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After a wet rainy season in Marin County, the stage is set for things to grow. That includes a variety of household molds. This is cause for concern, especially if you, or someone in your family suffers from allergies or mold sensitivities.
Of course, the best way to keep mold out of the house is to prevent it. Leaky pipes, and ill-fitting windows can let moisture in so it pools faster than it can evaporate. Those wet areas are a breeding ground for mold. But did you know, that certain types of mold can invade your home when everything is dry?
Mold grows outside and inside.
Alternaria – This is one of the most common kinds of outdoor mold. In fact, there are more than 40 varieties of this mold and it causes degenerative problems in trees and shrubs. On dry windy days it can be carried by the air and is often found in the environment in the summer or spring. A breeze can pick up the mold and carry it right into your home like a moist seeking missile. In the event it doesn’t quite make it to an ideal spot to multiply, it can settle on furniture and clothing. It can also live and grow inside a wall or under a carpet, in addition to landing happily on house plants or produce.
Not surprisingly, mold is happiest in moist areas such as showers, sinks and dim, dark, poorly lit areas inside the home. Varieties of alternaria are associated with allergic reactions and asthma.
Aspergillus – This is another indoor mold that is quite common. Inhaling the spores can cause minor damage. Severe reactions include inflamed lungs, respiratory infections, allergic reactions, and inflamed lungs.
Aureobasidium – Did you know there is mold that lives on painted walls, wallpaper, wooden furniture and in caulk? That would be aureobasidium. The colonies may start out pink with black and get darker as they grow. This mold may cause more severe reactions than you experience with other molds. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea, skin rashes, breathing difficulties, hives and bloodshot eyes. Breathing difficulties, a swollen throat and tightness in the chest can result, too.
Chaetomium – This mold is the kind that gives off that musty, old-house smell. Drywall that suffers water damage can act like a sponge holding moisture where chaetomium thrives. Nail and skin infections have been attributed to this type of mold. For anyone with a weak or compromised immune system, this mold, categorized as a mycotoxin, is considered dangerous.
Penicillium – According to ScienceDirect penicillium is a diverse fungal genus with more than 300 known species today and are widely present throughout world…and has major importance in the natural environment as well as food and drug production in industry. While we won’t negate the scientific benefits of this mold, when it thrives in a damp home, it can cause health problems. Penicillium has been found in water damaged carpeting, furniture and even insulation. It can cause allergic reactions, lung inflammation and sinus infections.
Stachysbotrys chartarum – Commonly known as black mold stachysbotrys chartarum is categorized as a mycotoxin. While it sounds scary and can certainly become a serious health hazard, especially for individuals with weakened immune systems, prevention, or professional removal can circumvent the problems. As with most molds, it thrives in dark, warm, damp places. All the familiar symptoms apply to this mold, as to those above. Some of our research found sites that indicated this mold can be deadly, so you will want to talk to your healthcare provider for more specifics, and the Center for Disease Control offers a wealth of information on mold and its effects on your health.
Be sure to do a routine check on all the places mold may grow.
Likely places to look? Basements and crawlspaces, as well as attic areas where a hidden roof leak may not have made a mark on your ceiling yet, likely spots to look. You will also want to check connections to your water heater and washing machine, in addition to examining any air conditioning pipes and ducts.
You can also install leak detectors, that actually sound an alarm when humidity levels rise over a certain point. Some can alert you by text message or through a smart device.
Organic Cleaning Marin can help you keep mold from getting a grip in those hard to reach areas in your kitchen and bathroom. If you find you have mold in the other areas we’ve identified, we maintain a network of professionals who can help you. Contact us today.