Mold should never be ignored. If you have storm damage, flooding, or other reasons to suspect mold growths or buildup, call ServiceMaster by Cornerstone now. Not sure what to look for—or why mold can be so problematic? Read on for our FAQs about mold and mold removal.

What Is Mold—and Why Does It Matter So Much?

Mold is a type of fungus that presents as a microorganism—and is present almost everywhere. As it grows, mold produces spores, which travel through the air to latch onto surfaces to grow and thrive.

There are more than 100,000 mold species present on the plant, though just 1,000 are common found in the U.S.

Though mold is everywhere, it’s problematic because, in some conditions, it can cause illnesses. Granted, mold has an important job to do in the environment—in a natural setting, it’s part of the natural process of organic material breakdown. It helps to turn fallen trees back to dirt, for example.

Although mold is natural, illnesses and other problems can occur when too much mold is present in an enclosed area. When this happens, it impacts air quality. For those with sensitivities to mold, such as those with allergies and asthma, it can be deadly. In high concentrations, it’s bad for anyone’s health

At What Point Is Too Much Mold Present?

There are numerous factors that play a role in determining when mold is “bad,” especially in homes. The way a person reacts to mold may be very different from the way others do. In homes, mold count—which is the measurement of how much mold is present—should be lower than the amount found outdoors.

A good rule of thumb? You shouldn’t see mold. If you see mold growing on a surface, that’s generally an indication that the mold count is too high. Most often, it is hard to see individual spores. When mold spores multiply rapidly, that increases health risks.

When you see mold growing, such as under carpeting, in a cabinet, or in the basement, that means it’s probably throughout your home. It travels in the air ducts. It gets around as your furnace and air conditioner work. This means the amount present is usually much higher than it should be.

What Makes Mold Grow?

The ideal environment for mold is a warm location that’s damp. It needs food to grow, which can be any type of organic material such as insulation, wood, or drywall. It also needs a higher level of humidity to grow rapidly. Leaks, moisture buildup, flooding, and other water sources can make this possible. Mold can begin growing with just 24 to 48 hours in these circumstances.

What Can Be Done to Minimize Mold, Then?

The goal is always to get rid of the most common causes of mold—the humidity and the water source. Doing this can help to reduce your risks.

Is Mold Toxic?

As noted, mold can be a good thing. However, some molds are very toxic. Some molds produce toxins called mycotoxins, which can be a health risk. You may hear this often referred to as black mold. It’s not always black, either. Rather, this term refers to any type of mold that grows toxins. These molds need removal from a licensed professional.

What Are Signs of a Mold Infestation?

Again, if you see it, you need to treat it. Mold is various colors, including black, white, green, yellow, brown. Some forms are very slimy and sticky. Others seem to be a powder. It can begin in walls, under carpeting, and deep within the drywall.

Is That Musty Smell Mold?

Mold does tend to have a unique smell to it. If you notice an odor, that typically means that the mold count is high and dangerous. Not all mold will have a scent to it.

How Do I Know If Mold Is Impacting My Health?

Get rid of mold any time you see it. Even if you have no symptoms of health problems, they can develop months later. The most common health concerns including coughing, sneezing, and congestion. Some people also have a rash. Others may suffer from difficult breathing.

Those who are older, children, and infants are at a higher risk of becoming ill from exposure. Those who have a compromised immune system, individuals with asthma or allergies, and pregnant women are also at a high risk.

Spot mold—or suspect growth in your home or office? Call ServiceMaster by Cornerstone now to learn more about mold remediation and to schedule a free assessment.