Black mold, the dreaded term that bring panic to any homeowner. You may have heard of it and you are most likely aware that it is dangerous. However, would you know how to spot it if it was in your home and more importantly would you know what to do?

Black mold, otherwise known as stachybotrys chartarum is a type of mold that is TOXIC, but there are over 100,000 different types of mold, most with allergenic or toxicity to them. It is not the color of mold you should be concerned with but the quantity of mold and eliminating the source allowing it to grow.

The quantity of mold is a judgement call. If you have 1 square foot of mold, you don’t need to call in a Hazmat team. Clean it carefully, using proper respiratory protection (the web is full of helpful videos and tips). When you should start getting concerned is when you have a quantity, say greater than 10 square feet. At that point, you have a lot of mold and probably want to get it professionally re-mediated (removed).

Because it needs moisture to breed, it is usually found in areas of your home that have high moisture levels such as crawl spaces or basements. Mold often grows on drywall, ceilings, carpet and baseboards but can be anywhere in your home if exposed to enough moisture. Even if something is not directly wet, exposure to high humidity (60%+) for extended periods of time (days, weeks, months) can allow mold to grow. Mold can grow in as little as three days.

How to Tell if Mold is Present?

Just like its name, black mold is just black in color. Mold can also appear slimy or with a green/blue/grey/brown tint. Mold can sometimes have a strong odor and you might notice a musty or mildew smell in the area. If you come across any areas in your home where you recognize the above, then you should act quickly. When something is moldy, and likely wet, things do not get better. They will usually will only get worse. “Kicking the can down the road” does not help and can only hurt.

The only precise way to know if something is mold, and what the contamination levels are, is to have it tested. This is not a home remedy type test, nor is a house inspector the right person to test. You will need to have an Industrial Hygienist (IH) oversee the testing. A good remediation company can recommend an IH that they have worked with before. This can cost several hundred dollars, but is worth it, if you have a serious problem

Before you get testing done, you should have the home inspected by a remediation company. They can help give insight and understand exactly how much mold you might be dealing with. Sometimes “you can’t see the forest through the trees” and it is difficult for a homeowner to know if they have a significant problem or not. Having a qualified, independent third party give you a professional opinion on this is worth the inspection fee you might have to pay. This is step one.

Why is it Dangerous?

Most mold is relatively harmless, and we are exposed to it on a regular frequent basis. However, this is mold is in normal quantities, in every day to day life. If you have significant quantities of mold present, mold can wreak havoc on your health if left untreated. There are many symptoms you could have depending on how severe your mold is and how long it has been in your home. A homeowner with mold present in their home could experience the following:
• Difficulty breathing, respiratory issues
• Headaches
• Rashes
• Persistent coughing and sneezing
• Eye Irritation
• Extreme tiredness
• Trouble concentrating
• Nausea and vomiting (In extreme cases)

The scariest part of all is that if it is severe enough and left untreated, mold can be deadly. The most important thing you can do if you find mold in your home is to take care of it immediately. The unfortunate truth is that the people most susceptible to being affected by mold are those persons either in a delicate transition in life, immune suppressed/compromised in some way, or have other respiratory problems.

Examples:
• Infants
• Elderly
• Those with breathing difficulty, Asthma, COPD,  Etc.
• Someone who has had exposure to significant quantities of mold previously and were affected b it, are more susceptible now
• Those persons with known severe allergic reactions
• People with known mold allergies.

Call a restoration company right away that specializes in mold remediation services. Here at ServiceMaster Restoration, we offer professional mold remediation services. With years of experience in the industry we know what it takes to destroy, not just black mold, but mold of all types. If you see signs of mold in your home, call us today at 704-527-1151.