What Is The Difference Between Algae And Mold?

At some point in the time span of owning or renting your home, you have probably spotted black spots or patches on the siding, along the window edges or up on the rooftop. Everyone tends to think it’s a worst case scenario: black mold. However, it could just be algae.

What is Algae?
Algae is a plant, like moss, that occurs naturally. It grows more in humid climates because of the availability of sunlight and moisture. Algae grow via spores and spread to large areas over time. Although these plants perform the process of photosynthesis, they are unable to reproduce like typical plants. Algae also lack the standard plant appearance because they lack a root system, stem and leaves. The only elements algae needs to grow is sunlight and water. There are a variety of types of algae which are typically identified by their color, the most common of which is green.

What is Mold?
Mold is a form of fungus that grows where it is moist, dark and there is a food source available. Mold must eat organic material in order to survive, grow and spread over areas. Like algae, mold reproduces by spores that are launched into the air. These spores then embed themselves in new areas and continue to grow by eating any organic matter they have available. Molds also come in many types and are commonly identified by color and spore composition.

The Differences Between Algae and Mold
While mold and algae seem to have a lot in common, there are some obvious differences. Algae are plants that grow from the sun and must have sunlight to continue growth. Mold does not need sun to grow and in addition to moisture, must have organic material to grow. Molds grow in households by eating the organic materials present in building materials. Molds prefer the dark and will cease to spread in areas that are naturally well lit. Another difference between the two is that algae is much easier and cheaper to remove. Mold is stubborn and much harder to remove, making it a more costly endeavor.

The Most Significant Difference
More importantly, the greatest difference is in the way they affect your health and the health of your family. Algae growing anywhere on your home, while unsightly, will not do any harm to your health or the health of your family. On the other hand, mold can cause a numerous amount of health problems for you and your family depending on the type of mold it is. There are many common types of household mold and all can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. Mold and their spores can illicit reactions that range in severity from a sinus infection to coughing up blood due to inhaling the spores into your lungs. Again, the severity of the reactions depend on the type of mold that is present in or around your home and the amount of spores that have been inhaled.

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