DIFFERENT TYPES OF MOLD FOUND INSIDE THE HOME
Finding mold in your home is never pleasant. It’s unappealing and can cause damages to your property and your health.
Knowing how to identify the different types of mold is very useful information. Some molds are fairly safe to be around in small amounts, while others are incredibly harmful. Knowing the potential health effects of certain types of mold can provide useful information both for mold removal and mold prevention.
In this article, we’ll go through 12 of the most common varieties of mold found inside a property, how to spot them, and how they impact your health.
No matter what type of mold you’re dealing with, it's best to have it removed right away by a trained and certified mold removal specialist. Even if you haven't fallen ill, exposure to mold builds up and can lead to the development or worsening of serious health symptoms.
For more information, check out the Ultimate Guide To Mold Removal & Prevention.
Classifications Of Mold
There are 3 classifications of mold categorized by their health effects on humans.
Allergenic molds cause mild to severe allergic reactions or allergies such as irritated nose, eyes, throat, skin, or asthma attacks. In small amounts, most people without allergies are unaffected. However, those with asthma or other allergies are susceptible to negative reactions.
Pathogenic molds are more serious and can cause a range of infections or other diseases. These molds are particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, such as infants or the elderly.
Toxigenic molds are the most dangerous as they produce poisonous mycotoxins capable of inflicting severe short and long-term damages, including lung disease, organ failure, and impaired brain function. Toxigenic molds can be deadly and are what’s referred to as “toxic mold”.
Different Types Of Mold Found In The Home
Acremonium is a toxigenic variety of mold that is very harmful to humans. Inhaling acremonium can lead to serious health problems with the immune system, bone marrow, and impair brain function.
Acremonium can appear in a variety of different colors ranging from white to grey and orange to pink. It is most commonly found in areas of high humidity such as inside your HVAC system, around window sills, drain pipes or areas that have recently experienced flooding.
Alternaria is a fast-growing allergenic species of mold that can cause mild to severe respiratory and allergy-related problems if inhaled. It is the most common type of allergenic mold found in the home.
Alternaria appears as a dark green or brown spot with a fuzzy texture. It grows in high-moisture areas such as showers, leaky faucets, and bathtubs. It’s also found where water damage has occurred such as under carpet, around window frames or inside air-con units.
Aspergillus is one of the most common types of mold, with over 200 species known. With so many varieties, aspergillus can show up in nearly any color but is most commonly seen in browns, greens, and yellows.
Aspergillus can be both allergenic and toxigenic depending on the species, causing a wide variety of health problems from asthma symptoms to lung infections and respiratory inflammation.
You’re likely to find aspergillus in areas around rotting leaves, soil, and wood. Like most molds, it’s also found in areas of high humidity like drains and HVAC systems.
Aureobasidium is an allergenic mold variety that usually targets the eyes, snails, and skin. If touched, infection or dermatitis – skin rash – is often the result. Avoid touching it with bare hands.
Aureobasidium usually appears pinkish or brown at first but matures into dark brown and sometimes black color. You can typically find it behind wallpaper or on wood surfaces.
Chaetomium can be either allergenic or pathogenic and starts off as white, then matures to grey and eventually black. It has a fuzzy cotton-like texture and has a strong musty odor. You’ll probably smell it before you see it.
Health effects aren’t usually severe but can cause skin irritation, infections, and problems with those with compromised immune systems.
Look for Chaetomium in areas recently damaged by water, in drywall, leaky roofs, basements, and plumbing.
Cladosporium is an allergenic type of mold that grows in both cold and hot climates. It’s particularly harmful as it typically makes its home in fabrics, carpet, and furniture. It appears as a dark olive green or brown and has a velvety furry texture
Health effects of Cladosporium include allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, irritated eyes, and skin rash. In severe cases, it can cause respiratory problems and lung disease.
Fusarium is both allergenic and toxigenic, often appearing as dark pink or red. It’s also a type of mold that grows in both cold and warm environments and is fast spreading.
Health effects are typical of other allergenic molds, with symptoms including skin rash, irritated eyes, nose, and throat. However, the toxigenic varieties produce toxins that can damage the nervous system and lead to bone infections and even brain abscesses.
You can find Fusarium molds in fabric, carpet, furniture, and areas recently damaged by water. It’s also seen growing on fruit or in composts.
Mucor is one of the more dangerous allergenic species,S often appearing as white or grey colored patches.
Mucor produces mild to severe health problems, especially respiratory.
Those with existing asthma are particularly vulnerable and can produce flu-like symptoms. In rare cases, prolonged exposure to mucor can result in a condition known as Mucormycosis which is a fungal infection that can damage the lungs, sinuses, and sometimes the brain. It also can get into the bloodstream and digestive system causing serious and long-term health consequences.
Look for mucor in damp carpets, wallpaper, drywall, and near HVAC systems. Never touch or inhale mucor spores. If you suspect this type of mold, contact a mold removal service immediately.
This recognizable allergenic variety is known for its characteristic blue or green surface and fuzzy or furry texture. While unlocking penicillium's antibiotic ability to make life-saving penicillin is undoubtedly one of modern medicine's greatest achievements, inhaling penicillium in the home is quite dangerous. Penicillium, exposure can cause a range of health problems such as asthma, pulmonary inflammation, and chronic sinusitis.
Penicillium is found around damp and moist conditions, especially around leaking pipes, inside insulation, furniture, and water-damaged carpet.
Stachybotrys chartarum, otherwise known as black mold, is one of the most dangerous and feared types of mold. This toxigenic mold has a characteristic musty smell and appears as a dark green or black color. It’s known to cause both toxic and allergic reactions, even in healthy people, but is especially dangerous for those with weakened immune systems.
Black mold thrives in damp, moist environments and typically is found on high cellulose materials such as wood, drywall, cardboard, and wallpaper.
This variety is highly dangerous due to the release of mycotoxins, toxic compounds that cause mild to severe reactions in humans, pets, and plants.
Black mold symptoms range from infections, fatigue, and asthma, to serious life-threatening lung diseases. Stachybotrys exposure can be fatal to pets and infants. One of the problems with black mold is how hard it can be to detect as it often grows behind walls, under floorboards, and under ceilings.
Trichoderma is an allergenic variety that appears as small patches of white or green bumps with a wool-like texture. Colonies start fairly spread out but compact over time.
There are 5 different species of Trichoderma, some non-pathogenic and fairly innocuous, and others releasing dangerous mycotoxins, similar to Stachybotrys (black mold).
Trichoderma is also known for being highly damaging to property, containing a special enzyme that eats away and destroys organic materials like wood, wallpaper, and fabrics.
Another allergenic variety, Ulocladium, thrives wherever water and wetness are found. It usually appears black in color and is found in areas damaged by water or high-moisture areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and around window sills and baseboards. It is often accompanied by other mold types including Stachybotrys, and Fusarium.
Some common symptoms of Ulocladium exposure include hay fever and mild to severe allergic reactions. As Urocladium looks similar to and grows alongside other molds, it’s important to call in professionals for proper mold testing.
Stop Mold Before It Grows
While some molds are easier to identify and remove than others, its best to leave it to a certified mold remediation specialist to avoid short and long term health risks.