our online contact form.
We’ve been trusted to help homeowners clean their homes and remove mold and pride ourselves on doing your job right the first time. For your cleanup needs, give us a call today.