Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What Causes Mold In Apartments

Keep Humidity Levels In Check

Residents angered with mold in apartment complex

Mold grows quickly in moist environments, so it would be wise to keep the humidity levels in your apartment low. The ideal range for humidity levels in apartment is somewhere between 30% and 50%. If you feel that your apartment is too humid, you should take some precautions to make the air drier.

A great device to have in your apartment is a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers suck up the moist air around your unit, and remove the moisture its carrying. The clean air is then blown back out, leaving you with a less humid apartment. You just need to clean out the moisture from time to time to make sure the device operates properly.

You can also lower humidity levels by taking shorter showers each day. If you are up for it, try using colder water when you shower as well. Doing this will in the process.

What To Do As A Homeowner If You Find Mold In Your Apartment

If you own your apartment, it may be on you to pay to have your unit tested for mold, and if the problem stems from your unit , you may have to pay for mold remediation yourself. On the other hand, if that mold growth didn’t originate within your unit, but rather, traveled in the form of airborne spores, then there may be a problem that needs to be addressed at the building level. At that point, your homeowners association or co-op board will need to address the issue at hand.

Difference Between Mold And Mildew

When it comes to testing for mold infestation, it is important that you know the difference between mold and mildew.

Both of them are an unpleasant sight in a building, but mold is likely to cause more damage than mildew.

Mildew is a fungus that is often grey and powdery in appearance. You can easily clean the fungus using a household cleaner or elbow grease.

Mold on the other hand has a fuzzy appearance and comes in different colors such as orange, green, black, brown, yellow, purple, pink, or white.

Unlike mildew, mold grows inside the material that is why getting rid of a mold infestation is difficult and costly.

It requires the removal of the infected portion of the floor or wall with a new one.

Dealing with mold infestation promptly will reduce the risk to the health, and also reduce the extent of damage to the property.

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Stopping The Spread Of Mold In Florida Apartments

Mold is something no apartment renter enjoys dealing with. This obnoxious fungus can grow just about anywhere, and in humid states like Florida it can be a huge problem. Mold can create serious health issues if its left unchecked, so you have to get rid of it as soon as possible. You also need to take precautions to prevent the mold from growing back.

Read through this guide, and gain the knowledge you need to keep mold at bay.

Feel free to so you can clean other parts of your unit.

Common Moisture Sources Causing Mold In Apartment Buildings

Musty Odor in Apartment

Mold spores can begin to form and reproduce within just a few days, given the right conditions. This involves water or a moisture source, oxygen, and temperature control. Mold typically grows best in dark spaces, such as inside cabinets, behind drywall, or in basements and attics.

There are many common living activity moisture sources often overlooked that can trigger mold growth, such as:

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Is It Safe To Sleep In Room With Mold

Because of the risks that come with mold exposure, it can be unsafe to sleep in a house with mold, particularly in the affected areas because you put yourself at risk of mold allergies. This becomes especially concerning if you are sensitive to the mold. When mold grows indoors, it can often be found in the bathroom.

How To Remove Black Mold From Your Apartment

If you decide not to use the services of a professional remediation company, you may be able to get rid of it on your own. Regular household bleach is effective in killing and getting rid of all kinds of fungus.

You may find it best, however, to dilute and spray the bleach on the affected area and then use a sponge to scrub it away. You should wear eye goggles, gloves and even a respirator mask to avoid coming into contact with the spores.

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Mold Is Extremely Dangerous To Tenants Health

Mold grows best in dark, damp areas. So, it will often grow in crawl spaces, in bathrooms, under the kitchen sink, or even in HVAC systems. Mold produces spores, which can be released into the air. If a person breathes in this air repeatedly, the toxins will enter their bloodstream and cause health problems. Some types of mold are toxic and prolonged exposure to them can cause severe health problems or even death.

Now, not all types of mold are detrimental to a persons health. About 25% of people will have an allergic reaction to mold, with symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and congestion. These are called Allergenic molds and they can also trigger asthma attacks.

Pathogenic molds may cause some types of infections or diseases. People with weakened immune systems are often more susceptible to these issues. Typically, most people with pathogenic mold-related sickness are children, the elderly, or people with underlying health conditions.

Toxic molds are poisonous and can cause severe health problems or even death if ingested through the air or even by touch. Here are the most common types of toxic mold:

Unfortunately, tenants may not realize that mold in their apartment is the root cause of their health troubles until it is too late. And at that point, the tenants will likely point the blame at their landlords.

