How Do You Know If Mold Is Active? What to Know
In most cases, it’s obvious when there is mold growing in your home. You’ll visibly see the fungus or notice that it’s affecting your health.
Regardless, when you realize there’s mold in your home, a thousand questions race through your mind:
- How did it get there?
- Is it dangerous?
- Is it going to damage my property?
- How do I get rid of it?
You might also be wondering if the mold is active or dead. In this post, we go over the difference between active and dead mold. We’ll help you determine which you’re dealing with and clear up common misconceptions.
What Is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi. It consists of many microscopic organisms that break down organic matter and multiply by producing spores.
Spores are naturally present in both indoor and outdoor environments. They enter your home via open doors and windows, ventilation systems, etc. They also cling to clothes, shoes, and even your dog. So, there’s no avoiding them.
What Causes Mold to Grow in Your Home?
In most cases, the natural presence of spores isn’t a problem. However, it will become a problem if your home has the right conditions for them to grow.
Spores thrive in moist environments. In households, they grow around leaks in roofs, pipes, or windows. They also tend to form under damp kitchen sinks, around bathtubs, etc.
These are just a few common areas that spores grow. As long as the environment is moist, you can find spores pretty much anywhere. They can grow on:
- Paper products
- Ceiling tiles
How to Find Out If Mold is Active or Inactive?
When you find this fungus in your home, your first instinct is to inspect it. You want to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
But, before investigating further, know that contact with spores can be dangerous. You should take precautions, like wearing a respirator mask and gloves. These will prevent you from touching the spores or breathing in contaminated air.
Once you have a mask and gloves on, approach the fungus. Here’s how to tell the difference between the active and dead mold.
Active mold will appear moist. While its texture can vary, many people describe it as either glossy or fluffy. The surface may have hair-like growth and feature colors like black, green, yellow, white, and gray.
Dead mold has a powdery, flaky appearance. To confirm it is dead, brush the surface with a broom. It is most likely dead if it easily brushes off and becomes airborne.
Note that “dead” mold isn’t actually dead. Rather, it is inactive because it is no longer exposed to moisture.
Here’s an example: Let’s say there’s fungus under your bathroom sink. It grew there because of a leak. You get the leak fixed, and the area dries out. Because the fungus no longer has access to water, it becomes inactive. However, if another leak were to spring, it gets the water it needs to thrive. It could grow back in as little as 24 hours.
How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick?
When there’s a fungus in your home, you might notice its effects on your health before visually spotting it. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes
- Dry skin
- Shortness of breath
Anyone may experience the effects of fungus exposure. However, symptoms are particularly prominent in children, the elderly, and those with asthma, allergies, or compromised immune systems.
Can Inactive Mold Make You Sick?
Contrary to popular belief, inactive mold CAN make you sick. It causes many of the same symptoms and should be treated with the same urgency as active mold. That’s why it’s so important to treat any mold you find in your home immediately – do not assume that because it’s dead, it is not dangerous.
Whether the fungus you have is active or inactive, you should call a remediation company to take care of the buildup.
Get in touch with our team at All Dry USA today. We specialize in treating mold and preventing it from growing back. Call us today to protect your home and keep your family safe!