What is Mold?
This is a more complicated question than it might seem to be at first. At its most basic level, mold is a type of fungi. They are characterized by their filament structures. However, the reason that it is a more involved question is that there are tens of thousands of different species of mold. That being said, for our purposes, there are about ten types of mold that are most commonly found in homes, and we’ll be sure to discuss those more in-depth.
How Does Mold Develop?
Mold needs three main things to grow: access, a beneficial environment, and food. Let’s break those down one by one.
Mold reproduces most typically through spores. This means that mold isn’t going to be able to grow if a spore can’t get in. However, mold spores are quite common due to poor indoor air quality. If you have an air filtration system, you may be at lower risk, but you’re not out of the woods by any means.
Secondly, mold needs a good environment to live in. Mold needs moisture and darkness like a fish needs water. It can’t live without it. This is why attics and basement are more typical locations for it to grow. Be wary of any leaks you have as many can be hidden out of view in attic crawlspaces or even below your floorboards. If the mold gets into those conditions, you are in trouble, since it only takes 24 hours for it to become a serious problem.
That is as long as it has food. Unfortunately, mold is a natural decomposer in the ecosystem. This means that it thrives on dead things. You might think you’re safe after all there aren’t many dead things in your home, right? Think again. If your home has organic materials, especially wood, that is a perfect meal for mold to snack on. Add in whatever you have in your fridge or non-fiberglass insulation, and there’s a practical buffet of food for mold to eat up.
What Types of Mold to Worry About?
Typically found in bathrooms, this mold is widespread, so make sure you’re bathroom gets dried out and cleaned regularly.
This is a broad and common category of mold. It can range in colors from green to black and cause allergic reactions when breathed in like many other molds.
This is a common, but relatively harmless mold. While it can damage your home and should be taken care of, it likely won’t cause health problems for people.
A relatively small genus of mold, these can range from pink to black and can cause health issues, especially if under chronic exposure. This is why it’s so important to check for mold if you are risk of it growing after say a plumbing disaster.
This mold lives in soils all over the world. It is dangerous only to those who are immunocompromised.
If your home has suffered water damage recently, this may be the mold to watch out for most. It can cause skin problems and very serious medical conditions for those with compromised immune systems. These grow fast, so it’s important to get your home inspected after you’ve suffered water damage.
This mold has a bunch of helpful properties for humans, but not when in its native state. When left to grow wild and not in a lab, penicillium can have negative health effects. These molds can become airborne very easily.
This mold is commonly known as toxic black mold, but it probably sounds worse than it actually is. This mold has been linked to sickness for centuries, but modern science hasn’t found concrete links. This mold requires majorly water-damaged buildings to grow well.
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