Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys chartarum to mold professionals, can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious health problems. It can also be costly to diagnose and remediate so it often strikes fear in homeowners who suspect mold in their home. But before you panic, just remember that a small amount of mold or mildew in moist or wet places is certainly not always indicative of a much larger problem. Keep reading to learn where and why and you might find black mold in your home and how to handle it properly.
Common Signs and Locations of Black Mold
The first indication of black mold may be the smell. It is often strong and musty and lingers even after cleaning obvious spots in your home. Black mold feeds on moist or wet household things like drywall, carpet and insulation, so a recent bout with leaking, flooding or standing water can often increase the smell exponentially. Because of the need for water to be involved, basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms are most often the initial breeding grounds for black mold growth.
Another sign of mold in your home may be health issues. Respiratory disease, coughing, eye irritation, chronic fatigue, headaches and other allergy-like symptoms are often the first symptoms to appear and aren’t always immediately tied to black mold.
First Steps to Identifying Black Mold
If you suspect black mold in your home, it is important to act quickly. Mold can spread quickly and it is much easier (and cheaper!) to treat at the first sign of it rather than waiting. While you can test for mold yourself using a DIY kit found at your local hardware store, hiring a professional can often provide greater peace of mind in knowing that you are handling it in the best way possible. A mold professional can quickly and accurately identify the mold, assess how far it has spread and build a remediation plan for you in the time that you can test by yourself and send off for the results. And if those results are positive for black mold, you will still need to hire a professional to ensure that the remediation is handled properly.
If you are moving into a new home that has been left vacant for some time in between occupants, it is especially important to be vigilant about mold, especially if you live in a warm and humid environment like Middle Tennessee. Being proactive about any mold concerns that you may have in your home can save your family’s house, money and health in the long run!