Molds are a type of fungus that are found in many environments, both outdoor and indoor. Many species of mold can grow indoors given the appropriate conditions. Mold growth only requires moisture and a substrate that it can grow on and decompose for energy. Molds release spores as part of their reproductive cycle. These mold spores can spread through the air and land on surfaces within your home, and if sufficient moisture is present, the spores may germinate and form mold colonies.
Some species of mold commonly found growing indoors include Penicillium, Stachybotrys (also known as black mold), Alternaria, and Cladosporium.
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Excess moisture is the primary factor for mold growth in indoor environments. Moisture can enter your home in many ways, such as leaky pipes; roof leaks; excess moisture and steam from showers and baths; poor insulation leading to condensation on windows; and into basements through cracked foundations or flooding.
When sufficient moisture is present, mold can grow on many different materials, including drywall; wood in the attic, on window sills, and window and door frames; insulation; paper or cardboard; carpeting; and furniture. When mold spores are introduced into the air through natural drafts, fans, or the HVAC system of your home or business, they may be inhaled, posing a potential health risk.
Inhalation of mold spores can negatively impact your health, causing irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; affecting your respiratory system leading to coughing, phlegm production, wheezing, and shortness of breath; exacerbating existing medical conditions such as asthma, or causing allergic reactions. Children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are most at risk.
Some species of mold release compounds known as mycotoxins, which may be harmful for your health. If you, your family, or your employees and coworkers are experiencing any of the above health effects, you may benefit from a mold test in order to assess the presence, amount, and type of mold that may be present in your home, institution or business.
Structural and Cosmetic Effects
Molds and other types of fungi obtain their energy from the decomposition of substrates that they grow on, such as wood, drywall, or insulation. Once mold is actively growing, it can have negative effects on your home or business ranging from cosmetic effects such as staining, smudging, and visible mold growth; to serious structural effects from the decomposition of wooden structural components of the building. A mold assessment can help identify areas of your home or business with active mold growth that may be having negative cosmetic or structural effects.