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Tag Archives: Black Mold

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Connecting the Dots Between Mold and Your Emotional Well Being

More than likely, you’ve experienced mood swings during an illness. When you don’t feel good, you’re not feeling your best either physically or emotionally.

Usually, it’s understood that if you aren’t feeling 100%, it’s temporary and your mood will get better as soon as you feel better physically.

But what if you are suffering from chronic emotional mood swings or issues and you’re not sure why?

It’s possible that exposure to toxic mold may be playing a part for a downturn in your emotional well-being.

Mold Toxicity Symptoms

You are probably familiar with some of the physical symptoms of mold exposure like watery eyes, a sore throat, sneezing and trouble breathing.

Along with the physical symptoms, exposure to toxic mold may also cause changes that affect your emotional well-being, too.

Symptoms from mold exposure vary by individual and the symptoms are just as unique as the person.

Here are some of the ways toxic mold can negatively affect your emotional well-being:

  • Mood Swings
  • Memory fog, focus, confusion
  • Insomnia, chronic fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Because other chronic conditions have similar symptoms, you should see a medical professional for a complete physical to rule out other serious illnesses.

Since mold produces spores which contain microscopic mycotoxins and when inhaled, not only cause obvious physical symptoms, but emotional/mental health symptoms as well.

Testing for Toxic Mold Exposure

At this time, how mold spores and mycotoxins affect the central nervous system and emotional health is extremely hard to determine. Individual symptoms and reactions to mold exposure can range from mild to severe and are varied.

Although there are no medical procedures to test specifically for toxic mold exposure, you are at higher risk if you have allergies, asthma, other respiratory conditions or suffer from a compromised immune system.

If you see visible mold or smell mold, you’ve more than likely been exposed. From there, you may be suffering from the effects of breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins over time.

Some potential testing for mold exposure include:

  • Allergy test specifically for mold.
  • Blood test showing an elevated count of antibodies.
  • Skin prick test in which a doctor pricks the skin, exposes the skin to allergens and watches for a reaction like a rash, hives or bumps.

Staying Healthy

If you can’t shake your symptoms or wonder if mold may be partly responsible for mood swings and a noticeable, unexplained difference in your emotional health, see a doctor for a thorough medical checkup. Explain your symptoms and how they may be related to toxic mold exposure.

If you suspect mold is the problem or making you feel worse, take steps to eliminate your exposure. Cleaning up mold before it spreads and grows is important especially if you live a humid climate or notice damp areas in your home.

  • Wear protective gloves and a face mask.
  • Turn off the furnace or air conditioner to prevent the spread of airborne mold spores while cleaning.
  • Clean with either undiluted white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or a commercial mold & mildew cleaner.
  • Saturate the moldy area with the cleaning solution to stabilize spores and prevent them from reaching other areas of your home.
  • Let the cleaning solution sit for 10-15 minutes to soak into the active mold.
  • Scrub the area with a brush until mold is removed, rinse and let air dry. You may need more than one application to completely remove the mold from showers and walls, so repeat as necessary.
  • Fix leaking pipes or water leaking from faucets, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines or any other area where a water leak is possible.
  • Run a dehumidifier in moist, damp spaces.
  • Add or improve existing ventilation.

If despite your best efforts, the mold has grown to concerning levels covering over 10 square feet or keeps coming back, call a professional mold remediation company to tackle the issue for good.


While exposure to black mold can lead to mild to severe physical and/or emotional health issues, it’s imperative to find its source and eliminate it once and for all.

For fast, professional services and results, call the mold remediation experts at RCS in Santa Rosa.


How Fast Does Mold Grow?

When you notice something dark and dirty growing and spreading on your walls or furniture, especially in a damp area of your home, there’s a good chance you already have a serious mold problem.

If you’re not sure, but smell a strong, musty odor in the area, you have a mold problem for sure.

If it’s been an undetermined amount of time since you’ve noticed the growth and/or smell, you may wonder exactly how long the mold has been there.

Just how fast does mold grow?

Different Types of Mold

Different species of mold vary in appearance and rate at which they grow and spread.

For instance, the green mold that shows up on stale food is different from the green or black mold climbing up your bathroom walls, around windows or on ceilings.

