How To Identify Black Mold On Drywall
Drywall can also take on a distinct look after spores have spread and taken root in it. Like wood, it can look water stained and discolored. The drywall in your walls and ceilings can become yellowed, browned or have what looks to be water streaks in it.
Rot is another common side effect of this fungal growth. The drywall fixtures in your home might collapse or fall through easily because of it. They also may be easy to crumble or tear holes in if you touch or step on them.
Finally, fungal-infested drywall can smell musty, old and dirty. If you notice these types of odors in your drywall fixtures, you should suspect that they are full of spores and need to be torn out and replaced immediately.
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Toxic Mold Test Do They Help
Professional inspection and testing can tell you definitively if you have this fungus in your home. The tests can reveal if the fungus is toxic and what type it is for sure. They can also identify where the fungus took root and from what areas in your home it has spread.
The tests can confirm signs that you may have suspected and give you positive results in a matter of minutes. They can also confirm that you need to take immediate action like hiring a professional remediation service to eliminate it and prevent future fungal growth.
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What Causes Mold In An Apartment
Damp, cool indoor areas are the kinds of places where molds thrive. Sometimes a mold infestation is the result of a water leak. But even after the leak has been fixed, water may linger inside walls and floors, providing a moist surface where mold spores can grow. Water can also enter the home from outside through poorly fitting windows and doors or cracks in walls. A third source of dampness in apartments is condensation. Water in the air that we exhale and from showers or cooking condenses on cool surfaces like interior walls. Indoor humidity that’s regularly higher than 60 percent and temperatures of 60 F or lower also provide growing conditions for mold.
To prevent a mold infestation, use dehumidifiers or air conditioners to remove excess moisture from indoor air, run exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom, and heat your home during cold weather.
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How To Find Out In Advance If An Apartment Has A Mold Problem
When looking for a new apartment, its important to investigate whether or not the building is contaminated with mold. Unlike many other apartment flaws, mold growth can often be difficult to spot. Even when an apartment appears clean and mold-free, there can be spores hidden throughout the property. Before signing a lease youll want to request a walk-through of the apartment, so you can check for mold problems in advance.
Look for moldy discoloration on walls and fixtures near sources of excessive moisture. Mold is most prone to growing in moist areas, according to the Toxic Black Mold Information Center. Mold does not always exist as a large, easily noticeable cluster of spores. In many cases small spots of black, blue, green or gray discoloration can be indicative of small mold deposits. Make sure to thoroughly check for mold discoloration near pipes, windows, faucets, air conditioning units, refrigerators and any other places in the apartment that are prone to excessive moisture.
Look for additional discoloration indicative of the use of bleach or other harsh cleansers. If you notice bright white or yellow patches throughout the apartment, ask the landlord if this is the result of DIY mold removal. Many people try to remove mold with bleach. While bleach can kill surface mold, it does not penetrate porous surfaces to kill hidden mold spores. Unexplained bleach stains could mean that the unit has a mold problem.
Mold Disclosure Requirements In New York
New York doesn’t have any statutes or regulations that require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties to prospective tenants or buyers. Also, while federal law requires disclosures about lead paint, it doesn’t impose a similar duty on landlords when it comes to mold.
Aside from any affirmative disclosure requirement, however, if you decide to list a property for sale, you should be ready with responses to questions potential buyers might ask about plumbing, humidity, and ventilation issues in your building.
To learn more about landlord disclosure requirements in New York, check out New York Required Landlord Disclosures.
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What Mold Looks Like
Molds are a type of fungus and can look like their fungal cousins, mushrooms and yeasts. Outdoors, molds can be seen gobbling up the dead organic matter on decomposing surfaces like fallen leaves and rotting logs indoors, house mold thrives in wet, humid environments like bathrooms and basements or anywhere that has recently flooded. There are thousands of types of mold, and their appearance can vary depending on the type of mold and where its growing.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Alternaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum , is also sometimes found in homes and other buildings. This greenish-black growth can grow on fiberboard, paper, dust, and lint, particularly in areas that may have recently flooded or suffered other types of water damage. While black mold can certainly look scary, the CDC says that Stachybotrys chartarum isnt any more harmful than other types of mold.
