Have you recently noticed black-colored, clustered growths that look like small cotton balls in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, or around your shower? You must have wondered how they got there and what exactly you're dealing with. More importantly, you might be wondering if there are any health risks associated with having these "things" in your South Florida home.
These dark unpleasant-looking organisms are called black mold and can grow in any part of your house provided that the environmental conditions are favorable. Some favorite conditions where black mold thrives include:
water leak spots
damp rooms lacking adequate ventilation (eg., bathrooms)
high humidity spots (eg., basements)
places with a lot of water condensation (eg., shower)
regions where flooding has occurred, etc.
In this article, we shall be looking at everything you need to know about black molds as a homeowner in South Florida to help you and your family remain safe at all times. Plus, you will be doing your home a lot of good as black molds can impact the aesthetics and beauty of your home In South Florida if left unchecked.
What are Black Molds?
Black mold is a type of fungus that grows on cotton, wood, and paper products. Although there are various kinds of black mold, Stachybotrys chartarum is often the one referred to when people talk about black mold due to its toxic nature. Other black mold species include Alternaria, Dresclera, Pithomyces, Aureobasidium, Stemphylium, and Ulocladium.
Black mold may have different colors depending on their specie and stage of development, so they may look greenish or gray sometimes.
When black mold starts to grow on a surface, it's usually tough to remove. The fungus grows rapidly and may cover an entire wall within a short period. Black mold feeds on cellulose-rich building materials such as wood and drywall and can even breed in damp areas.
That said, it's essential to keep in mind that not all black molds are toxic. Molds like Cladosporium and Nigrospora have no known side effects and are more common than other species of molds. There's a need for homeowners in South Florida to learn how to identify toxic black mold as soon as possible so they can take timely action to keep themselves and their families safe. Even when you're sure that you're dealing with nontoxic black mold, prompt response to the growth and development can help protect your home and maintain its beautiful appearance.
What causes black mold?
The most common cause of black mold in most South Florida homes is water leaks. If water seeps into your home through your faucets and stays there for long, molds are likely to start building up. Such an environment feels comfortable for them, and they begin to reproduce without you realizing it. So if your kitchen faucet begins to leak, for instance, you may start to get kitchen mold after some time.
Another factor that can cause black mold growth is poor ventilation. If your South Florida home doesn't get enough fresh air, the humidity will rise and create a ripe ground for black mold to thrive.
Steps To Identifying Toxic Black Mold
Differentiating toxic black molds from their nontoxic or harmless counterparts can be quite challenging. However, by understanding the signs of toxic black mold, you can determine whether the one in your South Florida home is harmful or not. Above all, whether you're dealing with harmful or harmless mold, it's always good to eliminate molds whenever you identify them to maintain your home's aesthetics for a longer period.
Here are some of the signs of toxic black mold:
1. Smelling something very musty or unpleasant in the home.
If you have observed an unpleasant odor in your South Florida home recently, and you can't seem to explain its cause, chances are that it's due to toxic black mold. Especially when the odor smells stronger in places that tend to harbor molds like the toilet, basement, and so on, it could be a sign of black mold.
Also, if you feel your South Florida home used to have a musty smell but can't really smell anything lately, it might be because you have gotten used to the smell. One way to verify your suspicion is by having a guest come over and smell your home for you.
2. You observe dark water spots.
This is one of the most apparent signs of toxic black mold. When you see dark water spots that almost scare you off due to their irregular shape and unpleasant appearance, you should suspect the presence of the black mold. While the smell can give you a clue and help you stay alert, these dark spots confirm whatever you may have suspected and help you spring into action on time.
We do not recommend that you wait until you see the black spots before taking action. As soon as you begin to get some mysterious odors, it's time to act and nip the problem in the bud. If you don't find any evidence of black mold after several observations, you may need the service of a mold inspector to ensure that you and your family are safe. Pay more attention to the corners of your walls and ceilings, as these dark water spots tend to appear on corners of your walls or ceilings first.
