The scientific name of black mold is stachybotrys chartarum – even the name is scary. This is because black mold is scary, and in some extreme cases it can kill. The scientific name comes from a saying in Greek, which roughly means any organic matter that grows as quickly as a vine. The first documented record of black mold dates all the way back to an apartment complex in Prague – entire portions of the building had to be torn down because excess moisture had caused the mold to proliferate. Black mold comes in almost 50 different varieties – each one more harmful and petulant than the last. Here are five common symptoms of black mold infestation.
- Musty odor. Mold smells like sour, wet paper – or it can sometime smell like mildew. In fact, many people smell mildew in their homes and think that it isn’t that harmful and they actually get used to it. However, mistaking toxic mold as mildew can have disastrous consequences. Even if you don’t know if it is mildew or mold you smell, you should have it looked into, because you don’t want to risk any serious problems – both structural problems with your home and health problems.
- Black specks. Black mold, or stachybotrys chartarum, looks like little black, brown, and green specks – with more black than any other color. The most common places it will grow are in the bathroom of your home, but it can also grow inside the walls, near outdoor plants that need to be watered everyday. If you suspect there is mold inside your walls you should have a specialist come in to determine whether or not it is toxic. If you can visibly see the mold, you don’t have to bring someone in to determine its toxicity, but you still have to bring in a special crew to remove it.
- Increased moisture. If you can feel the moisture in a particular room – perhaps you live in a humid or tropical region or you don’t have proper ventilation in the bathroom – chances are that there might be mold behind the walls. Just the presence of moisture could be a harbinger that you have a mold infestation – even if you can’t see it. It could also be a result of improper insulation to protect the room from higher than normal levels of moisture. Whatever the case is, you should bring in the professionals.
- Cracked and peeling paint. If you start to notice that a particular room in your home has cracked or peeling paint, it could be a sign that mold is growing, but hasn’t reached the surface yet. If this room is near your air conditioning unit, it is important to clean evaporator coils and perform any other maintenance. If the peeling paint problem goes away, you might have just prevented the mold from growing.
- Health problems. One of the number one signs that you have black mold infestation is the onset of serious health problems that can start out as lightheadedness, fatigue, and headaches, but can quickly turn into more serious problems. If you start to notice you are having unusual health problems, you should see a doctor and get your house diagnosed for mold. Removing the mold is imperative when it comes to protecting your health and your home.