Black mold, black mold, black mold. That is all we hear, but there are several different molds that are black in color, and while their health effects are uncomfortable, they are not deadly. Every time we breathe, we inhale microscopic mold spores, and this includes indoors. Some individuals can live in an environment rich in mold spores and never get sick, while others will get a headache immediately. Our own health and how our body reacts to an irritant sets the level of mold that we are comfortable in. Some people with asthma may not do well in an indoor environment with elevated mold spores, while others will have no adverse health effects.

Types of Mold

Black mold, if you have it, does not mean it is the mold that has been all over the news, and it does not mean you need to leave your home. There are thousands of mold species and many sub-species within that species. Aspergillus is a common indoor mold with about 600 different species. Another common indoor mold, Atlernaria, only has about 40-50 sub-species, but only a few are found indoors.

Common Health Effects of Mold

The known health effects from mold exposure can vary widely, and they can be mild to severe and the health of the person may or may not play a role in symptoms from mold exposure.

Headaches can be caused by many different environmental exposures, like paint fumes, automotive exhaust, and pollen. Coughing and sneezing can also be related to high indoor or outdoor pollen and lead to a sore throat and runny nose. Symptoms from the flu are very similar to the symptoms of mold exposure. So, remember, just because you have these symptoms does not mean you have an indoor mold problem. You might have the flu. Have you been to the doctor?

The following is a list of known indoor mold exposure symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Chronic cough
  • Runny Nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery, red eyes
  • Skin rashes/hives
  • Sinus headaches
  • Rhinitis (inflammation of the sinuses)
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
  • Difficulty breathing

Is your home making you sick? We do not know until we complete a mold inspection. Mold test kits are sold at department stores and home improvement chains. The issue is every house has mold spores, so testing in this manner will provide results that we are already aware of, mold spores are in the air. Have you scheduled a mold inspection with a certified mold inspector? You should, they are trained in detecting indoor mold issues, and they can provide you with a written report that goes well beyond the mold test.

Do not just get a mold test, it is no different than the test kit from a home improvement store. We already know there are mold spores in the air.

If you are in our service area and want a genuine mold inspection by a certified trained professional, give us a call or send an e-mail. We can help, we can determine if you have an indoor mold problem. Mention this blog post and get $25.00 off your mold inspection.

List of Molds Commonly Found In Homes

Name Description Health Risk
Atlernaria One of the most common molds.  This genus contains about 40 to 50 different species only a few of which are commonly found indoors.  It is common outdoors in soil and dead organic debris.  Indoors they can be found in house dust, carpets, and damp shower surfaces and around window frames and other areas where condensation occurs. They are a Type I allergen (hay fever, asthma) and Type III (hypersensitivity pneumonitis).
Aspergillus Aspergillus is so visually similar to Penicillium they are commonly discussed as a group.  There are about 600 different species of Aspergillus.  These fungi are found in soil, compost, plant debris, and stored grain.  Indoors, they are found throughout the home in dust, growing on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, and behind paint.  They may also be found in nuts, apples, oranges, and onions. Type I and Type III
Botrytis Found in soil, stored and transported fruit and vegetables.  Plant pathogen and saprophyte on flowers, leaves, stems, and fruit.  Leaf rot on grapes, strawberries, lettuce, cabbage, and onions.  May be found on indoor plants.  “Gray Mold” or “Noble Rot” on wine grapes is often used in wine production. Type I and Type III
Chaetomiun A common mold whose genus contains about 80-90 species.  Found in soil, seeds, cellulose, dung, woody, and straw materials.  In water-damaged buildings, it is frequently found on sheetrock and paper products. Type I though not well-studied
Cladosporium An abundant mold worldwide and one of the most commonly found in both indoor and outdoor samples.  Found in soils, plant litter, leaf surfaces, and decaying plants.  Indoors on moist windowsills and dirty refrigerators.  It often discolors interior paint and textiles stored in humid conditions. Type I and Type III. A common and important allergen
Mucor One of the quicker invading organisms able to contaminate many kinds of stored food products.  It is often found in stored seed, manure, and house dust.  It is frequently found in air samples from indoor environments in carpeting and HVAC systems. Minor Type I and Type III
Rhizopus Closely related to Mucor and inhabits the same niches. Frequently found in house dust, soil, fruit, nuts, compost, vegetable garbage, and forgotten leftover food. Type I and Type III
Stachybotrys This ubiquitous mold is found in soil and decaying plant matter including hay and straw.  It is dark-colored and thrives on water-damaged sheetrock, paper, ceiling tiles, and wallpaper.  It is slow growing, but when water is available, it will grow for prolonged periods on cellulose-containing materials.  It is able to produce extremely toxic gases.  Exposure to these toxins can occur through inhalation, ingestion or through the skin. Type I. Dermatitis, cough, rhinitis, nose bleeds and burning sensations in the nose and mouth.


Aztec Home Inspections provides inspection services, including mold evaluations, to customers in Waynesboro, Harrisonburg, and surrounding areas. Contact us to request an appointment.