Mold can kick up your asthma, cause neurological damage in kids and even infect your bones. Here are the most common molds (and how to get them out of your house).
There are three harmful mold types to know: allergenic, pathogenic and toxic. Allergenic mold spores cause allergic reactions like asthma attacks. Pathogenic molds are a health risk to anyone with a suppressed immune system. Toxic molds have dangerous or fatal health effects. One of the nastiest is Stachybotrys chartarum. Bad at tongue-twisters? Call it “black mold.”
Black mold is dangerous, slimy and, well, black. It grows in wet, warm spaces with persistent high humidity, like a basement or air conditioning duct. It has a musty odor. If you’re exposed to it, you might suffer from breathing problems, sinus pain and bad headaches. Black mold can cause neurological damage in children and infants. If you think you have a black mold problem, move your children out of the house and call a mold removal professional as soon as possible.
Be wary of this fungus — it grows in fabrics like carpet and wallpaper even when it’s cold out. It’s pink, white or reddish and it spreads fast. If you see it in one area, do a careful search throughout your home. Fusarium is both an allergenic and toxic mold. It can cause allergic symptoms such as itchy eyes, sneezing and sore throat. Being around it for too long can cause fatal conditions such as bone infections and even internal bleeding.
It’s tough to find Acremonium. It usually grows inside wet drywall and insulation. At first it can look like a small, moist mold. Eventually it gets more powdery. The color varies between white, pink, gray or orange. It’s not a common household mold and grows slowly. But Acremonium can be really serious. It causes a whole load of health problems, from skin infections to pneumonia.
With a name that sounds like a planet in a sci-fi story, Alternaria is the most common allergenic mold. It’s green or brown with a velvety texture. Alternaria grows in damp areas, such as showers and leaky pipes. It tends to show up where there’s been water damage. Exposure to Alternaria can cause allergic symptoms or respiratory problems. It spreads quickly — get rid of it fast.
It treats infections — and causes them too. Penicillin is a velvety blue or green mold and tends to be found in water-damaged areas. Penicillin spores travel quickly and can be found in many places, from carpets to wallpaper and mattresses. A penicillin infection can make symptoms from other conditions or illnesses worse, especially for people with immune disorders.
Trichoderma mold colonies look like white, woolly clusters with green patches. This type of mold grows on damp carpet and other wet surfaces. It’s allergenic, but it can act like Stachybotrys (black mold) and cause similar health issues. Trichoderma can also damage building materials. It can ruin wooden surfaces and lead to rot. Like most molds, Trichoderma should be dealt with by a professional.
Mold inspection and remediation services are two different services. Costs for mold testing depend on the type of testing done, how large a home is, and the size and level of mold growth.
For mold remediation, the mold’s location affects the cost. Treating mold in an accessible place, such as a basement wall, requires less labor and time. But mold in the HVAC duct inside a wall may need demolition, electrical precautions and more. The larger the mold growth, the higher the cost will be to treat and remove it.
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For more on costs, see “How much does mold removal cost?”
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