Aspergillus and Cladosporium are common types of mold found in homes. According to HGTV, the former usually grows on foods and home air conditioning systems, while Cladosporium is a black or green mold found in areas like toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. Black mold is one of the most menacing types of the fungus because it's a neurotoxin that can affect mental and immune system performance, according to SafeWise.
The common culprit
Where there's moisture, there's a risk of mold developing. So controlling or eliminating sources of moisture is the best way to limit indoor mold growth. The Environmental Protection Agency advised reducing indoor humidity to 30 to 60 percent by increasing ventilation, using bathroom vents and exhaust fans regularly and investing in air conditioners or de-humidifiers when necessary. Fixing plumbing leaks with haste and making an effort to avoid water damage can further prevent mold from developing in your home.
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Molds can grow anywhere moisture is present, including on plants, food, wood, paper, carpet, dust, tile grout and appliances. It's especially common in warm and humid areas. You're most likely to find mold in basements and bathrooms, especially in showers, bathtubs and tile grout. However, don't be surprised if you find mold on windows, ceiling tiles, drywall, upholstery, doorways, vents, air conditioners and heaters.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mold exposure can cause symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, red or itchy eyes and irritated skin. Allergic reactions and asthma breakouts are also common. If you don't already suffer from a mold allergy or asthma, increased exposure can actually cause you to develop either condition. More severe reactions include fever, shortness of breath and infections.
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You can usually see or smell a mold problem as it develops. It looks slightly fuzzy and is typically black, grey or green in color. Damp, musty odors are usually an indication of mold, as well as water stains and warped materials. Experiencing the symptoms mentioned above is another convincing factor of mold's presence.
In the event that mold starts invading your space, check out this homeowner's guide to mold removal. You can clean some moldy areas with bleach, but more stubborn cases may require professional removal.
Being prepared for home repairs is always a good strategy. See how plans from HomeServe can help with the costs of covered repairs.