1) Mold Requires Air, Moisture Food to Grow
Mold is a kind of fungi that reproduces by making tiny spores which can survive harsh weather conditions and spreads easily over large areas. Mold spores exist everywhere in the outdoor environment and can get indoors thorough open doors, windows, air ducts, vents, etc. or even attached to clothes, shoes, and bags. Once the mold spores get into your home, they will wait for the right conditions to start developing.
The purpose of mold is to breakdown dead organic material. Therefore, it thrives in warm, humid conditions where organic “food” is available in abundance. Your home provides a food so as soon as there is any source of moisture – flooding, leaky roofs, pipe leaks, condensation, steam from cooking and showers, etc., the mold spores can begin reproducing and spreading all over your home.
2) There are over 5,000 types of mold but only 5 of them are commonly found indoors
Most household molds belong to one of the following five types:
- Alternaria mold is usually found in buildings that have suffered some kind of water damage. It can appear black, grey, or dark brown and has a wooly or down-like texture. It can cause various allergic reactions and asthma attacks;
The notorious black mold is not as common as other, less harmful types of household molds.
- Aspergillus is the most common type of household mold, especially in warmer climates. It can be grey, brown, yellow, green, white, or black in color. Aspergillus mold causes not only allergic reactions, but also respiratory infections and inflammation of the lungs in people with weak immune systems;
- Cladosporium can grow in lower temperatures than other kinds of mold. It has a black or olive-green color and may trigger hay fever and asthma symptoms;
- Penicillium is another common mold often found on carpeting, wallpaper, and insulation. It looks blue or green and can produce strong musty odors;
- Stachybotrys also known as “black mold”, produces toxic components called mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems, such as respiratory problems, asthma attacks, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, and depression. The toxic black mold has a characteristic musty odor and usually appears on surfaces that have been in prolonged contact with water.
3) Mold develops very quickly but often remains hidden for a long time
When all the right conditions are present – moisture, ample food, and a temperature of 41 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, mold can begin growing in 24 to 48 hours. However, it can often remain hidden until the spores have already affected large areas of your property and caused considerable structural damage. This is so because mold usually starts growing in very inconspicuous areas of the house – inside walls, behind leaky appliances, within insulation, throughout the HVAC system, in crawl spaces, and in other damp, dark places (mold doesn’t need light to grow, which is why it is often found in poorly lit areas of the home).
4) Mold growth is a sign of water damage
Mold cannot develop unless there is a source of excess moisture.
Unless you have experienced a recent flood or sewer backup, you may have no reason to suspect water damage to your home. The presence of mold, however, should alert you of a hidden problem (as already mentioned, mold spores cannot develop unless there is some source of excessive moisture). Therefore, if you detect a musty smell in the basement or attic, or see mold patches on the ceilings or walls of your home, you need to carefully inspect your property and find the source of the moisture – it may be a leaky pipe, or a leaky roof, or a malfunctioning appliance, or a basement leak or backed up drain that results in too much moisture.
Anyway, you need to take adequate precautionary measures in order to prevent further problems. If you leave mold untreated and don’t remove the source of excessive moisture, the spores will continue to grow and affect a larger area of your home, compromising its structural integrity and reducing its value.
5) Your homeowner’s insurance may exclude mold damage
The standard homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not cover mold damage, depending on the cause of the mold problem. If mold results from a covered water loss, such as the sudden or accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from the plumbing system or a household appliance, the cost of mold remediation may be covered under home insurance, because the reason for the claim is the covered peril, not the mold itself.
Some insurance policies, contain exclusions, specifying that they will not cover mold removal and remediation, regardless of the source of the problem. Besides, standard insurance policies exclude flood damage and do not cover water damage as a result of neglected home maintenance – long-term roof leaks, landscaping or drainage problems, condensation, etc.
Even when mold damage is covered, there may be limitations on the coverage (many policies cap it at a certain amount). If you want to maximize your coverage, you can purchase a mold rider as an add-on to your existing insurance policy.
6) Mold can cause various types of health problems
It is a proven fact that prolonged exposure to mold may cause a variety of allergy symptoms and other serious health issues:
- Chronic fatigue and headaches;
- Dizziness and disorientation;
- Sneezing, runny nose, or nasal congestion;
- Itchy eyes and blurry vision;
- Coughing and respiratory problems;
- Skin irritations and rashes;
- Sinus infections and chronic sinusitis;
- Asthma and inflammation of the lungs.
Toxic black mold, especially can have very serious long-term health effects. It produces mycotoxins that can cause a number of circulatory symptoms and vascular problems when inhaled – irregular heartbeat, heart inflammation, low blood pressure, internal or external hemorrhaging, etc.
The health effects of mold can vary from mild allergic symptoms to severe respiratory problems.
The effects of mold exposure can vary considerably from one person to the next (with young children, pregnant women, elderly people, and individuals with chronic diseases and weak immune systems being most at risk), but according to recent studies 1 in every 4 people has tendency to mold type illness.
7) Mold can be difficult to get rid of
Mold is often found in areas that are difficult to reach and remediate. It spreads quickly and affects not only building materials, but also furniture pieces, fabrics, books, and other personal possessions. The spores grow within the materials, so sometimes the only way to remove mold completely is to replace the affected items.
What’s more, most DIY mold removal methods provide only a temporary solution to the problem: household cleaners are not strong enough to eliminate the fungi and paints only hide the problem. Bleach kills the spores but dead spores can be just as harmful as the living ones – some mold species are toxic in both a live form and a dead form.
Mold removal and remediation is better left to the specialists.
The best way to get rid of mold for good is to use professional mold remediation services. The experienced mold removal specialists will discover all the mold (visible, hidden, dormant) in your property, and use advanced equipment and powerful cleaning agents to remove the spores, repair any related damage, disinfect the contaminated area, and purify the air.
8) Mold growth can be prevented
In modern times, mold has become a very common and serious issue. It is mainly due to the fact that building practices nowadays actually promote mold development – building materials are very porous and susceptible to mold growth; homes are built to be energy efficient, so they are air-tight and lack proper ventilation; water pipes run throughout the home hidden inside walls and insulation, etc. This makes mold prevention quite a difficult task. Yet, there are some efficient precautionary measures you can take to inhibit mold growth in your home:
- Ensuring good air circulation – keeping windows open, running bathroom fans, keeping air ducts clean – can help reduce the risk of mold growth;
- Keeping indoor humidity levels below 45 percent can inhibit mold growth;
- Keeping your property in good repair (roofs and foundations, plumbing system, HVAC system) can prevent excess moisture from entering the building;
- Inspecting your property at regular intervals (and especially after major storms, hard rains, snow meltdown, etc.) can help detect mold growth in its early stages and prevent it from spreading any further;
- Adding mold-inhibitors to paints before applying can reduce mold growth potential;
- Removing already affected materials can help prevent mold contamination.
Did you know that penicillin is actually a type of mold?
9) Mold can be useful
Mold is not necessarily bad. It plays an essential role in the ecosystem – it breaks down dead organic matter, like dead leaves, trees and recycles them into the environment. Certain species of mold are commonly used as fermenting agents, others are engineered to make delicacy cheeses. Mold is even used in drug production.
10) Interesting facts about mold
- Mold is used in biological warfare;
- Christmas trees can be a source of mold spores;
- Mildew is a type of mold that remains on the surface of the affected materials;
- Each year mold destroys more wood than all the fires and termites combined;
- The World Health Organization acknowledges that mold is a health hazard;
- The cost of repairing mold problems in homes around the United States is approximately 73 billion dollars per year.