What is mold?

Mold refers to multiple types of fungi that grow in filaments and reproduce by forming spores. The term “mildew” is sometimes used to refer to some kinds of mold, particularly mold with a white or grayish color or mold growing in shower stalls and bathrooms. Mold may grow indoors or outdoors and thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments. Mold can be found in essentially any environment or season.

The most common types of mold that are found indoors includeCladosporium, Penicillium,Alternaria, and Aspergillus.Stachybotrys chartarum (also known as Stachybotrys atra and sometimes referred to as “black mold”) is a greenish-black mold that can also be found indoors.Stachybotrys grows on household surfaces that have high cellulose content, such as wood, fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, dust, and lint.

Molds reproduce by forming tiny spores that not visible to the naked eye. Mold spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mold cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. These spores travel through outdoor and indoor air. When mold spores land on a surface where moisture is present, mold can start to grow.

Outdoors, molds play a role in the decomposition of organic matter such as dead trees, compost, and leaves. They are most common in damp, dark areas or areas of decomposing plant life. Indoors, mold is often found in basements or shower stalls. Indoor mold has the potential to cause health problems and can destroy surfaces and objects where it grows.

Where can mold be found in homes?

Although shower stalls and basements are typical moist areas prone to the growth of molds, any moist area in the home may harbor mold. Drywall, ceiling tiles, carpets, furniture, ductwork, roofing, paneling, wallpaper, and the areas around plumbing pipes are examples of areas in the home that may become infested by mold if the requisite growing conditions are present.

Mold from the outdoors can enter the home through open doors, windows, and vents. It may also become attached to clothing, shoes, and pets and therefore be carried indoors.

Mold can have many different colors and sometimes appears as spots. Additionally, a musty odor may be present. Mold growth may also be hidden underneath carpeting, on the back side of wallpaper, and behind drywall or paneling.
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