How To Identify Black Mold On Other Surfaces
Black mold has a distinct look that should signal to you its presence on other surfaces in your home. It may look dark green or gray, depending on where it is growing. It also may simply look like black, fuzzy spots growing in dark and wet corners of the floor, ceiling, walls and other areas.
If other surfaces in your home have been exposed to moisture, humidity or water and have this type of growth on them, you should suspect that the spores are actually black fungus. The spots may even be difficult to sweep or scrub and only be removed and killed if you spray bleach or ammonia on them.
What Mold Smells Like
Mold has a damp, musty scentsimilar to what youd smell after opening an old book. In general, smell is not a good way to determine if there is a mold problem, says Laureen Burton, a staff chemist and toxicologist for the Environmental Protection Agency . The smell of indoor molds can differ depending on the type of mold, the surface on which its growing, and its source of moisture. Plus, she says, some people dont notice a smell at all.
The mold smell is caused by microbial volatile organic compounds , which are substances that are naturally produced by molds as they grow. The health effects of inhaling mVOCs are largely unknown, says Burton, although exposure to some mVOCs has been linked to symptoms such as headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea.
Signs Of Mold In An Apartment
Watch out for these signs of mold in an apartment:
- An off smell: If you notice a musty smell in your unit, it could very well come from mold. Check for further signs. Even if you dont immediately see anything obvious, a moldy odor means youll want to investigate more.
- Dirty spots: Mold is not always visible, but people can mistake it for stains like soot or dirt when it is. Remember that mold can come in various colors, sizes, and shapes, so dont just assume youre in the clear if that strange spot isnt black. A small mold spot could mean you have more mold lurking behind your walls or in other areas.
- Leaks: Because mold needs moisture, a leak in your unit may lead to mold. Mold often exists around pipes in front of and behind walls. If you have a leak, get it fixed right away, and check for mold signs after. The top causes of mold include leaks from another unit, clogged PTAC units, and broken washing machine hoses.
- Condensation: Again, lots of moisture creates the right conditions for mold. Condensation collects when a lot of moisture exists in the air. High humidity can make condensation even worse, and by extension, the conditions for mold growth even better.
- Flooding: Likewise, flooding often leads to mold. Even if the flood occurred a while ago, you might have mold that grew undetected and is just now showing itself.
If any of these issues exist in your apartment, you should start addressing them with your landlord right away.
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What To Do If You Have Mold In Apartment
Mold emits musty odours, which are caused by microbial volatile organic compounds emitted by the mold spores. These fumes are especially strong and prominent in small spaces such as apartments.
Besides health hazards and odours, the appearance of mold can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your apartment, as it damages walls, ceilings, furniture and upholstery.
For smaller contaminated areas, you can clean them using vinegar and water, but make sure to dry them thoroughly afterward.
In many cases, tackling mold and mildew should be left entirely to the professionals. Its important that the job is done right the first time, to ensure a proper and safe remediation.
If you suspect theres an issue with mold or mildew in your apartment, contact your landlord immediately and request professional mold remediation.
How Do I Check For Mold In My Apartment
There are several ways to do a quick check, both physically of the apartment, and of your own body, to see if you potentially have a mold problem.
The first and most common sign is if there is a smell. Like a strong, musty smell as if your apartment smells more like a swimming pool that has just been drained than a clean place to live. Smell is going to be a primary way to determine if you have mold in your apartment or not. In fact, many of the professional restoration services will trust their nose first and foremost when they walk into a new job simply because they have been around the mold so much, they know what it smells like straight away.
The next thing to look for is any discoloration on your walls or floor. You are looking for spots that either look like they currently have mold, which would show as black or brown or green spots, or it may just look like a bad water stain on the floor or wall. This is going to be the telltale sign that there had been significant water present in the past and mold could be hiding behind wherever you see the discoloration.
If there is mold behind the wall or ceiling and all they do is patch the hole, that mold is going to stay present in your apartment, continue to grow, and spread the spores airborne to other parts of your unit. Basically, just patching the weak or discolored spot isnt going to take care of the problem, you need to have them treat your apartment for mold.
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Your Tenants Have Allergy
Some molds, like black mold, produce mycotoxins, which can cause health problems in some people. While there is still much to be learned about the health effects of mold, researchers have found a link between indoor mold exposure and the following symptoms:
- Upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people
- Asthma symptoms in people with asthma
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in people with that condition
- Development of asthma in young children
Mold may be present if your renters are complaining of hay-fever-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, rash, shortness of breath, or irritated eyes, skin, throat, or nose. Remember not everyone will exhibit these symptomsdont take the lack of these symptoms to be a sign that your property doesnt have a mold problem.
