The appearance of mold can be related to the condition of your HVAC and plumbing systems. Excess humidity and levels of moisture provide an environment for mold spores to grow. That can cause unpleasant odors while black mold can release chemicals (mycotoxins) that can trigger anything from coughing, sneezing, and other respiratory issues to long-term medical conditions. To reduce the risk of breathing in mold spores and becoming ill, it helps to know the answer to, “What does black mold look like?”
What Is Black Mold?
Also known as stachybotrys, it is one of the most dangerous types of mold. Black mold is typically dark in color, but less mature specimens can take on a gray or dark green hue (there may even be white flecks or shades of orange). The surface of the mold can be smooth or have a slightly furry texture.
Dark stains tend to appear in moist areas or those that have been flooded or water damaged. Black mold can often be found in poorly ventilated bathrooms but also in kitchens, laundry rooms, and damp basements. It often grows on porous wooden surfaces. These include wood trims on bathroom walls, kitchen, bathroom sink cabinets, and wooden furniture. While the mold grows on the surface, it can also reach deep within porous material, making it extremely difficult to remove.
How Do I Identify Black Mold?
Colonies of black mold typically grow in a circular pattern. They can range from less than an inch to several inches across, and may also appear as concentric circles. But mold can also grow in irregular patches. Since it grows in areas of high moisture, black mold in addition to appearing dark, may look slimy or shiny.
Once you fix a leak, the mold may not go away. It can dry out and become powdery. That doesn’t mean the spores are dead; in fact, they can still spread and grow new colonies when they end up in damp environments around leaky pipes, under carpets, and in drywall. All they need is air to spread.
Can I Catch Black Mold Early?
You can if you know what to look for. If there has been water damage in a certain area, a burst pipe, or roof leak, your home may be an ideal breeding ground for mold. This is possible any time there’s a leak or water damage. After an incident, check often for water rings. Darker rings on walls and ceilings are a telltale sign that mold is growing.
If you find early signs of mold, you can try to clean it up. First put on latex gloves, goggles, a dust mask, and long sleeves and pants to protect yourself. Close off the area, seal off vents, and set up a fan to direct air out a window. Use a scrub or brush soaked in soap and water to wipe away the mold and use a strong disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar. When you’ve cleared the mold, leave the area open and ventilate as much as possible; avoid the area until any fumes from the disinfectant have dissipated.
When Should I Hire a Mold-Removal Specialist?
Contact a professional if the mold has spread into walls and/or anyone in your home is particularly sensitive to its effects. A mold-remediation specialist knows how to make sure all of it is gone. Unless the mold is confined to a hard surface you can easily reach, it’s best to hire a professional with the right tools and experience.
Contact Sky Heating & Air Conditioning
We provide emergency plumbing services, 24/7, to resolve any leaks or failures that can lead to mold growth. If your HVAC system has a musty odor, a leak, or isn’t removing enough humidity, your home could be at risk of mold. Our team can resolve these issues, while we offer maintenance plans to ensure your HVAC and plumbing systems are in top shape. To get started, schedule your appointment online or call 503-673-9083 today.