It might sound gross, but mold is everywhere. Mold spores are constantly floating through the air, both inside and outside your home. Luckily, mold spores in small doses aren’t harmful. But if mold is allowed to grow unchecked, the higher concentration of spores can have harmful effects on you, your family, and your home.
While there’s no way to determine exactly how many households have mold growing in unseen places, experts estimate that the number could be close to 70% of homes!
Fortunately, not all molds are harmful to your health. There are hundreds of thousands of different strains of mold, and they all look and act differently. While some could cause respiratory issues, others are just unsightly to look at. Either way, it’s always best to call a mold remediation expert as soon as you see any signs of mold just to make sure.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of mold that could be lurking in your home.
The Classifications of Mold
While there might be hundreds of thousands of different strains of mold, they can all be classified into three categories based on how dangerous they are to humans:
- Class A – These are the most dangerous types of mold. They’re highly toxic and can cause serious health effects. Leave the infected area and contact a mold remediation service immediately.
- Class B – Can cause allergic reactions in some people after long exposure. If you already have allergies or a pre existing respiratory condition like asthma, the effects could be worse.
- Class C – Molds that aren’t known to cause health problems.
Luckily, most types of mold aren’t toxic to humans. But even if you find a non-harmful type of mold in your home, it’s still a good idea to call a mold remediation service right away. It can still eat away at your home’s structure, causing serious damage over time.
The Harmful Effects of Mold
Obviously, if you do find a Class A or B mold in your home, time is of the essence. The longer you’re exposed to the harmful spores, the worse the effects on your health. Depending on the toxicity, mold can cause serious health problems for you and your family:
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes and skin
- Shortness of breath
- Asthma development and increased attacks
There have even been claims that extremely toxic strains of mold (including black mold) can cause memory loss, lethargy, and pulmonary hemorrhage, but more research is needed to prove it definitively.
10 Common Types of Mold
Now that you know what mold can do, it’s time to break out your phonetic dictionary and take a look at some of the different types of mold. Here are ten of the most common mold strands that like to hide inside homes around the world, what they can do, and how to identify them.
Stachybotrys Chartarum or Black Mold (Class A)
Stachybotrys Chartarum (or more commonly known as “black mold”) is the boogeyman of the mold world—and for a good reason! It’s one of the most toxic strains of mold you can find in your home.
Black mold releases spores filled with toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. These toxins can get into your bloodstream through your respiratory system and cause a whole host of very serious health effects:
- Skin rashes
- Shortness of breath
- Mood swings
- Aches and pains
- Memory loss
If you already have a preexisting condition like COPD or asthma, these effects could be even worse!
As the name “black mold” might suggest, Stachybotrys is a dark black or greenish mold with a slimy texture. It loves to grow in very damp areas with lots of humidity—which is why it’s rather common in places like Florida.
If you see any signs of black mold in your house, contact a mold remediation service right away. Even limited exposure to black mold is enough to start showing signs of mold poisoning.
Aspergillus (Class A)
Aspergillus is one of the most common types of mold found in the U.S. There are over 185 different species of Aspergillus mold, so it can appear in many different colors, including yellow, white, and green. No matter the color, it typically forms in long chains of mold on surfaces around the home.
Most types of aspergillus mold are Class B, which means they’re allergenic mold, but some strands can be more toxic depending on the environment. Instead of producing mycotoxins like black mold, aspergillus produces aflatoxins, which are a known carcinogen.
Because it could be a harmful Class A mold, be sure to get rid of any aspergillus mold quickly before it can cause problems. Don’t wait around to find out if it’s harmful or not; call a mold remediation expert right away.
Acremonium (Class A)
Like aspergillus, acremonium is made up of around 100 different species of mold that cause varying levels of health effects. Some types have never been shown to cause a problem (Class C), while others are known to produce allergenic spores and even mycotoxins (Class A).
Since it’s not easy to tell the strands apart visually, it’s always best to consider acremonium as a Class A mold.
Acremonium changes its appearance as it grows, making it somewhat hard to identify. It starts out as a small, wet mold and slowly evolves into a fine powdery substance. It can come in a range of colors including pink, gray, white, or orange.
The best place to find acremonium is anywhere there’s condensation. It loves to grow around HVAC systems, humidifiers, window seals, and drain pans.
Alternaria (Class B)
Alternaria is the most common type of allergenic mold you’ll find in your home. While it’s not considered toxic like black mold, it can still cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to mold. People with asthma should be especially careful around Alternaria, as it can cause potentially fatal attacks.
You can spot Alternaria by its velvety texture and dark brown or green hairs. It loves to grow anywhere there’s lots of moisture like around bathtubs, showers, or leaking sinks. If you ever experience a home flood, Alternaria is almost sure to follow.
Although it grows in damp conditions, Alternaria spores spread quickly in a dry, windy environment. If the conditions are right, it won’t take long to spread throughout your entire house. That’s why it’s important to get a mold remediation right away to stop the spread in its tracks.