Laundry Rooms In The Basement

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There is a shared laundry room or washing facility in the basement of several buildings, which is fine. However, whats also frequent are basement storage rooms containing cellulose-based boxes and other materials, which mold loves to grow on.

Mold can form in any basement due to the humidity caused by the laundry.

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Pointing And Building Exteriors

Another way water seeps through is pointing, or the concrete mortar surrounding bricks and windows, typical in older apartment buildings. Rainwater can penetrate the structure from the side and become trapped in the outside walls due to deteriorated building components.

Mold develops from there, and by the time you notice something on your apartment wall, you can bet theres a lot more on the other side.

Why Dehumidifier Size Matters

Using a dehumidifier for homes is the most reliable way to ensure appropriate levels of relative humidity are always maintained inside apartments.

Whole-house dehumidifiers are appropriately sized for larger, single-family dwellings. While they will adequately remove moisture from apartments, common complaints include excessive noise and heat displacement as well as lack of operational control. If a tenant elects not to operate the air conditioner unit, they are unlikely to operate a dehumidifier. Whole house units are also controlled by a wall-mounted humidistat, similar to a thermostat. Additionally, whole-house dehumidifiers are installed in conjunction with the existing HVAC air handler which requires integration into the mechanical system. Installation of these systems requires a licensed HVAC technician.

Portable dehumidifiersmay be less costly, but present other types of challenges when attempting to remove humidity inside apartments. They are inconvenient, often require manual emptying, and also rely on tenantcooperation to operate. Is relying on tenants to properly maintain a portable unit worth the risk? In many situations, it is impractical to expect tenants to effectively operate dehumidifiers. The complaints from tenants in regard to portable dehumidifiers range from being too loud, releasing hot air into the apartment, safety hazards, and even the nuisance of remembering to empty the tank.

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Where Mold Is Found

Mold comes in various colors and shapes. The villainswith names like stachybotrys, penicillium, aspergilus, paecilomyces, and fusariumare black, white, green, or gray. Some are powdery, others shiny. Some molds look and smell disgusting others are barely seenhidden between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics.

Mold often grows on water-soaked materials, such as wall paneling, paint, fabric, ceiling tiles, newspapers, or cardboard boxes. Humidity sets up prime growing conditions for mold. Buildings in naturally humid climates of Texas, California, and the Southern U.S. have experienced more mold problems than residences in drier climates. But whatever the climate, mold can grow as long as moisture is present.

What Happens If There Is Mold In The Apartment

Landlord fails to help mother and asthmatic son living in ...

Not all mold growth needs to be a cause of major concern. Some studies estimate that nearly 100% of homes in the US have some amount of mold growing inside. So, having mold in an apartment isnt necessarily bad unless it is toxic or harmful. However, it can cause issues for people with mold sensitivities or allergies.

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What To Do As A Renter If You Find Mold In Your Apartment

If you uncover a small mold problem in your apartment, you may be able to tackle it yourself. For example, if you see a small cluster of black spots in a specific part of your home — a cabinet that a sink flows into, or a certain part of your wall — then you may be able to scrub it off with soap and water or a bleach solution .

But if the issue is more widespread, you’ll need to loop in your landlord — especially if the source of your mold problem isn’t obvious, or if you’re not seeing signs of mold, but rather, are experiencing the health issues that come with an infestation.

It’s a good idea to inform your landlord of your mold issue in writing. That way, if your landlord drags his or her feet, you’ll have evidence in support of further action you might need to take if the problem goes unaddressed for too long, like withholding rent or even breaking your lease.

At that point, your landlord should bring in a company to do some mold testing. If a mold problem is confirmed, and its source isn’t something attributable to your actions , then your landlord should pay for whatever mold remediation is needed. Your landlord should also take steps to prevent mold from coming back, whether it’s addressing a leak in your building’s roof, repointing its bricks, or addressing issues with the building’s HVAC system that result in excess moisture.

Is Mold The Landlords Responsibility

There aren’t many laws that specifically govern a landlord’s responsibility when it comes to mold in rentals.

Some property managers require renters to sign a separate waiver or document related to mold on the premises when they move in. Make sure you review it along with your lease agreement to get a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities.

Even though there aren’t many mold-specific laws in the books, in most states your property manager is legally required to provide a habitable premises. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you determine who’s responsible.

