Young Woman Looking At Mold In Cabinet Area In Kitchen

Fungi (like mold and mildew) help natural elements break down so that they can biodegrade. But while its presence might be vital to our environment, it can be dangerous in our homes. Damp quarters, like bathrooms and basements, are prime breeding grounds for mold and mildew. When fungi spores become airborne and are inhaled, our health can suffer.

If you suspect that mold spores are polluting your indoor air quality, aggravating allergies or asthma, or making you sick, it’s important to act swiftly. Read on to learn how to identify the most common types of mold, where to look for it, and how to get rid of it.

Common Types of Household Mold

While there are thousands of species of mold, most homeowners are concerned about Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as “black mold.” While this species is quite rare, it produces a high level of mycotoxins (dangerous mold-based chemicals) that can create a hazardous home environment. That said, any species of mold can become a health risk, therefore, it’s important to clean up any type of mold as soon as it’s found.

  • Mucormycetes: Mucormycetes fungi are most commonly found in the soil during the summer and fall. It’s difficult to avoid these molds completely, but they are considered harmless to most individuals.

  • Alternaria: Alternaria alternata is an allergy-causing mold that is prevalent in the environment. It is dark in color and has a velvety texture. Once inside, it can spread quickly through the home, so prompt removal is important.

  • Aspergillus: While most prevalent in the air, Aspergillus can also be found in compost piles, soil, and decaying plants. Once inside a home, it can grow and spread over surfaces such as clothing and building materials, particularly in moist areas.

Where to Look for Signs of Mold

Sometimes, the presence of mold is obvious, like discolored spots on walls and floors, development of respiratory problems or exacerbation of existing symptoms, and noticeable humidity in a room or area of your home. Other times, however, it’s less obvious that there’s a problem at all. In many cases, mold’s location can provide clues to its cause. The following are some of the most common spots for mold to grow undetected and are thus smart locations to check for its presence:

  • Behind the refrigerator

  • Under sinks

  • In ventilation ducts

  • Under stacks of old newspapers or cardboard

  • Behind the drywall where plumbing lines are present

  • Behind the wallboard around leaking windows

  • Under carpeting that was once wet (including from carpet cleaning)

  • On the back side of acoustic ceiling tiles

  • Behind any drywall that has been affected by a home flood

How to Get Rid of Mold

Mold requires moisture to grow, which is why it’s commonly found in damp, humid areas. Plumbing leaks or flooding, for example, often trigger mold growth and should be repaired immediately. It’s possible to kill mold with a few common household products such as vinegar or a mixture of baking soda and water. When handling or cleaning mold, it’s a good idea to wear gloves, goggles, and a mask for protection. For mold growth that exceeds 10 square feet, the EPA recommends professional cleanup. After removal, the best way to prevent mold and mildew is to reduce the home’s humidity and eliminate any water leaks.

And that’s where we come in. Anthony’s Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is your complete resource for total home comfort. From plumbing repairs to humidity control, we’re ready to make your home a safer and more comfortable place to be.