3. You get sick more often.
The toxic black mold has been linked with a number of symptoms, especially in persons with mold allergies. These include:
red or itchy eyes
Most of the diseases arising from mold are respiratory diseases and may lead to other more intense conditions in people with a previous medical condition. Some people may even begin to get headaches, watery eyes, and bad skin irritation when exposed to this organism. If you observe that you or a loved one has suddenly begun to fall sick more often, it may be that they are being affected by toxic black mold.
4. You find specks of other colors.
Black mold is called its name because it often takes a black color, even though that doesn't mean it can't come in other colors. As earlier explained, the stage of development and specie of a mold can impact its appearance. Some mold variants can have green, white, or orange specks of the same fungus, with the majority being black.
In such cases, there's a high chance that you're dealing with toxic black mold. When you find such a cluster of mold, don't think the black ones are the only dangerous fungi. In fact, all of them are dangerous and can cause the symptoms listed above.
5. You notice potential causes
If you've seen a leaking spot or an area that lacks ventilation, or you find old paper and wood in your South Florida home, these are potential spots for mold build-up. Without a timely response, you may be dealing with a mold outbreak in no time.
Sometimes, the symptoms of mold may begin to manifest in the inhabitants of a home before the mold growth becomes pronounced. As a result, it's important to pay attention to the signs of toxic black mold and respond swiftly to any suspicion.
When you're unsure of your instincts, you may search for "free mold inspection near me" to help you get a professional inspection for free. This is especially important if you are a seasonal resident in Boca Raton, as you may not know what might have developed over the time of your unavailability. Plus, you don't want to return home with your family only to start treating symptoms of toxic black molds.
What Does Harmless Black Mold Look Like
Virtually all molds have the same appearance. They come in clusters and are cotton-like to the touch. However, their toxicity levels differ. With over 100,000 species of molds in our world today and due to their striking resemblance, it may be confusing to know if the one growing in your South Florida home is harmless or toxic. Additionally, different species of molds may grow around the same area, so even if you think the one you saw earlier isn't toxic, you may not know if a toxic one is growing already.
Both harmless and toxic black mold can damage your building or property– another reason to eliminate all molds, whether they look toxic or not.
Tips To Prevent The Mold Around Your Kitchen Sink From Coming Back
To prevent mold from building up in your Boca Raton home, you need to first learn how to eliminate the one currently growing. Preventing the growth of molds is all about creating an unfavorable condition, so they do not return.
Eliminating mold depends on the intensity of what you're dealing with. But whether it's a minor one or otherwise, it's advisable to seek professional help from mold inspection companies around your Boca Raton apartment in South Florida.
These South Florida mold remediation professionals know all the best practices for eliminating mold and ensuring that the home is safe and comfortable. They will also be able to provide advice that is specific to your home's architecture to help you prevent mold build-up.
That said, there's no denying that the kitchen sink is one of the most comfortable places for kitchen molds. So after getting rid of these dangerous fungi, make sure you aren't giving them a comfortable place again. Follow these tips to keep your kitchen sink dry and avoid creating any environmental factor that enhances mold growth in your South Florida home.
1. Keep your home's humidity under control.
As earlier indicated, molds thrive in high humidity areas, and the kitchen happens to be one of such spots, especially the sink region.
The best way to eliminate mold is to regulate your home's humidity and ensure it's lower than 50 percent. So when you're cooking or doing something that can crank up the humidity levels of your kitchen, it's best to run a fan or open a window to increase ventilation in the area and reduce the chances of humility build-up.
2. Check regularly for a new leak under your kitchen sink.
Kitchen sinks often leak from time to time, creating the perfect environment for mold growth. Once you eliminate the previous mold, one effective way to prevent them from coming back is to check for a new leak under your kitchen sink from time to time.
If there are any leaks, fix them immediately and ensure that all sources of moisture are taken care of, such as cracks and gaps. Pay more attention to the area around the seal of your sink and a leaking pipe, if any. Regularly check your windows, piping, and overall kitchen structure to ensure there are no leaks.
