For any homeowner or renter, nothing is more annoying and alarming than having a mold problem in your residence. One, they’re unsightly and pungent. Two, some of them can be a little difficult to find. And three, they can take a toll on your overall health.
Needless to say, it’s always advisable to seek help from a professional mold company, to avoid the risk of your problem getting out of hand. In case you didn’t know, there are about 100,000 types of mold out there that might still be unknown to you. Research tells us that most homeowners and renters are oblivious to the presence of mold in their house.
There are three classifications of molds according to their hazardous effects: allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic.
These only affect those who have allergies or asthma. When allergic people come in contact with these molds, they exhibit some kind of hypersensitive reaction. These types of reactions include sneezing, runny nose, skin rash, and red eyes. Inhaling allergenic molds may also trigger respiratory inflammation among asthmatic people. Studies have shown that about 20% – 30% are very prone to allergenic molds. Those without allergies, on the other hand, are more immune to these molds when they are in small quantities.
These are the molds that you have to be careful of, especially if you have a low immune system. Pathogenic molds cause diseases or infections in humans. In some cases, those in perfect condition may actually fend off the bad effects of this type of mold. This is primarily the reason why they are often dubbed as opportunistic pathogens. Infants and old people are most likely the victims of these since they have weaker immune systems than most adults.
These are the most dangerous of the 3 types of mold we have covered so far. They pose a threat to your life, whether you have a strong or weak immune system. This is because toxigenic molds produce poisonous chemicals called mycotoxins. Direct exposure to them, either via ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation, may cause mild to severe reactions. When worse comes to worst, they may even cause severe illnesses such as cancer.
Next, we give you 12 types of mold that you can commonly find around your house. Read on if you want to know how to identify them and how serious their effects can be.
What it looks like: Usually, this mold starts out as a colony of pink, grey, orange, or white moist. It then slowly turns into a powdery substance over time, which means you can prevent it from spreading throughout the house through immediate removal.
Where you can find it: Keep an eye on it in your home’s heating, ventilation, and cooling system.
Health effects: It may cause damage to your bone marrow, weaken your immune system, and even take a toll on your brain function.
What it looks like: It’s either dark green or brown in color. It has hair, giving it a velvet-like texture.
Where you can find it: Alternaria is typically present in areas where there has been a major water leak. For instance, showers, bathtubs, and under sinks.
Health effects: When not removed immediately, this type of mold can trigger asthma attacks.
Classification: Allergenic (It can also be toxigenic, depending on the species.)
What it looks like: This mold may come in different colors, but it’s generally brown or green. It takes on the shape of long flask-like spores. If you leave it unresolved for a long time, it can multiply and form thick layers or walls of the mold.
Where you can find it: It usually resides on wooden surfaces.
Health effects: Most species of Aspergillus are not that dangerous, bringing only minor and manageable allergies to people exposed to it. However, other species (the ones that produce mycotoxins) have been proven to be very hazardous to people with a weak immune system. They can cause respiratory infections, inflamed lungs, etc.
What it looks like: Pink, brown, or black are its usual colors. Over time, however, they begin to appear darker brown.
Where you can find it: You can spot them mostly behind wallpapers and on painted or wooden surfaces.
Health effects: It may cause infections on the eyes, skin, and nails.
What it looks like: It begins as a white, cotton-textured colony. It gets darker with the passage of time, from gray to brown to black.
Where you can find it: You can easily recognize its presence in your home because of its musty smell. Check the roof, basement, pipes, drywall, and under wet carpets. It basically thrives in places that suffered water damage.
Health effects: Much like Aureobasidium, it can also cause skin and nail infections.
What it looks like: Experts have identified this mold as olive-green or brown in color, with a texture that is very like that of suede.
Where you can find it: It’s found in carpets, fabrics, and upholsteries.
Health effects: It often causes mild (itchy eyes, runny nose, and sore throat) to severe (shortness of breath and respiratory infections) reactions.
Classification: Allergenic and Toxigenic
What it looks like: It comes in pink, red, or white.
Where you can find it: It loves growing on food, carpets, wallpapers, fabrics, and other water-damaged materials.
Health effects: It can cause skin infections and allergic reactions. Prolonged exposure to it, however, has more serious effects on your health. These include bone infections and brain damage.
What it looks like: It generally looks white or gray in color. When not taken care of as soon as possible, it can grow in thick patches fast.
Where you can find it: It likes to grow near your heating, cooling, or air conditioning systems. It also loves company, so you can find it near other types of mold such as Stachybotrys.
Health effects: It can trigger asthma and/or flu-like symptoms. In worst-case scenarios, It can cause fungal infections that can damage your eyes, nose, lungs, and even your brain.
What it looks like: Like Alternaria, this type of mold has a velvety texture. It’s generally blue or green in color.
Where you can find it: You can look for it in mattresses, ventilation ducts, wallpapers, and carpets. Beware, because it can multiply rapidly. If you’ve flooding in the past, then it’s time to check for this kind.
Health effects: Since this mold is mostly airborne, it can bring about mild to severe respiratory issues.
What it looks like: This type is commonly referred to as the black mold for obvious reasons. It has a slimy texture.
Where you can find it: It typically thrives in areas where moisture has been quite an issue for a long time.
Health effects: It has life-threatening effects on humans, including shortness of breath, fatigue, sinusitis, etc. It may also affect your mental health. Children and babies may also have neurological and pulmonary problems.
What it looks like: It usually appears as white or green woolly patches.
Where you can find it: They can grow in any wet and moist areas.
Health effects: Most species of Trichoderma are harmless, but others still produce mycotoxins, which may cause severe health problems like sinusitis.
What it looks like: It’s black in color.
Where you can find it: It resides in places where there has been extreme flooding due to water leaks. This is typically in kitchens, bathrooms, or basements.
Health effects: It may cause severe illnesses such as hay fever and skin infections.
Mold is everywhere. No matter what type of mold problem you are having in your home, it’s always best to address it as early as you can. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s imperative to treat all types of mold with the same gravitas as they are all hazardous to your health in one way or another. If you’re concerned about the condition of your home, don’t second guess and immediately ask a professional to conduct mold testing in your home. You may contact Hero Mold Removal for accurate and affordable mold testing and mold removal services.
For more great home ownership tips, be sure to check out the other blogs on Check This House.