What is Black Mold?
Eight Signs Your Home May Need Mold Remediation
Toxic black mold. Yuck.
It sounds like the heartless, mindless killer in a science-fiction B-movie, chasing down amorous teenagers or unwitting scientists. That’s sort of what it looks like, too – only on a much smaller scale. Slimy and blackish-green, Stachybotrys atra or its cousin Stachybotrys chartarum reside in the dankest and most unpleasant parts of our homes: Hiding behind toilets in seldom-used bathrooms, clinging eerily to wet basement walls, or growing insidiously in the damp, nameless realms between walls.
But don’t worry too much. Black mold isn’t about to grow tentacles and drag you into the swamps as its unwilling next meal. But it can pose serious health risks if left unchecked and without cleanup. Like all mold, black mold releases spores to reproduce. If we inhale or swallow them, these spores can wreak havoc on our respiratory and digestive systems making it vital for mold remediation and cleanup in Montgomery County, PA. It might not be the stuff of Stephen King novels, but for many Americans living in substandard housing or working in old, run-down buildings in New Jersey, toxic black mold is a real problem.
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Here are seven signs and your home might have a black mold problem and need a contractor to come in for cleanup services in NJ.
1. You’ve recently had a basement flood, or you’ve got a serious basement leak.
It’s a simple process: A big storm hits the area, drenching everything in your NJ or Bucks County, PA home. The water overwhelms your sump pump, which finally gives up the fight, and your basement floods. Suddenly the conditions for black mold are considerably more hospitable. The flood doesn’t have to be one of epic proportions – a slightly wet basement is all it takes. Even after a flood, it can take several weeks or months to achieve a truly dry basement – making a perfect environment for black mold growth.
You can prevent this from happening by making a regular check of your basement – leaks can turn into floods if left unchecked. If you know you have a leaking basement, fix it (if you know how) or call a reliable basement waterproofing contractor or mold remediation company in Montgomery County.
2. There are musty or mildewy odors somewhere in your home.
Black mold has a smell that’s hard to describe – sort of damp and musty, like you might expect a house to smell if it were uninhabited for a decade or so. But even if you detect the smell of black mold, it’s hard to tell where its source is.
But black mold is like an elephant – there are only so many places for it to hide. Look in damp, humid areas that aren’t well-ventilated or exposed to light. Look inside cabinets and beneath drywall. But most of all, check the basement – leaks in basements and crawl spaces have a higher incidence of mold growth than most other places.
3. You’re suffering allergy symptoms even though there don’t seem to be any triggers around.
You know what your allergic to – cats, strawberries, maybe dust. But if none of your standard allergens seem to be around and you’re still having reactions or respiratory difficulties, black mold could be the culprit. Making it vital to your health to have a mold company come out for remediation. Pretty much everyone has the same reaction to black mold spores in the air – sneezing, coughing, and runny, watery eyes. If your house is generally free of allergens, or you develop these symptoms despite not having any allergies, a mold remediation company may need to do some black mold testing and black mold removal.
4. One or more of your walls is discolored, or the paint is cracked and peeling.
A good sign of excessive moisture is yellowish stains on walls and ceilings. If left unchecked, these yellow stains will develop green or black discolorations – a sure sign of toxic mold. Mold removal should be a priority in situations like these – if you can plainly see the mold growing on the walls, the health risk is severe.
5. Your wooden floors are warped.
Water sometimes collects in the gaps between improperly sealed floor slats. If there’s enough moisture present to warp the floors, there’s enough moisture present for Stachybotrys to grow. You’ll have to replace the floorboards anyway, so take the opportunity to call a mold removal company as well.
6. Your rain gutters have tiny trees growing in them.
If the rain gutters on your home have any kind of plant life growing out of them, it means they’re blocked. And if they’re blocked, you might have water pooling and seeping in, through your ceiling or your walls. In cases like these, leaking water can dampen the insulation between walls, making for a difficult and expensive repair or mold remediation job in NJ.
Of course, this is entirely preventable and easy to spot. Just make sure you clean out your rain gutters at least once a month or so – more often if there’s been an especially wet rainy season.
7. You’ve been getting headaches you can’t explain.
One of the most common symptoms of black mold poisoning is repeated headaches, for which there seems to be no other cause. If you also feel frequently dizzy, or have trouble focusing or concentrating, go to the phone and make two calls.
First, call a doctor. Sick Building Syndrome – the name for the collection of ailments associated with mold exposure – isn’t deadly, and isn’t likely to cause major problems if you catch it in time. If your symptoms do point to toxic mold poisoning, your doctor will know what to prescribe.
Second, call a qualified mold removal company. The process of mold remediation is a detailed and complex one. Most homeowners don’t have the know-how or the technology to perform a thorough black mold removal and mildew removal when the problem is this big, so hiring contractors is really the only way to go here. If you leave the problem unchecked, you might soon find yourself facing the final item in our list…
8. You’re coughing a lot lately – and sometimes coughing up blood.
This is one of the most advanced symptoms of black mold poisoning. Needless to say, if you’re coughing up blood, you should immediately get yourself to a doctor. But if the doctor tells you your illness is the result of inhaling the volatile organic compounds that are a result of toxic black mold, either your home or your workplace is almost certainly infested.
A final note: Black mold most often strikes poorly ventilated homes, or poorly ventilated areas within homes. If you’re building an addition onto your home, or embarking on a basement remodeling project, take the opportunity to be sure all the areas are properly ventilated and free of leaks with our cleanup services.
Your body will thank you!
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