All About Black Mold

black mold

One of the primary reasons why homeowners panic when spotting mold in the home is the scary reputation that black mold has earned. Depending on the toxicity of the mold and the material that was fuel for mold growth, the growth in your home could be completely harmless or deadly and toxic. Black Mold 101 First, it’s important to note that all black-colored mold is not toxic mold. Also, all toxic mold is not deadly. The most common type of black colored mold is Cladosporium, which is not fatal. Instead, it can exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms. Other common strains of black mold include Alternaria, Aureobasidium, Dresclera, Pithomyces, Stemphylium and Ulocladium. So, what type of black mold is toxic? Stachybotrys chartarum, which can be dark green or black in color. It is most often discovered in attics and crawlspaces, and it needs a space with continuous moisture for growth. The toxic nature of the mold comes from the hazardous mycotoxins that are released into the air and inhaled. Any black mold that releases mycotoxins is considered toxic mold. What Leads to Black Mold Growth? As we mentioned above, the primary spot for toxic mold growth is in the attic. Many bathroom exhaust fans and kitchen fans in older houses vent to the attic instead of outside of the home. The moist air from the bathroom will be deposited in the attic. If there is enough continuous moisture, mold can grow. Another common cause of black mold growth is flood damage and water damage that was not properly remediated. Walls and other parts of the home with a large amount of cellulose and low amount of nitrogen are food for black mold when water is left around. Symptoms of Toxic Mold Exposure Toxic mold and black mold can wreak havoc on […]

November 21, 2018 Mold

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How to Control Mold Before It Takes Over Your Home

Control Mold

Winter is rapidly approaching, which means that dark nights and damp, chilly weather are on the way. As you close the windows and kick on the heat, the air quality in your home can go downhill rapidly. Without fresh air coming into your home and with damp air lingering, mold can become an issue. How can you take steps now to control mold before it takes over your home this winter? Identify Problem Areas You can’t mold-proof your entire home to control mold, but you can work to make things more resistant to mold. Take a walk around your house and keep your eyes peeled for problem areas. Does your basement flood on a regular basis? Is there condensation on a window in your bedroom? What about water stains on the ceiling? Work with a mold remediation expert like Flood Department to see where problems are and identify solutions. Fixing the problem now can prevent it from getting worse because mold will never go away on its own. Dry Wet Spots Right Away Mold needs moisture to grow, so any wet spots in your home should be taken care of as soon as they appear. If there is water in your basement after a rainstorm or even a spill of water on your carpeting, you should make sure that it is fully dry within 24 hours. If flooding has occurred, you should have a water remediation company take care of removing the water and also remove any water-damaged textiles and drywall. Use the Right Ventilation What ventilation do you have in areas of your home with high levels of moisture, like your kitchen and bathroom? Each of those rooms should have overhead ventilation, like a fan, and any moisture-producing appliances like clothes dryers should also be ventilated outdoors. If you […]

October 10, 2018 Mold

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The Causes of Attic Mold

There are plenty of things stored in your attic—old yearbooks, your wedding dress and seasonal decorations waiting for colder weather to roll around. However, there can be less-than-desirable things also hiding in your attic. Attic mold is a health hazard for your family, and it can do serious damage to your home. What are the most common culprits behind attic mold? A Leaky Roof If you have a bad leak in your roof, the water might leak into your attic and then drip through the floor underneath to give you a heads up. While that’s a pain, you will at least know the problem before it can get even worse. However, sometimes small leaks in the roof go unnoticed until someone goes upstairs to grab a box and sees an old puddle. Even if you have the mold removed, it will always return until you get the roof repaired. Insulation Issues Did you DIY your insulation? Missing insulation or poorly installed installation can also foster mold growth. The wrong type of insulation can trap moisture from the lower level of the home that rises and lead to mold. If you used insulation on top of insulation and chose one with foil or paper backing, you might have created a vapor barrier that will lock moisture in and encourage attic mold. Vents and Fans Leading to the Attic If your dryer vent, plumbing vent, kitchen fan or bathroom fan is routed into the attic, the moisture in the air can get trapped and cause mold growth. Since mold needs three things to grow (food, moisture and warmth), keeping a warm flow of moist air into your attic can cause attic mold to thrive. Water Heaters or Furnaces in the Attic While traditionally the basement was the only place that water heaters […]

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What Should I Do After a Flood?

