You can stumble on mold damage during a deep clean or after recovering from flood or water damage. Finding mold in your home can be serious, depending on how much and what kind of mold it is.
When you find a patch of mold, it’s most likely not toxic, so you don’t need to call poison control or first responders. If you discover mold in your home and have been experiencing cold-like symptoms, you may want to consult a medical professional.
In the meantime, you can identify the type of mold by what it looks like and where it is growing.
Where To Look For Mold
Some types of mold can survive just about anywhere, but most varieties of mold prefer shady and wet environments.
You should look for mold in damp places or where there is a lot of moisture. Here are some of the most common places where you can find mold.
Studs and Drywall
If your home floods, water has likely permeated throughout the floor and walls. Your drywall, wooden studs, and subfloor are likely saturated with moisture. This should be the first place you look for mold.
Wood and drywall remain dry under normal conditions. When exposed to water, they can soak up moisture like a sponge. Since they are made from organic materials, mold loves to use them as a food source.
The types of mold that most commonly grow here are:
- Stachybotrys —
More commonly known as “black mold,” this type is infamous for its toxic nature. It grows in black splotches that become larger as it spreads. It is known to cause headaches, nosebleeds, breathing problems, and fatigue.
- Aureobasidium Pullulans —
This type of mold starts pink or grey and turns deep brown and black as it matures. While not as dangerous as black mold, this fungus can still cause skin irritation and trigger allergies when touched.
- Chaetomium —
This mold is a nuisance once it takes hold, expanding rapidly behind your walls after a flood. It has a white and cottony texture and spreads quickly in warm and moist environments. This can trigger allergies in sensitive people. Once in between walls, chromium is nearly impossible to clean without professional help.
Food and Plants
Mold feeds on organic matter. What better food source to find than plant and food material? If you keep indoor plants or find mold growing in or on your leftover food, check it against these types of mold:
- Mucormycetes —
This is a white and fuzzy mold that can be toxic if inhaled, causing respiratory problems. In immunocompromised persons, these spores can potentially cause fungal infections.
- Fusarium —
Fusarium is a mold that is common in garden plants. This can be a particularly hardy strain, being able to propagate in cooler temperatures than is typical for mold. You can identify it by the pink and red texture it produces. Reactions to this are similar to mild allergic reactions, but some strains can be quite toxic.
AC Systems and Humidifiers
As stated before, mold prefers moist environments. One of the most likely places to find mold in your home is in or near AC systems and humidifiers.
Moisture can often be found near AC systems due to temperature changes. When one surface becomes cooler, humidity near the cooling object condenses into water. In AC units, you may find mold growing in and along condensation lines and in drip pans.
The purpose of humidifiers is strictly to add moisture to the air. These machines will often contain water containers and components nearly constantly immersed in water.
These are the types of mold most commonly found near AC units and humidifiers:
- Mucormycets — Mentioned Above
- Acremonium —
Here is an example of a mold that is difficult to identify due to its various colors. This mold grows in various colors and takes on a dry and powdery look as it ages. It is toxic, being capable of causing allergy-like symptoms, breathing problems, and fungal infections.
- Trichoderma —
Trichoderma mold grows in white and olive green patches in very wet environments. It increases and spreads quickly and can cause allergenic responses in people sensitive to mold. Some strains of this mold can produce harmful toxins. It can also rot wood if allowed to grow.
Showers, Sinks, and Tubs
The areas around your sinks, bathtubs, and showers are vulnerable to mold. The moist environment provides the perfect place for these microorganisms to thrive. You may notice mold growth in the corners and around drains, especially if water pools in these areas.
Here is what you need to know about the molds that grow here:
- Alternaria —
This type of mold is a common one to find in homes. If you have mold growing in your bathroom or near a leak, there is a good chance it is Alternaria. This mold is distinguished by its soft, velvet-brown texture and color. Once it gains a foothold, this mold grows rapidly. Even though it is not toxic, you should treat it fast.
- Trichoderma — Mentioned Above
Carpets, upholstery, and other textiles can be a magnet for some types of mold. Here is what you need to know about these molds:
- Cladosporium —
It can be hard to distinguish the olive green and brown velvet texture of Cladosporium from other molds. While not toxic, this mold can cause allergic reactions. Infected textiles may need to be disposed of completely for the best mold damage remediation success.
Fusarium — Mentioned Above
Other Damp Surfaces
Some molds don’t have a preferred material or location to settle in, growing instead wherever it is damp, shaded, and warm.
Here are the final molds on our list:
- Aspergillus —
Multiple colors make this mold difficult to identify. It is a mostly harmless mold, but those with compromised health should avoid exposure.
- Ulocladium —
This mold appears black but is not as harmful as black mold. It’s commonly found after floods and needs a constantly moist environment to thrive. It can cause allergic reactions and should be cleaned as soon as possible.
- Penicillium —
Although a valuable medicine, penicillin mold can trigger allergic reactions. This mold is blue-green and can be found wherever there is moisture.
- Trichoderma — Mentioned Above
Western Disaster Cleanup’s Recommendation for Fixing Mold Damage
Generally speaking, there are different levels of contamination. However, the most important one for homeowners to consider is contamination cumulatively less than 10 square feet. If mold is present in a greater area than this, the CDC recommends a more involved process many homeowners need to be trained for.
If you need professional help, call or visit our website. We can completely restore your home so that it is safe for you and your family.