That green, fuzzy mold that grows on food (i.e.; bread) is a type of fungus that feeds on the nutrients found in the food. The nutrients feed the mold spore colony that’s settled on your food and as it feeds, causes the mold to grow very quickly, or within a day or two.

The mold spores that result in “black mold” that’s common to find in basements and bathrooms start to develop within hours and as long as conditions are right, continues to grow, spread and cause damage to what it’s attached to. The right conditions include high levels of humidity and moisture.

While often referred to as “black mold,” the dark color of fast-growing mold can range from a dark green or brown to dark gray or black.

Mold Spores and Colonizing

All types of mold start as tiny mold spores, which you cannot see. The spores form colonies and in damp conditions, spread fast.

By the time you can actually see the mold, what you are seeing are large clusters of mold spores which grow and spread on porous surfaces.

Even while you can’t see them, mold spores are colonizing and spreading quickly and continuously in moist conditions. Within about three weeks or less, you’ll be able to see the dark-colored mold.

The more unseen mold spores you have, the more areas mold can grow and spread.

This is why mold growth gives you a run for your money even if you think you’ve cleaned and disinfected the affected areas you’ve been able to see.

It’s also possible that while you are cleaning visible mold, the disturbed mold releases airborne mold spores that can settle anywhere in your home.

Why Growing Mold is Hazardous

Outside of the unappealing nature of visible mold, it presents very real health risks for those with allergies, asthma, compromised immune systems and lung conditions.

The scary part of incubating mold spores is that they are invisible to the naked eye and go undetected until it’s too late.

By the third week of undetected mold spores reproducing in damp conditions, it’s possible to have a mold infestation requiring professional inspection and removal services from a qualified mold remediation company.

Getting Professional Help

There are many different types of mold and effective removal methods depend on the type of mold. A professional mold removal company can identify the type of mold, how dangerous it is, get rid of it and prevent it from returning.

The professionals can perform an assessment of high risk conditions in your home that once fixed, prevent the return and invasion of mold in the future.

If after a thorough cleaning the mold comes back or spreads to other areas, call a professional mold removal company for safer and more permanent solutions.

If the moldy areas are too overwhelming or health conditions prevent you from further exposure to the mold, call in a professional mold removal company to clean up and treat the areas for you.


It might surprise you to learn about the lightening-fast speed at which mold begins to grow and spread.

To give your home a clean bill of health by treating and eliminating all types of mold, contact the experienced mold removal and remediation specialists at RCS in Santa Rosa, CA.

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5 Common Summer Molds

As summer approaches, so does the development of various molds. Not only are they unsightly, but they can cause serious health effects. This post will explore more about what encourages mold to develop and a few to watch out for.

What Causes Summer Mold?

One of the main causes of summer mold is humidity. During this season, there is abundant moisture in some parts of the country. When combined with high temperatures, it creates a haven for mold spores.

While mold might develop in a single area, if not removed, its particles will spread. This can be especially problematic if it’s in your crawl space or air ventilation system because they’ll circulate the spores throughout your home.

5 Frequent Summer Molds

Mucor: This fungus is commonly discovered in houseplants and rotting fruits or vegetables. It can also grow near your HVAC system because it thrives on the surrounding moisture. It can be identified thanks to its deep black spots that spread in various directions. While not fatal, mucor can cause mucormycosis – a fungal infection that can irritate your sinuses and skin.

Black Mold: Black mold is often labeled as one of the most toxic types. While dangerous, it’s not necessarily as deadly as some claim. However, if you’re constantly exposed to it, it can result in serious issues.

As with most molds, black mold enjoys dark environments. Because of this, you’ll find it in basements and attics. As its name suggests, this mold leaves behind large black splotches.

Aspergillus: Aspergillus grows on decaying matter. Most of the time, it’s found outdoors and makes its way into your home by having its spores cling to your shoes and clothing.
Aspergillus is known for its bottle-like shape. It appears black, but when removed from a surface, features a yellow-tinted undercoating.

Chaetomium: Chaetomium is one of the more problematic molds. Because of its strength and ability to quickly spread, it can create structural damage and concerning health issues. This variety is usually found near water damage and has a black and yellowish hue.

Penicillium: This mold is frequently found in homes. Many times, its spores can result in respiratory infections. Penicillium usually grows in dark, damp areas. This includes under old mattresses and wallpaper.

