Black mold is toxic and can cause health problems such as coughing, wheezing, allergic reactions, or skin and throat irritation. If black mold is left untreated, it can become even more toxic and start damaging the structure of your home. In this guide, we’ll cover what causes black mold and how to prevent it from growing in your home.
Dangers of black molds
Mold in the home can be a costly and dangerous problem, particularly when infestations of toxic black mold occur. Although any type of mold in the home can cause health problems, stachybotrys chartarum is of particular concern because it produces mycotoxins that may cause neurological problems and, in some cases, death.
When water damage occurs in the home, mold can quickly start to grow. The spores of black mold are always present in the air, but they only start to grow when they find a damp surface. This is why it’s so important to dry out your home as soon as possible after a flood or leak.
Water-damaged materials are the perfect breeding ground for black mold because they provide both the moisture and organic matter that mold needs to grow. Once black mold starts growing on these materials, it can release mycotoxins into the air where they can be inhaled by people and animals living in the house.
Symptoms caused by black mold exposure
The symptoms caused by black mold exposure depend on how you were exposed and how long you were exposed. For example, if you inhaled mold spores, you may experience coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
If you touch mold or get it on your skin, you may experience a rash or irritation. And if you ate something contaminated with mold toxins, you may experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If you think you’ve been exposed to black mold, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to determine whether your symptoms are caused by black mold exposure and provide the appropriate treatment.
What causes black mold?
Mold spores are everywhere in the air, but mold does not begin to grow until it finds a surface that has moisture and food. The most common places for black mold to grow are on walls and ceilings, but it can also grow in other areas of your home, such as on fabrics and furniture.
There are several causes of black mold growth in homes:
One of the most common causes of black mold growth is a leaky roof. When water enters your house through a leaky roof, it creates an ideal environment for black mold to develop. Water spots that appear on ceilings are usually the sign of a leaking roof. In order to prevent leaks from causing mold growth in your home, have any leaks repaired immediately.
Poor insulation is another common cause of black mold growth in homes. When insulation becomes wet due to water damage or improper ventilation, it creates an ideal environment for black mold to grow. If you think your home may not be properly insulated, have a professional inspect it and make the necessary repairs.
A flood can cause extensive damage to your home and can create the perfect conditions for black mold growth. When water enters your home, it often seeps into walls and ceilings, causing them to become wet and damaged. This provides a breeding ground for black mold spores, which can start growing very quickly. If you experience a flood, be sure to dry out your home as soon as possible and contact a restoration company to help with the cleanup process.
If your gutters are clogged, it can lead to water accumulation around your home’s foundation. This water can seep into the walls and ceilings, creating the perfect environment for black mold to grow. To prevent this from happening, make sure your gutters are cleaned regularly.
If you use a humidifier in your home, be sure to keep it clean. If the humidifier isn’t properly maintained, it can become a breeding ground for black mold spores. Cleaning your humidifier on a regular basis will help prevent black mold growth.
Pets can also be a source of moisture that can lead to black mold growth in your home. Dogs and cats often bring dirt and other debris inside the house, which can provide food for mold spores to grow. Be sure to sweep up any pet hair and dirt regularly to prevent black mold growth.
If you have a damp basement, it can be a major source of moisture and lead to black mold growth. To help prevent this from happening, make sure your basement is well-ventilated and dry. You can also install a dehumidifier in your basement to keep the humidity level low.
Water damage is one of the most common causes of black mold growth in homes. When water enters your home, it often seeps into walls and ceilings, causing them to become wet and damaged. This provides a breeding ground for black mold spores, which can start growing very quickly. If you experience water damage, be sure to dry out your home as soon as possible and contact a restoration company to help with the cleanup process.
Smoking is another common cause of black mold growth in homes. Cigarette smoke contains high levels of nicotine, which can provide food for mold spores to grow. If you smoke, be sure to keep your cigarettes away from any areas where there is water damage or excessive moisture.
If you leave wet clothes in your hamper overnight, it can create the perfect environment for black mold spores to grow. Make sure all your clothes are dry before putting them in the hamper.
What factors determine mold growth?
Mold will not grow if the conditions are unfavorable for it. However, there are many factors that cause mold growth — apart from just moisture — some of which may be unknown to you.
- Temperature: Mold spores grow faster when exposed to temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). This is why it is important to keep your house cool during summers if you live in a humid area.
- Humidity: Mold spores need moisture to germinate and grow into mold colonies. The ideal relative humidity for mold growth is between 70 and 80 percent.
- Organic matter: Mold needs food to grow, and any organic matter — such as paper, wood, or fabric — can act as its food source. This is why items made of natural fibers are more susceptible to mold growth than synthetic materials.
- Time: It takes only 24 to 48 hours for mold spores to germinate and start growing into colonies under the right conditions.
Tips for preventing black mold
Moisture control is the key to preventing black mold.
- Keep indoor humidity below 60 percent.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to reduce summertime humidity, and a humidifier to raise the humidity level in your home during winter months.
- Ventilate showers, kitchens, and laundry rooms to prevent moisture buildup.
- Fix any leaks in your plumbing and be sure that there is proper drainage away from your foundation.
If you have black mold in your home, you need to clean it up and fix the moisture problem that caused it. You can remove small patches of mold with common household cleaners like bleach or vinegar. But if the moldy area is more than about ten square feet, you should call a professional who has experience cleaning mold safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does black mold start in a house?
Black molds start with a spores which are like seeds. The spores float through the air and land on wet surfaces where they start to grow.
What causes mold growth in homes?
There are three things that mold needs to grow: food, water, and an ideal temperature. Moisture is by far the most common cause of mold in homes. It can come from many sources, including rain leaks, plumbing leaks, condensation, high indoor humidity, or flooding.
Can black mold kill you?
Inhaling large amounts of black mold can cause serious health problems such as memory loss, headaches, dizziness, nausea and liver damage. In extreme cases it can even lead to death.
What are some of the warning signs of black mold?
If you see any of the following signs, it could mean that black mold is growing in your home: water stains on walls or ceilings, black spots or streaks on surfaces, a strong musty odor, and excessive humidity.
Can I stay in my house with black mold?
If you have black mold in your home, you should try to remove it as soon as possible. If the moldy area is more than ten square feet, you should call a professional who has experience cleaning mold safely.
In the meantime, you can stay in your house if you take some precautions, such as opening windows to let in fresh air, wearing a face mask, and avoiding contact with the mold.
In conclusion, there are many different things that can cause black mold to form. It is important to be aware of these potential causes so that you can take steps to prevent it from happening in your home.
If you do find black mold, it is important to have it removed by a professional as soon as possible. With the right knowledge and prevention, you can keep your home free of this dangerous fungus.