Aureobasidium (Class B)
Aureobasidium is a spoilage organism, which means it loves to feast on rotting, deteriorating organic material like wood. It loves to live on wet door or window frames, in damp carpets, or behind your walls or wallpaper. Since it can grow at lower temperatures, it’s not unheard of to find Aureobasidium on food in the refrigerator.
Aureobasidium usually starts as pink, black, or brown but turns to a dark brown color as it ages. It’s an allergenic type of mold, which means it can cause reactions for people who are sensitive to mold. The most common type of allergic reactions are eye and skin infections, so it’s best not to touch it with your bare hands. Let a mold remediation service handle the removal to avoid uncomfortable rashes.
Chaetomium (Class A)
If you’ve ever found a brown cotton-like substance that looks like a water stain from a distance, you’ve probably stumbled upon some Chaetomium mold.
Chaetomium loves water, and you’ll likely find it in places that have experienced water damage like leaking sinks, basements or crawl spaces, or in your attic. In all likelihood, you’ll probably know it’s hiding in your house by the musty odor it creates.
There are about 80 different types of Chaetomium, and some are known to produce dangerous mycotoxins. So, if you experience bad water damage, it’s a good idea to hire a mold remediation service to make sure there aren’t any types of Chaetomium lurking about—toxic or not!
Luckily, Chaetomium spores are usually stuck together by moisture and trapped by hairs in the mold, so they don’t typically become airborne until they’re dried out or disturbed.
Cladosporium (Class B)
Cladosporium has a suede-like texture with brown or olive-green coloring. While that might sound like something luxurious you’d want to make a jacket out of, it’s a known allergenic and can cause reactions in people who are sensitive to mold:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Skin rashes
- Asthma attacks
This type of mold loves to live in soft, porous materials, like your carpet or furniture upholstery. It has also been known to hang out inside cabinets or under floorboards. Because it can cause allergic reactions if inhaled, Cladosporium should be handled only by a trained mold remediation specialist.
Fusarium (Class A)
Fusarium is a toxic mold that grows on food (especially fruits) and in very wet areas of your home. It can be found in water-damaged carpet, wet walls, and inside HVAC systems—especially if there’s stagnant water in the drip pan.
Exposure to fusarium can cause a host of health problems. Not only is it an allergenic, but it also produces mycotoxins, which can cause more severe issues like bone infections, nervous system damage, hemorrhages, and internal bleeding.
Fusarium grows in white, pink, or reddish patches, and its spores can spread quickly. If you find it in your home, it’s important to contact a mold remediation service immediately to examine the rest of your house. It’s definitely not a mold you want to be around.
Penicillium (Class B)
Penicillium is one of the most common types of mold found in households all over the world and can live in a wide variety of environments. It loves damp building materials like walls, floors, wallpaper, carpets, or anywhere else it can take hold. You can also find it on your bread, fruits, and vegetables—as it’s one of the most common causes of food spoilage.
Penicillium is easy to spot because it’s one of the “prettiest” types of mold (if you can use that adjective to describe mold). It grows in bright blue, green, and yellow patches that look sort of like a paintbrush.
You might be thinking the name penicillium sounds a lot like the antibiotic penicillin. Well, you’re right! Penicillium mold is the main ingredient in penicillin, the antibiotic that has saved millions of lives! But even though it can help you fight infections as penicillin, the mold itself isn’t as friendly.
Penicillium is a known allergenic that can cause serious respiratory problems if inhaled, especially for people with asthma. It produces light, dusty spores that can easily become airborne and travel throughout your entire home. If you spot a colorful patch of penicillium in your house, it’s best to call a mold remediation team to remove the spores and make sure it doesn’t spread.
Ulocladium (Class B)
Ulocladium is an allergenic type of mold that can cause allergy flare-ups in people who are sensitive to mold or those with asthma. It’s typically found in buildings that experience extreme water damage.
This type of mold thrives in wet areas around your house like bathrooms, kitchens, basements, around windows, or in the shower and grows in dark black patches. Does that sound like any other type of mold you know? Ulocladium and Stachybotrys (black mold) look very similar and grow in the same conditions, which makes identifying them quite difficult.
Always call a mold remediation professional to remove any type of black-colored mold. Even if it turns out to be the non-toxic Ulocladium, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Find Mold? Call a Mold Remediation Service
Mold comes in all different shapes, sizes, and colors—and none of them are good! Even if you have a non-toxic type of mold growing in your home, it can still cause serious structural damage over time. No matter which type of mold you find growing in your house, it’s always best to call a mold remediation team to remove it.
A mold remediation professional will be able to uncover the source of the mold infestation to make sure it can’t cause any more damage in the future. They’ll also use commercial-grade equipment to clear the spores from your house to keep your family safe from the harmful effects of both allergenic and toxic mold.
If you suspect mold to be lurking in your house, call the experts at Central Florida Restoration Solutions. At CFRS, we have decades of experience protecting Florida homeowners from the harmful effects of mold, fire, water, and smoke damage. Our mold remediation services will eliminate mold and the source to keep your family and home safe.
Contact us today to get the support you need for all your mold-related problems.