What types of mold are growing in your home?

What types of mold are growing in your home? There are a great many different types of mold. We know of approximately 100,000 species of mold. And there’s about 150 different types of mold in a house, each of which can have several subtypes.



How to identify what types of mold are in your home

Basement black mold- one of the many types of mold found in basements

Black mold- one of the many types of mold present in homes

Scientist spend many years learning to identify the many different types of mold first by genus or group and then by individual mold or what scientists call species. For instance, for a mold like Aspergillus fumigatus, the first name is a group name (genus) and the second name is individual or specific (species) name. To identify a mold to individual level requires detailed studies of the mold by an expert.

Unfortunately, you can’t identify the types of mold in your home with a photograph or with the naked eye since most molds look very similar. Even an expert mycologist may not identify mold just by their look on drywalls.

The only way to tell for sure what types of mold you’re dealing with is to send a sample for testing to a qualified mold laboratory. Remember!. It’s the types of mold and the amounts that you inhale that matters. Consider testing air in your home. For instructions on how to test air click How To Sample Air For Total Fungal Spore Counts.

Stachybotrys and Cladosporium- some of the types of mold found in homes

Let me illustrate. The top picture is a basement with black mold as you could seen it on the wall. All we see from this picture is black mold.

The bottom two examples are photos of mold pictures as seen under a microscope magnified 600 times. Under the microscope, we can differentiate 2 different types of mold. These are Stachybotrys and Cladosporium. Notice how different they look under the microscope. They are vastly different molds, even though they look nearly identical to the naked eye when seen on the wall.

If you have mold in your house, you may want to send mold samples to find out from an expert what type it is. Why care to know the type of mold? You, may ask. Not all molds are harmful and for your peace of mind, you may want to know if you were ever exposed to toxigenic molds.

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Jackson Kung'u
Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues.
Jackson Kung'u

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Frequently Asked Questions

When is mold a problem and how do I know I have mold?
You know you have mold when you smell the “musty” odor or see small black…

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