Did you know that there are over 100,000 types of mold? Not all types of mold are a threat, though. For instance, there are toxic molds found in homes (e.g., trichoderma) and types used for medicinal purposes (e.g., Penicillium). With hundreds of thousands of mold species, it can be overwhelming for non-professionals to determine and detect them. However, if you understand what mold is and how it forms, you’ll know what to look out for and when to hire a professional.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that grows in multicellular structures, meaning it consists of smaller organisms called hyphae. Hyphae produce mold spores that travel in the air, latching onto and growing on moist surfaces. It can appear black, white, purple, green, grey, pink, yellow, red, orange in color. You can find mold almost anywhere where moisture and oxygen are present. Outdoors, mold grows to break down dead leaves, plants, and trees. Indoors, mold spores feed on a variety of surfaces, and it can lead to structural damages and mold-related allergies.
Mold spores are tiny “seeds” invisible to the naked eye that travel in the air. Typically, mold spores do not pose any threats when inhaled in small amounts. However, if exposed to large amounts of mold spores, it can lead to mold-related allergies or illnesses.
Mold spores can enter homes through windows, vents, HVAC units, and doorways. They can also attach themselves to clothing, shoes, and pets. If there’s moisture present inside of homes, these mold spores can latch onto a surface and reproduce to form mold.
You cannot avoid mold spores as they are naturally occurring; however, you can monitor mold spore levels in your area and minimize your time outdoors. The National Allergy Bureau tracks pollen levels and mold levels in the United States and Canada so you can monitor your exposure. By clicking on your state and area, you can sign up for email alerts when levels are low, moderate, high, and very high. This is particularly important for individuals who experience seasonal allergies.
Indoors, mold spores need moisture to thrive. According to the EPA, “Indoor relative humidity (RH) should be kept below 60 percent—ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent, if possible.” When humidity levels exceed 60 percent, mold can grow. Additionally, mold can grow in your home if you have water damage. If that’s the case, you must clean it up within 24-48 hours to avoid a moisture problem. Even if you spill water on carpeting, you must clean it up immediately because moisture can get trapped in carpeting.
Unlike plants, fungi cannot produce food on their own because they have no chlorophyll. Because of this, fungi, such as mold, feed on oxygen, moisture, and water to grow. Mold can also digest and grow on dirt, dust, and particles, meaning that it can grow on “indigestible” surfaces that are covered in those things.
Surfaces Where Mold Grows
Most homeowners find mold around roofs, windows, basements, bathrooms, or anywhere with flood damage. Because mold can form in a variety of places, it’s important to understand what it looks like on different surfaces and how it can impact materials in your home. For instance, mold can appear black, green, or white on brick, and it grows when moisture is present on the surface or between mortar joints. To learn more about how mold grows on surfaces, such as carpet, drywall, insulation, tile, wood, and more, visit our latest blog post.
Contact Mold Medics
If you see mold or have a musty smell in your home, call Mold Medics today! We offer natural solutions for home mold removal, from cleaning black mold to mold remediation. With our services, you can feel confident that your home is clean and healthy.
If you’re unsure if there’s mold in your home or if you’re experiencing mold-related allergies, we can conduct mold testing. Our mold experts are trained and certified by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) to educate our customers while performing high-caliber mold testing. Our tests will determine if mold levels are elevated and what types of mold are in the environment. We also perform air sampling as part of our mold testing because the problem isn’t always what you see, it’s what you breathe! Contact us today to get a FREE quote.