Almost every homeowner needs to watch out for mold. If you’re not careful, it could end up being a huge hazard to both your living space and health. If you’re concerned you might have a mold problem, give RCS a call in Santa Rosa. Our experts will quickly arrive to inspect the issue and recommend ways to eradicate it.

A Moldy Situation: Health Hazards

Once there is a leak, flood, or excess moisture in a home or building, mold grows quickly, usually within 24-48 hours. If the water goes undetected or is not handled immediately, the mold will continue to flourish and could become hazardous, toxic black mold within a week or so. The toxins this type of mold produces are called mycotoxins, and these are what are so dangerous for humans and animals. Even if it does not transform into this type of black mold, mold in general is known to be a leading allergen for many people. 

In order to determine if the culprit that is growing within your walls, ceilings, or floors is toxic black mold and harmful to your health, always contact a specialist to come out and test a sample. One cannot always look at a moldy surface and decide whether or not the area is creating hazardous mycotoxins. 

This toxic black mold is always a greenish-black color and can either be slimy (if there is still a water source) or dry with a powdery look and feel (if the water source has run out). Unfortunately, there are other molds that look similar, which is another reason why one should contact a professional immediately. 

Whether or not you suspect mold in your home or business, there are quite a few signs and symptoms to having a common mold allergy and to having an allergic reaction to toxic black mold. 

Let’s take a look at both to distinguish between the two.

Symptoms of a common mold allergy:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Irritated eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy throat

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to toxic black mold:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin inflammation
  • Hemorrhage
  • Irritation of mucous membranes
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Mental/nervous system impairment
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Immune system suppression 

As you can see, the reaction to toxic black mold as opposed to other types of mold can be quite serious, resulting in health issues that may last a very long time and could even result in death. Because so many people are unaware of the signs of having mold in their home or place of business and because they may not be aware of the physical symptoms that the situation may cause, they are often likely to live and work simultaneously with these toxins for quite some time without knowing. This is why being educated on this topic is so very important. 

If you suspect that your body has been compromised by mycotoxins, go to the doctor immediately and they can conduct either a blood test or skin prick test. If it turns out that you were subjected to mold poisoning, there are a few fairly simple treatment options

Never underestimate the power of mold. If you even think your home or business may have a mold problem, get a professional out there as soon as possible, and if you are not feeling well, go to the doctor to get checked out.

If you’re in need of a cleanup and restoration specialist to come out to determine if you have a toxic black mold problem, don’t worry—Restoration Certified Specialists, Inc. will take care of you! They have been proudly serving the Santa Rosa and North Bay areas since 1975.

How to Maintain Safe Humidity to Reduce Mold in Your Home

How to Maintain Safe Humidity to Reduce Mold in Your Home

Maintaining humidity in your home is a careful balance. Low humidity can be uncomfortable, while too much humidity can lead to mold and result in damage to your home and a host of health problems for you and your family.

How to Maintain Safe Humidity to Reduce Mold in Your Home

Problems Caused by Humidity

High levels of moisture in the air cause a variety of problems in your home. Increased dampness can cause paint and wallpaper to bubble and peel. High humidity can create a hospitable environment for insects, like cockroaches and termites, as well as mold. When mold grows in a home it can result in unsightly staining on walls and other surfaces as well as health issues.

Health Concerns Over Mold

Mold is a fungus that thrives in damp conditions. Mold can cause health problems, like nasal congestion and a scratchy throat, as well as difficulty breathing. In some cases mold exposure can lead to respiratory infections and life-threatening conditions.

Causes of High Humidity

Certain rooms in a home, like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms and basements, are prone to mold growth. Steamy showers, boiling water and unfinished concrete walls can contribute to high humidity. Newer energy-efficient homes create ideal conditions for mold growth. Homes which are sealed up to conserve energy and keep cooling or heating inside, also work to prevent excess moisture from escaping. This moisture buildup can lead to mold. Unheated and uncooled rooms easily grow mold as well.

How to Measure Humidity

When you see mold growing, it is evident you have a problem, but it also is possible for mold to grow and remain unseen. In this instance, you or your family may experience symptoms of mold exposure without realizing the cause. The ideal humidity level in your home should around 45 percent. You can determine the humidity using a hygrometer, which is a device that measures the amount of moisture in the air. Many hardware and home-good stores sell hygrometers. By identifying the amount of moisture in your home you can create a plan to adjust it accordingly.