What Can I Do If My Landlord Wont Fix Mold Problem
Before taking any action against your landlord, make sure to check your lease agreement for how to deal with mold. If the landlord has clearly broken the terms of the lease agreement, specifically when it comes to fixing the mold problem, the tenant may pursue further action. For example, you can consider reporting black mold to health department or other local agencies. Your city or county can then contact the landlord and have them fix the mold issue.
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Tips For Finding Possible Causes
Inspect the outside of your house at least once a year to make sure that everything is in good condition:
- Joint seals
- Drains, etc.
Regularly maintain your house and conduct a complete inspection of all rooms at least once a year. This will enable you to detect traces of water infiltration and mould:
- Behind furniture
- In closets and storage spaces
- In the basement, etc.
How To Deal With Mold Growth In Your Apartment
What do you do when your apartment has mold? Many people do not know where to start or how best to handle it other than reporting it to their landlord. However, if the apartment is yours, still, you may have no idea what to do to solve the mold problem. Others call in the mold remediation companies or decide to deal with the issue themselves. Sometimes, temperate climates make most apartments damp, and hence they are prone to mold. However, this is not the only reason you may have mold in your apartment, as major leaks that have not been fixed can lead to mold growth and spread. Plus, if you experience unexplained health issues like headaches, asthma, difficulty in breathing especially when you are in your apartment, it is time to take action. In this article, you will learn of various ways to deal with mold growth in your apartment.
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Liability For Toxic Mold In Texas
If you have health problems caused by mold on a Texas property you are leasing, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord or property manager.
It is their responsibility to keep the property in habitable shape and to protect the tenants physical health and safety, as noted before, in Texas. As such, any problems associated with the building would be their problem to handle.
Also, if you just purchased a new home in Texas and toxic mold becomes obvious, the previous owner could be held liable for losses. If the previous owners knew about the mold problem, they were legally obligated to disclose this information to potential buyers.
Just like they were obligated to tell you about a leaky roof, they had to tell you about the black mold if they knew about it.
What To Do Once Mold Has Been Identified
Once a tenant has followed the proper protocol of how to test for mold and believes that they have identified mold within their apartment, they need to take the proper steps to get it removed.
This usually involves contacting the landlord so that they may hire the appropriate services to come in and remove it.
Depending on how extensive the damage is from the mold, this could be a fairly lengthy and expensive process.
That is why a tenant should be doing everything they can to try and prevent mold as soon as they move in anywhere. Letting mold faster in their apartment is a good way to end up losing their damage deposit.
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Whether you need to rent them for a month or a year, Blueground has a vast option of fully furnished apartments in many cities throughout the world.
From Boston to Istanbul, all of the modern apartments come with optional weekly cleaning. Through scheduled cleanings and deep cleans between tenants, Bluegrounds professional cleaners can spot and prevent mold in its tracks.
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Can Mold Spread From One Apartment To Another
Unlike houses, apartments are not usually self-contained living environments. Apartments exist as interconnected units with common ventilation and plumbing systems.
As a result, if one apartment has a mold and mildew problem, it can easily spread to other apartments through the air in HVAC systems.
This means that even if you remove mold from your apartment, it could still come back if other apartments in the building remain contaminated. In addition, its very difficult to find the source of the contamination especially if you dont have the help of a professional mold inspector.
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Only 8% of living rooms we have tested didnt have presence of mold?! Find out more exciting mold stats and facts inside our mold statistics page.
How To Test For Mold
You probably dont need to do mold testing or buy a mold test kit, especially if the fungus is visible. Because the health effects of mold vary from person to person, the CDC says that if you can see it or smell it, it should be removed, no matter what type of mold is in your home.
While its not possible to completely eliminate mold in your house, you can prevent a build-up by cleaning up any wet or damp spots and fixing any existing water leaks.
Neither the CDC nor the EPA recommends doing routine mold samplingsboth organizations point out that there are no federal limits for mold in buildings, so people cant check their apartment complexs compliance with the law, for example. Plus, the testing can be expensive.
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