Just a few weeks ago, the second tragic flood in two years struck Ellicott City, MD. While the level of flooding that occurred is not easily remediated, smaller floods due to heavy rain have become commonplace in many Maryland homes. What should you do if your home is full of water? Prevent Further Risks If the flood that happened was so severe that you needed to leave your home, you should take care when returning to the property. Check for structural damage like cracks, warping or holes before entering the property. You should also contact your utility provider immediately if you are concerned about damage to water, electric, sewer or gas lines. Turn off all water and electricity supplies to the home to prevent further hazards. Take Photos Before you remove water, you should thoroughly document the damage to your home in photos and videos. Your insurance company will need to see as much evidence as possible to determine what you will receive for the damage. If you remove water or items before you take the time to document everything, you could decrease your insurance coverage and be unable to afford the necessary repairs. Protect You and Your Family Even if the water sitting in your home appears to be clear and clean, there is a high probability that it has been contaminated by sewage, chemicals and debris. Before entering, you should put on waders or waist-high waterproof boots. You should get rid of any perishables that have had contact with the water. You should call a professional water remediation company like Flood Department. Call Your Insurance Company You should notify your insurance company as quickly as you can after a flood occurs. If the entire area around you has been affected as a result of heavy rains, remember that […]

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The Most Common Types of Indoor Mold

While some indoor molds are worse than others, none of them are a good thing to spot. Understanding the most common types of indoor mold will help you to identify them and any potential threat to your family’s health. Cladosporium This mold species is commonly found in basements that are not waterproofed and that have experienced high moisture levels or basement flooding. Cladosporium can cause severe asthma attacks, so it is important to remove it the moment that it is detected. Inside, this indoor mold can be spotted on carpeting, flooring, acrylic walls, underneath wallpaper and in insulation. Cladosporium is deep green, brown and black and expands into branching colonies.  This mold appears to be fuzzy and is soft to the touch. Stachybotrys This is more commonly known as black mold, which is highly toxic to humans and, after short-term or long-term exposure it can lead to a wide range of health problems. Stachybotrys thrives in warm conditions and grows along damp surfaces. It appears in long streaks and is black or dark blue in color. It appears to be slimy and will smear if you touch it. Aspergillus Aspergillus is a type of indoor mold that can weaken the immune system and cause health issues. It grows along wallpaper, flooring, carpeting, upholstered furniture, gypsum board, insulation, plastic, leather and wood. It is green and white and forms in circular patches. It appears to be soft and will crumble if you touch it. Why Is Mold So Dangerous? Indoor mold can be very toxic and have long-term effects depending on the length of exposure and the mold species. Seniors, pregnant women, children and anyone with pre-existing health conditions will be disproportionately affected. The health effects of mold can range from mild sensitivity to chronic conditions. Those with mold sensitivity typically […]

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Warning Signs That You Have a Mold Problem

While the mold on the old slice of bread in your bread basket isn’t inherently dangerous, the mold lurking behind your walls might very well be. Household mold is incredibly common and, depending on the variety, also very dangerous. It can be hard to tell whether or not you have a mold problem if you don’t know what to look for. Warning Signs of Mold: Your Health If you have a mold problem in your home, you might be experiencing symptoms that feel a lot like seasonal or household allergies. If your symptoms improve when you leave your home and seem to get worse when you’ve been at home for longer periods of time, there’s a chance that it’s a mold problem. The warning signs of mold include: Coughing Sneezing Itchy, sore or scratchy throat Runny nose Sinus pain Difficulty breathing Itchy, watery eyes Irritated and itchy skin Depending on the type of mold in your home, there might be many serious consequences of long-term exposure including organ damage, cancer, internal bleeding or death. Warning Signs of Mold: Your Home If you take the time to pay attention when walking around your home, you can often detect the early signs of a mold problem. Musty Odor: Every mold does not produce a smell, but many of them do. If you have a lingering musty odor, there might be mold in your home. Visible Mold: It might go without saying, but visible mold is definitely a sign that you have a mold problem. Some molds appear to be white, while others look like clusters of dark black spots. Mold can be almost any color, including gray, green, brown, pink, purple or orange. If you are not sure whether or not a growth in your home is mold, don’t hesitate to call […]

April 25, 2018 Mold

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The Effects of Mold and Mildew on Your Health

Mold and mildew are fungi that flourish in wet and moist areas inside and outside of your home. Over time, both types of fungi can cause damage to the surfaces beneath them. Thanks to rapidly-spreading spores that can quickly become colonies, it is hard to control mold growth. If you are experiencing a musty odor in your home and not sure if it is a real problem, you should know more about the effects of mold and mildew on your health. How Does Fungus Harm Your Health? Some children and adults are very sensitive to mold and mildew. Symptoms can range from itchy eyes to skin rashes. Those dealing with chronic lung and sinus issues can suffer serious infections after exposure to either type of fungi. One study, conducted by the Institute of Medicine, discovered a link between exposure to a damp indoor environment and respiratory symptoms in healthy people. The symptoms of fungi exposure include: Coughing and wheezing Rashes Watery or itchy eyes Redness of the eyes Hay fever-like symptoms In rare cases, people can develop serious reactions, including fever and trouble breathing. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict whether or not someone will have a bad reaction to mold, which makes it even more important to proactively test for it and remove it. How Is Exposure Treated? If you are concerned that you have been exposed to mold, you should first try to determine where you were exposed and if the source can be removed. If you cannot get rid of the mold in your home or workplace immediately, you should take antihistamines. These can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by your doctor. If you have a serious reaction, your doctor may need to prescribe corticosteroids or nasal sprays to manage your symptoms. Controlling Mold […]

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