How to Lower Humidity

One of the most effective ways to lower the humidity in your home is through exhaust fans. Placing exhaust fans in key areas, like bathrooms and above a range or cooktop in the kitchen can whisk excess moisture out of the home. In new homes automatic exhaust fans or ventilation systems can decrease humidity. In basements and other damp areas, a dehumidifier can bring the humidity levels down to a safe and comfortable level. When making renovations or building new construction, opt for mold-resistant drywall and paint in rooms that are likely to experience high levels of humidity.

Mold Remediation

Preventative measures can stop the problem before it sets in, but if your home already has mold it is pivotal to quickly and thoroughly remove the fungus to prevent further exposure. Learn how to undo mold damage in your home and keep your family safe.

Black Mold - How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold

Black Mold – How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold

Black mold, or any mold for that matter, is a scary thing to have to deal with. But the good news is that not all molds that are black in color are the infamous toxic black mold. There are literally a thousand different types of mold found in the United States, and many of them are black.

Molds are found both indoors and outdoors, but the molds found outdoors are an important part of nature’s process. Indoor mold serves no such positive function, as it breaks down the material it’s growing on, your home or business, and causes health issues ranging from allergic to potentially fatal in cause and severity. Knowing what kind of mold you have is important to help you have it addressed as quickly as possible. A less-serious allergy-causing mold can sometimes be cleaned by the property owner while a more serious one needs immediate, professional assistance.

How to Determine if it’s Toxic Black Mold

Where the Black Mold Grows

Any building can develop mold around leaky plumbing or in bathrooms and kitchens that are not perfectly ventilated and humidity controlled. Buildings with areas of humid air(are damp and of warmer temperatures), also tend to foster mold growth anywhere these conditions exist. Any place that has suffered water damage can also grow mold, such as from flooding, a plumbing leak, or a roof leak.

Look for mold in kitchens and bathrooms first, particularly dark corners, behind fixtures, and in cabinets. Then examine any place where there has been a leak or water damage and any place in the building that is humid. Often you can just follow the smell. Don’t rule out an area of the building because it’s not the most likely place. Any place can grow mold if moist and dark conditions are present.

Health Symptoms

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to areas with mold can cause mild to severe health conditions, depending on the type of mold and amount of it. Mold that is more difficult to find, like inside walls, can grow without being noticed to alarming amounts and cause various irritating and sometimes life-threatening symptoms.

Many molds cause allergic symptoms in certain individuals, such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat, etc. Neurological symptoms such as dizziness, depression, headaches, memory loss, and concentration problems are symptoms of toxic mold exposure.

Mold symptoms depend largely on the amount of mold you’re being exposed to and how long you’ve been exposed to it. If you have unexplained neurological symptoms or they fluctuate depending on whether you are at the location or where you are in the building, leave if possible and seek immediate help as neurological symptoms indicate a serious level of toxic mold exposure. Don’t necessarily assume that you don’t have toxic mold because you don’t have those symptoms yet.

How to Identify Toxic Black Mold

With so many types of molds in existence, and with many of them looking very similar, it may be difficult to properly identify what type of mold you have. Stachybotrys, or toxic black mold, is slimy when wet and powdery when dry and can be black or green in color.  It prefers paper, wood, and similar cellulose materials. Since it requires constant moisture to grow, you’ll usually find it in places with long term water damage or after a leak or flood that was not properly addressed.

What to Do if You Find Mold In Your Home

All molds need to be cleaned up right away. There is no acceptable amount of mold that can be present in a home and no type of mold that is not at least a threat to people with allergies or those with a weakened immune system.

Only attempt to clean up mold if you are 100% sure it’s a non-toxic mold and it is in a location that is easy to thoroughly clean, i.e. there are no joints, cracks, and crevices that it could have traveled into.

Call a mold removal expert for large areas of mold growth, for situations when water damage is present and/or the mold may have grown into areas you can’t reach, for any mold you are not 100% of it’s toxicity, or if you just don’t want to worry about what kind of mold it is or how to clean it.

RCS damage cleanup specialists will help you determine every location mold is present in your home or business, extract any water, repair water damage, remove all of the mold, and give you tips to prevent mold from recurring.