There are different types of mold that can grow in your home. There is the well-known variety of mold that you see on food in the fridge, which needs to be disposed of immediately, but other kinds can actually grow and thrive on a variety of surfaces like wallpaper, paint, carpet, and wood.
If you’re a homeowner and you notice patches of mold growing in your home, you should consider how mold affects the selling of your home. Little things can make a big difference when selling a house. Potential buyers may be easily put off by noticing mold, even the slightest bit of mildew on a corner of a piece of furniture. Although mold is not always visible, the smell of it is distinctive. So if your house smells a bit musty and damp, it may lower your chances of selling and ultimately prevent the sale of your home.
Common Types of Mold in the Home
Even if you’re not planning to sell, however, mold can be an annoyance and often harmful for your health. There are many different types of household mold, but the most common indoor ones are:
Often found outdoors but also grows in bathroom areas indoors. Can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Frequently found indoors. Can cause inflammation of the lungs, allergic reactions, and respiratory infections.
This mold is unique in that it can grow in cooler areas as well as warmer ones. Quite often it is seen on fabrics and wood surfaces such as cabinets and floorboards. Cladosporium can cause a variety of breathing problems.
You most often see this mold on materials damaged by water. If, for example, you have a leaking roof that drips through the ceiling, it’s likely that penicillium will grow around the affected areas. This particular type of mold is known for growing and spreading quickly and has a bluish or green appearance. Like the other molds, it can cause a variety of health problems including sinus infections, inflammation of the lungs, and allergic reactions.
This mold is less common than the others. It has a slimy black appearance and texture, and is often inaccurately referred to as ‘toxic mold.’ The mold itself is not toxic, but it produces toxic compounds known as ‘mycotoxins.’ Mycotoxins are dangerous to come into contact with and can cause a number of illnesses including chronic sinus infections, breathing problems, and even depression. It appears around the areas in the home that are consistently damp, like in the parts of an air conditioning system where condensation occurs.
By learning about these household molds, we realize that mold more than just an eyesore. We become more aware of what to look for and how it can affect us and realize it can diminish the quality of air in the house, and reduce the quality of life for every household member. Finding out mold’s favorite places to hide around your house is the next step to getting rid of it.
Common Areas Around the Home for Mold Growth
Mold can potentially grow anywhere inside or outside the home. Mold spores appear naturally in the air and are everywhere. In small amounts, mold is harmless, but when it gets to the point where you can actually see the mold spreading, it’s time to do something. There are a number of factors that contribute to mold growth, some of which are inevitable in the home.
The best way to prevent mold growth is to make sure it doesn’t get all of the ingredients it needs to thrive. Unfortunately, the ‘ingredients’ it needs include materials that are high in cellulose such as rugs, carpets, anything wood, or drywall. It is unrealistic to not furnish our house with these materials in order to prevent mold. If we control the environmental factors that mold thrives in such as moisture, darkness, high temperatures, and stagnant air, it reduces the chance of mold. Maintaining a cool to moderate temperature and low humidity level, circulating air around the house by opening windows and doors regularly, and household cleaning can all reduce the risk of mold growing in the home.
Lastly, even though mold can technically grow and thrive anywhere in your house, there are specific areas that tend to be more vulnerable to it. Below is a list of areas where mold commonly appears.
We don’t often examine the areas around our windowsills, even on the inside, but this is a common place for mold to grow. Windows that haven’t been sealed well are particularly prone to mold growth. If you notice condensation building up often on the inside of the window, this is a good sign that your window needs to be re-sealed or replaced. Because of this condensation, and the dirt that can build up in the grooves of the windowsill, mold has both the moisture and food it requires in order to grow. Cleaning the grooves and wiping any condensation that occurs regularly will reduce the risk of mold appearing.
The cleverness of mold means that it can often grow behind wallpaper, not just where it might be visible. You could potentially have mold growing behind your wallpaper in many areas and not even know. Luckily, if there is an imperfection or a small hole in the wallpaper from years of wear and tear, you might be able to spot the mold hiding behind it. In other instances, mold actually grows on the side of the paper that you can see. In either case, if you are certain there is mold growing on either side of your wallpaper, it is best to hire a professional and not try to remove it yourself. If the mold is trapped on the underside, it will release spores into the air the minute you peel the paper off the wall. Hiring a professional who knows what they’re doing will prevent this additional mishap.
If you have even the smallest leak coming through the ceiling anywhere in your house, it is likely that mold is growing in your attic. This is why it is often recommended that leaks are fixed as soon as they appear so that you remove the mold’s growing environment before it becomes a problem. Attics are common areas for mold to appear because they are usually dusty and have little airflow. Dust in the air attracts mold spores because mold likes to eat dust, as well as other organic materials including paper, leather, and wood. Other areas of your house are dusted and vacuumed, but unless you’re very fussy, you probably don’t dust the attic, so extra care should be taken to keep it as dry as possible.
The most common types of household mold are not only aesthetically displeasing, but are damaging to our health. Respiratory issues are the most common ailment caused by molds, but some even have the potential to cause or trigger depression, so it’s evident that the compounds released by mold are not safe for inhalation and have unpredictable effects.
The number one cause of mold is the level of humidity in the air, as molds generally thrive in a moist environment. There are a number of ways you can simultaneously reduce moisture levels and improve the general quality of the air. One of the best ways you can do this is to monitor the efficiency of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system by scheduling regular maintenance by an HVAC professional. A well-maintained HVAC system is more likely to run without incident and can improve air quality by removing a number of the contaminants in the air that are necessary for the growth of molds. Contact us today to safeguard your family from mold with a free evaluation of your HVAC system!