Identify black mold in a house by looking for a strong earthy and musty smell around the home. Black mold, which is scientifically identified as Stachybotrys chartarum, has a particularly strong smell and grows in stagnant and dark areas of the house with no extreme temperature shifts.
Black mold has a greenish-black appearance and feels wet or slimy to the touch. In certain cases, black mold can also appear in a gray color and have a texture that is powdery, similar to that of soot. Visually, other types of mold can resemble black mold, thus requiring a lab test to determine whether or not mold found in a house is actually black mold.
A house that has been damaged by water or otherwise contains excessive moisture is more likely to develop mold. Black mold in particular grows in wetter conditions than most other types of mold and consumes nutrients from wet cellulose-based materials. Black mold food sources include common household materials, such as cardboard, drywall, lumber, dust and cotton.
The presence of black mold or any other kind of mold inside a home can pose significant health risks. Individuals with a weaker immune system, such as children and the elderly, are more susceptible to health issues, including asthma, throat irritation, chronic fatigue and memory impairment.