Memorial Day – the unofficial start to the summer in Central Illinois – is almost here!
Summer is a season often associated with warmth, sunshine, and outdoor activities. However, it also brings with it an increase in humidity levels, creating an ideal environment for mold growth. The combination of higher temperatures and moisture accumulation, both indoors and outdoors, fosters the proliferation of various mold species in summer.
Seven common molds that thrive during the summer months include Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, Fusarium, Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold), and Aureobasidium. These molds can be found in different settings, ranging from damp basements and water-damaged buildings to outdoor vegetation and decaying organic matter. Understanding these mold species is crucial for effective prevention and remediation strategies to ensure a healthier and mold-free summer environment.
Types of Mold Found During Summer
Below are the 7 most common species of mold we find in homes in Central Illinois during summer months. Learn more about each species and how to identify them below:
Aspergillus is a widespread mold genus comprising numerous species. It can be found both indoors and outdoors, thriving in warm and humid conditions. Aspergillus mold appears in various colors, including green, yellow, and brown. Some species produce mycotoxins, which can have adverse health effects when inhaled or ingested.
Prolonged exposure to Aspergillus may lead to respiratory issues, allergies, and even infections in individuals with weakened immune systems. It is commonly associated with moldy food, compost piles, and damp areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Cladosporium is a common mold genus that thrives in both indoor and outdoor environments. It typically appears as black or olive-green colonies and can be found on decaying plant matter, soil, and damp surfaces. Cladosporium can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and respiratory problems in sensitive individuals.
It tends to be prevalent in areas with high humidity and can easily spread through airborne spores. Indoors, it can be found in basements, bathrooms, and areas with water damage or excessive moisture.
Penicillium is a mold genus often encountered in water-damaged buildings and damp indoor environments. It has a distinctive blue or green appearance and can emit a musty odor. Penicillium can produce mycotoxins and is known to cause allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals.
It commonly grows on materials such as wallpaper, carpeting, fabrics, and food items. Penicillium spores are easily dispersed through the air, contributing to its widespread presence in both indoor and outdoor settings.
Alternaria is a common mold genus that thrives in outdoor environments, particularly on plant debris, soil, and vegetation. However, it can also find its way indoors through open windows and doors. It typically appears as dark green or black colonies.
Exposure to Alternaria can trigger allergic reactions, asthma symptoms, and respiratory problems, especially in individuals with existing respiratory conditions. It is prevalent during the summer months and can be found in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and poorly ventilated spaces.
Fusarium is a mold genus often associated with water-damaged buildings and damp conditions. It thrives on cellulose-rich materials, including wallpaper, carpeting, and plant debris. Fusarium molds can produce mycotoxins and may cause allergic reactions, eye infections, and skin irritation in susceptible individuals.
The presence of Fusarium is characterized by its white or pinkish color and cotton-like or powdery texture. It is commonly found in areas with persistent moisture issues, such as leaky pipes, flooding, or high humidity.
Stachybotrys Chartarum Mold
Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as black mold, is typically found in areas with chronic water damage, such as damp basements, leaky roofs, or after flooding incidents. It has a dark greenish-black appearance and a slimy texture. Stachybotrys chartarum is associated with severe health effects and can produce mycotoxins.
Prolonged exposure to this mold can result in respiratory issues, allergic reactions, skin irritation, and mycotoxicosis, which may cause flu-like symptoms. Due to its potential health risks, professional remediation is often recommended for black mold infestations.
Aureobasidium is a mold genus commonly found on wooden surfaces, painted walls, and damp window frames. It appears as pink, brown, or black spots and can produce allergenic compounds. Exposure to Aureobasidium can trigger allergic reactions, including skin rashes, itching, and respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and congestion. It is commonly found in areas with high humidity, condensation, or water damage.
Aureobasidium mold growth can be a concern in bathrooms, kitchens, and areas prone to moisture buildup. Prompt identification and remediation of Aureobasidium-infested areas are crucial to prevent further spread and protect the indoor air quality. Proper ventilation, moisture control, and regular cleaning can help mitigate the growth of Aureobasidium mold and reduce the risk of associated health issues.
How to Stop Mold Growth During Summer?
Now that you know how to identify some of the most common mold species that grow during summer, you probably would like some tips on how to stop mold from growing in the first place:
- Control Humidity Levels: Keep indoor humidity below 50% by using air conditioners, dehumidifiers, or proper ventilation. Address any sources of moisture, such as leaks or condensation, promptly to prevent excess humidity that promotes mold growth.
- Ensure Proper Airflow: Maintain good air circulation throughout your home by using fans or opening windows when weather permits. Proper airflow helps to reduce moisture buildup and discourage mold growth.
- Address Water Leaks: Check for any water leaks in your home, especially in areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Repair leaks promptly and ensure proper ventilation in these areas to prevent dampness and mold growth.
- Clean & Dry Heavy Moisture Areas: Keep moisture-prone areas clean and dry. Regularly clean and dry bathroom surfaces, including shower curtains, tiles, and grout. Remove any standing water promptly and ensure proper ventilation in areas like laundry rooms or basements.
- Clean & Maintain HVAC Systems: Clean and maintain your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems regularly. Replace filters as recommended, clean drip pans, and ensure that the system is properly draining moisture. A well-maintained HVAC system helps control humidity levels and discourages mold growth.
By implementing these preventative measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of mold growth in your home during the summer months. However, if you notice signs of mold or persistent moisture issues, it’s important to seek professional assistance for proper remediation.
Pure Maintenance of Central Illinois is here to help! We provide indoor mold testing, mold remediation and mold removal. Demo-free! How? We use the power of dry fogging and proprietary measures to deliver superior results at an affordable price. Serving Champaign, IL and surrounding areas. Call today!