Mold is extremely common in homes across the country — no matter where you live, chances are you’ve dealt with it in some way. Despite the several different types of mold, black mold tends to cause serious concern for homeowners because of its known dangers. There’s a lot of fear and controversy surrounding black mold and the health risks it may pose, so it’s important to be well informed on what you’re dealing with and how to deal with it.
How Long Does It Take for Black Mold To Grow?
“Black mold” is actually a blanket term for several types of dark molds, ranging from deep green to gray and black in color; however, Stachybotrys chartarum is the specific mold most people associate with the term. Like most other molds, black mold starts out as spores that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Once these spores start spreading, they can quickly develop into colonies, which are the larger clusters of mold spores that you can see growing on porous surfaces.
With the right conditions for temperature and humidity, it only takes one to two days for black mold to start growing. Once this process begins, the spores can start colonizing and spreading anywhere between three and 12 days. Black mold still may not be visible by this point, but you may notice visual signs of it in your home after roughly 18 days.
How Quickly Does Black Mold Grow After Water Damage?
Since water is one of the key components required for mold growth, black mold tends to start developing very quickly after your home has some water damage. Stachybotrys chartarum can germinate in as little as 24 hours after the fact, and the mold will continue to spread and worsen the longer it goes untreated. If the damage occurred in a particularly warm area, the mold can germinate and colonize very quickly, so it’s important to start mitigating the damage right away.
How Fast Does Black Mold Spread?
Mold begins spreading the second a spore hits damp, fiber-rich materials; wood, cloth, drywall and other porous surfaces are fair game in the spreading of mold. In many cases, black mold can spread to cover an entire square inch of your home per day. This may not sound like much, but the spread can quickly spiral out of control as more colonies develop in your home. Even with just two specific areas of mold colonies, the rate for mold to start covering entire square feet is immediately cut in half.
Unfortunately, black mold is typically already a widespread problem by the time you’re able to catch it. Since mold isn’t usually visible until it starts colonizing, you may not even realize it’s growing in your home until almost a month after the spores have begun to develop. Once you do recognize the presence of black mold, you can start assessing the damage right away. Be sure to take note of things like:
As a general rule of thumb, you can use the square footage of mold to decide when to get professional help. If there is less than 25 square feet of mold visible, there may still be time to handle the damage yourself; once the spread surpasses the 25-foot mark, it’s best to get in touch with your local contractor to handle the mold professionally.
Is Black Mold Dangerous?
Despite widespread implications that black mold is highly toxic, Stachybotrys chartarum is about as dangerous as any other mold. According to the CDC, no link has been established between exposure to black mold and the development of serious respiratory problems, skin conditions or other major health problems. That being said, black mold has the potential to cause bodily irritation in several different ways.
Some side effects of black mold exposure may include:
Symptoms such as fever or shortness of breath typically arise in more severe cases, and most (if not all) side effects of mold exposure are easily treatable. Some symptoms may be more intense for people with asthma, COPD, compromised immune systems, severe allergies or other bodily sensitivity. Overall, however, there is currently no evidence that black mold poses life-threatening health risks.
Is It Safe To Sleep in a House With Black Mold?
While black mold is not as dangerous as common misconceptions may lead you to believe, prolonged exposure to any mold can pose more severe consequences. Sleeping while exposed to black mold may cause more intense symptoms that make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Even if you manage to fall asleep just fine, you may wake up with symptoms similar to that of a common cold — i.e., fever, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath or irritated skin.
If it’s at all avoidable, try to find somewhere else to sleep when your home is afflicted by black mold. If you aren’t able to go anywhere else, do your best to sleep as far away from the mold as possible. Find an area in your home where the mold has yet to spread or isn’t as severe, and seal off any areas that are affected if possible. Try to keep the mold quarantined to the best of your ability until you are able to start treating the damage.
You may consider sleeping with a face mask to help reduce the side effects of mold exposure. If you choose to do this, be sure to consult with your doctor first; not all face masks allow you to safely breathe while sleeping, so you may need a recommendation for a sleep-safe mask from your doctor.
What Should You Do While Waiting for a Mold Remediation Expert?
If you’re not experienced in dealing with widespread mold, you may need professional mold remediation. If you aren’t sure what to look for, how to safely handle the issue or how to properly dispose of things contaminated with mold, consider contacting MoldRemediation.io to connect you with a certified, bonded and insured mold remediation company in your area.
With that said, there are steps you can take to limit mold exposure to yourself and anyone else in your home.
Dealing with black mold in your home can be tough, but it isn’t impossible to fix. If you suspect there may be black mold spreading in your home, don’t wait; take note of where and how the mold is spreading and speak with your contractor to start treating it right away. The sooner you act, the sooner your house can go back to being a home.
Hiring a professional mold inspector will give you peace of mind. Being in a position where you are uncertain as to the toxicity of mold in your residence can be extremely stressful.
At moldremediation.io, we pride ourselves on being quick, thorough and effective in how we communicate the mold remediation tests that we perform for our homeowner clients.