Mold FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Mold

What is Mold?

Molds are microorganisms that occur in the natural environment. Their role in nature is to cause the decay of dead plants and animal matter. Molds reproduce through tiny spores invisible to the naked eye and float through the air. Molds are usually not a problem indoors unless mold spores land on wet or moist surfaces and begin to grow. Undetected and untreated mold can cause significant property damage and negatively impact the health of sensitive individuals.

Are Mold and Mildew the Same Thing?

Mold and mildew are both fungi that flourish in moist, humid conditions. Mildew refers to certain types of mold growth with a flat profile. Mildew is an early stage of mold growth commonly found in damp shower stalls or windowsills. Mold has a higher profile and can become fuzzy or slimy. Mildew is typically white or gray, while molds tend to be green, brown, or black.

What Causes Mold to Grow Indoors?

Any home or business can be susceptible to mold growth. All it takes for mold to form is moisture and organic material. Mold typically grows indoors when humidity, condensation, or a water leak contacts wood, drywall, carpeting, or other organic materials.

Where Does Mold Usually Grow?

Mold can grow anywhere moisture is present, including bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, attics, and crawl spaces. You may notice mold or mildew growing in a shower stall or a damp windowsill. It can also thrive in dark areas that are difficult to see, including behind walls, under carpeting, and inside ventilation or heating and cooling systems.

What Does Mold Look Like?

Mold leaves visible stains or discoloration on surfaces and is usually easy to identify. There are different types of mold, each of which has a different form, texture, and color. Mold can appear in the form of fuzzy white fibers, black stains, slimy residue, or clusters of colorful spots. White, black, brown, purple, green, and tan are typical colors associated with mold growth.

How Does Mold Smell?

As mold grows, it releases gasses known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) that create a musty odor. A strong, pungent smell often accompanies severe mold infestations. Some people have described mold odors as similar to sweaty socks or rotting wood.

Who Is Affected By Exposure To Mold?

Infants, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems may be affected sooner and more severely than others. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the most common symptoms of mold exposure include a runny nose, itchy eyes, cough, headaches, congestion, and asthma-like symptoms. Prolonged exposure can result in skin rashes, joint pain, pneumonia, and other potentially life-threatening health conditions.

How Can I Control Mold Growth?

It's impossible to eliminate all mold spores indoors, but you can control mold growth by controlling indoor moisture. Maintain an indoor humidity level between 30-50% and have your heating and cooling system professionally inspected twice a year. If there is mold growth inside your home or business, the source of the water problem must be resolved and the mold removed.

  • Repair leaky roofs and plumbing
  • Install and use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Ventilate and insulate attics and crawl spaces
  • Control indoor humidity levels
  • Use a dehumidifier in damp basements

What's the Best Way to Eliminate Mold?

If your property has experienced significant water damage or the mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, the EPA recommends professional mold remediation services. Trained professionals can identify and properly remove different types of mold. Attempting to test for and remediate mold growth can be hazardous to your health. Mold cleanup involves identifying and correcting the water source, discarding affected materials, and cleaning the area with industry-standard antimicrobial disinfectants.

Does Insurance Cover Mold Remediation?

Don’t assume your homeowner's insurance policy will pay to fix mold problems. Insurance typically pays if the problem results from an emergency already covered by your policy, like a burst pipe, but not if the mold results from deferred maintenance, persistent moisture issues, or floodwaters. Check with your insurance agent to see if your particular mold problem is covered.

Why Choose St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration?

Since 1991, St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration has helped thousands of residential and commercial property owners recover from big and small disasters. Our experienced technicians understand the importance of getting your home or business back to normal as quickly as possible. We specialize in water, mold, fire, and flood damage restoration services.

Because emergencies can happen at any time, our response teams are available 24/7. Whether it's water, mold, fire, or flood damage, you can count on the St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration professionals to handle your situation with compassion and expertise. We proudly service customers throughout the greater St. Louis region. Contact us online or call 314-328-7793 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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