Also, if there are spills or flooding, clean them up immediately and do not allow them to settle for long. Allowing them to settle may cause the water to penetrate cracks on the wall and create an environment for mold growth. Make sure to clean all mold-prone surfaces using cleaning products that can kill and prevent mold.
3. Increase the ventilation in your kitchen.
The more ventilation your kitchen gets, the lower the humidity tends to be and the lesser the possibility of mold growth. Although excess ventilation can be quite challenging for effective cooking, you want to avoid leaving your kitchen too tight or void of ventilation.
When your kitchen is not in use, allow enough air to keep everywhere dry and anti-mold. And even when you are making the dishes, having an extra fan to enhance airflow can help your kitchen maintain an average humidity level.
4. Speak with experts
Depending on the structure of your kitchen and home, you may need to take extra precautions to help protect your kitchen against mold build-up. Consulting experts is one effective way to ensure you have everything under control at all times. The mold professionals will observe your home carefully and give practical advice on how to keep your home mold-free for a long period.
3 Different Types Of Dangerous Mold
Although molds are of different species numbering about a hundred thousand, they all are generally grouped into three. Each of these three groups is dangerous to our health and should be eliminated when seen in the home. However, the threats they pose to human health differ.
The three groups/types of molds are:
These are unlikely to cause any significant illness, but they are also dangerous because they may aggravate mild allergies. Examples of allergenic molds are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, etc. Allergenic molds can cause symptoms similar to other common airborne allergens. These include sneezing, itching, runny nose, congestion, and dry skin.
These can cause infection in people who are immunocompromised, which makes them more dangerous than the first category. So even if you don't have a previous medical condition, a pathogenic mold can still cause infection. Examples of pathogenic molds are A. fumigatus and A. flavus, Cryptococcus neoformans, Histoplasma capsulatum, etc.
These are toxic to all humans and animals that come in contact with them and can severely impact respiratory health if not responded to on time. Toxigenic molds are those molds that can create metabolic byproducts called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins tend to cause a toxic response in humans and animals, thus making toxigenic molds the most dangerous of all three categories. Examples of toxigenic molds include Fusarium species, Penicillium species, Aspergillus species, and Stachybotrys chartarum – the notorious "black mold" we talked extensively about earlier.
Toxic Black Mold Vs Black Mold Vs Regular Mold
Toxic black mold is the toxigenic specie of molds that are harmful to humans and animals– whether they are healthy or otherwise. They release mycotoxins which can potentially cause a series of health challenges and pose a serious health threat to both humans and livestock.
Black mold is not always toxic. There are thousands of species of black molds that do not produce mycotoxins and are not as harmful as toxic black molds. In fact, many healthy people do not get any diseases from these molds even though they also have some potential to slightly impact one's health.
Regular molds are the least harmful, and exposure to an area densely populated with regular molds may not have any impact on some people. Although some other people are sensitive to molds and may suffer some symptoms, regular molds rarely bring about any alarming health challenges.
How long does mold remediation in South Florida take?
When it comes to South Florida mold remediation duration, two different factors affect the time required to complete the process. It's important to ensure that all due steps are carried out by your South Florida mold cleaning company to help you enjoy a long-term mold-free home and a healthier lifestyle.
These two factors affecting mold remediation time include:
1. How much mold is present
Obviously, if you have more molds, it will take more time to remove and restore the beauty of your apartment. People who only need to clear kitchen molds will spend lesser time completing the job that those who need to clear their kitchen, toilet, basement, and wall. It's always preferable to contact a mold inspector in South Florida as soon as you detect their presence. The earlier you act, the lesser the damage and the lower the cost of removal.
2. Where the mold is growing
If the mold is growing in very difficult or delicate spots, such as having black mold under the sink, it may require extra care to get rid of them. Thus, the remediation process will take a longer time than when it's on a plain wall.
That said, most South Florida mold remediation takes between 1 day to 5 days. So, you want to prepare yourself for the process and adjust your schedule accordingly.