Mold is quite common in homes and oftentimes, it can be a harmless substance – but when it comes to black mold, that is not the case.
Black mold is incredibly dangerous to our health, so if you have black mold in your home, you should read our guide below.
We’ll tell you what black mold is, how it is formed, why it is dangerous and what you should do when you notice it in your home.
What Exactly Is Black Mold?
Black mold is actually a type of fungus called Stachybotrys chartarum. It’s a very common fungus found in nature, but it also grows on decaying organic matter like wood or paper products.
It has been known for centuries that this mold produces toxins that are harmful to human beings.
The first recorded cases were documented in 18th century England where people who lived near coal mines suffered from severe respiratory problems.
What Are The Dangers Of Black Mold?
The symptoms of exposure to these toxins include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and skin irritation. These symptoms may last anywhere between 24 hours to weeks.
People with asthma, heart conditions, diabetes and other immune system issues are more likely to develop serious complications after being exposed to toxic levels of black mold.
The most dangerous effects of black mold come from inhaling its spores. When breathed in, they can cause an allergic reaction which triggers inflammation throughout the body.
This can lead to breathing difficulties, wheezing, coughing and even death.
If you suspect that you have black mold in the house, then you need to act fast. You don’t want to wait until it spreads to other parts of your home because by then, it will be too late.
How To Detect Black Mold
If you see black mold growing in your home, you need to take action immediately. You can check for signs of black mold using one of two methods:
- Observe the growth of mold on surfaces in your home
- Check for visible mold on any surface in your home
When checking for mold on surfaces, look at the top layer of dirt and debris.
If you see dark patches or spots on the floor, walls, ceilings or furniture, then you probably have some form of mold present.
When checking for visible mold, look closely at the areas around windows, doors and vents. If you see anything unusual, then you might have mold growing there as well.
How And Why Is Black Mold Formed In Your Home
Black mold is usually caused by water damage. It forms when moisture gets trapped under certain types of materials like carpeting, wallpaper, insulation and drywall.
It’s quite common to see in bathrooms that have no extraction or poor walls.
These materials trap moisture and allow it to sit for extended periods of time without proper ventilation.
As the material decomposes, the trapped moisture turns into a sticky, slimy liquid that eventually becomes solidified into mold.
Once mold begins to grow, it releases microscopic spores through tiny pores. These spores float freely in the air and can travel long distances.
They’re tiny and can easily pass through cracks and holes in your home.
Once inside your home, the spores settle onto surfaces and begin to grow. Over time, the mold continues to release spores into the air.
Where Do Black Mold Spores Come From?
Mold spores are everywhere. They exist in soil, plants, animals, food, dust particles and many places within our homes.
They also exist in the air we breathe. Airborne spores can enter our lungs and get lodged in the lining of our respiratory tract. Once there, they start to reproduce and multiply.
This causes us to become sick. We experience flu-like symptoms such as coughs, sneezes, runny noses and headaches.
Can I Stay In My House If I Notice Black Mold?
No. If you notice black mold in your home, then you should call a professional right away. The sooner you do this, the better chance you’ll have of getting rid of it.
What To Do When You See Black Mold In Your Home
If you see black mold in your home, here’s what you need to do:
Call A Professional
You can find a professional online if you own your home and your home insurance may even be able to help you.
If you’re renting your property, contact your landlord right away. They are obligated to sort out the problem.
Leave Your Home
After contacting either your landlord or professional help, they may not be able to come and sort the issue out right away, and it’s always best to leave the home for a few days anyway after black mold has been present.
Your home insurance may cover you for a hotel or similar but if this is not possible, try contacting friends or family and stay with them for a few days until the concern is rectified.
You may need to return to the property when the professional arrives.
Air Out Your Home
In the meantime and if possible, it’s a good idea to open the windows of your home.
More ventilation means it is less likely for further rapid growth of black mold and allows for the spores to escape the property.
What Not To Do
Now, here are a few things to avoid if you’ve noticed black mold in your home:
Ignoring black mold is dangerous as it will continue to grow and spread. Eventually, you will succumb to sickness, and it could even be fatal.
Attempt To Clean It Yourself
It’s not only very difficult to completely remove black mold, but it’s extremely dangerous without the proper kit.
Professionals will have all the correct safety equipment, and they will be able to not only completely remove the black mold, but prevent it returning from its original source.
For example, if it was caused by poor ventilation, they should be able to advise on including ventilators, better windows or extractors.
Stay In Your Home
It’s vital that you leave your home as quickly as possible until the black mold is removed.
The Bottom Line
The thing to remember is, black mold is dangerous, and you cannot stay in your home when it is present. Leave your home as soon as possible and call a professional or your landlord.