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Condensation On Windows Window Frames And Sills

  • Promptly repair any leaks.
  • Lower the indoor moisture levels.
  • Use exhaust bathroom fans and a kitchen range hood.
  • Keep window coverings open to move the warm air over the windows .
  • Keep baseboards or heating vents clear of furniture to make sure the heat flows.
  • Dry your window frames and sills daily to keep water from dripping and causing mould to grow.
  • Leave interior doors open for good air and heat flow.
  • Unplug and remove humidifiers.

Can A Dishwasher Clean Mold Off My Dishes

Mold in city apartment makes residents sick

Technically, yes. The dishwasher can clean mold off your dishes. However, the real issue is why the mold is on your dishes in the first place. Was it because they were sitting in the sink for a long time? Or was it because there was a mold colony inside your dishwasher dispersing mold onto your dishes while they were being cleaned? This is the issue you would need to know to have a proper diagnosis.

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Living In An Apartment Building Comes With Perks But With So Many People Living In One Place Accidents Can Happen That Lead To Mold

Living in an apartment building comes with perks. But with so many people living in one place, accidents can happen that lead to mold contamination. For example, a toilet or bathtub overflow in one apartment, and the apartments below wind up with water damage, especially if the flood is not quickly contained. Or a rooftop pool can spring a slow leak that trickles down many stories, causing a major indoor mold infestation. Wet walls, ceilings and floors attract mold. And mold can cause serious structural damage, as well as health issues and allergies.

“The main issue in apartment buildings is that water travels downward,” says Robert Weitz, founder of RTK Environmental. “It will travel down through the floors to the ceilings and walls below. When that happens, you are at risk of developing a mold problem,” he explains.

All mold needs to grow is warmth, moisture and any organic surface . Under these conditions, mold begins to grow within 24-48 hours. Not only is mold destructive, but it is also bad for your health.

Is Mold Inside Your Dishwasher Dangerous

As with all mold and fungal types, some molds are dangerous while others are harmless and sometimes helpful to humans. The main thing to remember about molds inside your dishwasher is that you cannot tell if the mold is safe or dangerous. So, treat all mold types as if they are not good for you. Have a Mold Busters professional inspect and test the molds that are growing, so you are certain of what type of mold it is.

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Notify Your Property Manager Of Larger Problems

If the mold is the result of a moisture problem or water damage that you can’t control, it’s time to get your property manager involved. They should take the underlying problems that cause mold seriously and act quickly.

It can be helpful to take photos of the mold problem and present them to your property manager. Be sure to document any conversations you have for future reference. If the problem isn’t addressed, check with your state’s landlord-tenant resources for guidance. Additionally, if there’s existing or upcoming legislation related to mold it will be cited by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Broken Washing Machine Hose

Can I Sue If I Find Mold in My Apartment?

“We get a lot of these,” Gross says, squarely placing the blame on cheap rubber washing machine hoses. Those are the ones that break, as opposed to the less-than-$30 stainless-steel-wrapped hoses you can buy at Home Depot that almost never leak.”

Treatment: For minor damage, the removal of moldings and drilling of holes to promote air circulation and drying, for a cost of about $1,200-$5,000.

If mold has already set in, a full-scale remediation would entail removing the flooring and base moldings, cutting the sheetrock walls up two feet around the perimeter of the room, then treating as described below. Price: $8,000-$12,000.

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What Your Landlord Needs To Do

Your landlord may choose to hire a handyman or might clean it up on their own. Oftentimes, preventing further water from leaking or spilling, properly sealing barriers, and either removing, replacing, or bleaching the affected area will take care of the problem.

If there is mold growing on your personal property, you will have to talk to your landlord about that damage. Be prepared, though, that you may be responsible for replacing any personal items per your apartment rental agreement. If the item is expensive, you may send it a claim to your renters insurance company.

If there is black mold, your landlord will need to hire a professional mold removal service as it is extremely dangerous and must be handled in a specific way to prevent it from spreading.

Landlord Liability & Responsibility

Before leasing out to the tenant, the landlord should have conducted appropriate inspections and cleaning of the property. If a tenant reports mold to a landlord, the landlord is obligated to eradicate the problem.

However, prevention is preferred to a costly mold clean-up. Maintenance and repair requests made by tenants should be promptly responded to. Such requests also include cleaning air conditioning and clothes dryer ducts.

If such requests are grossly delayed in resolving or are ignored altogether, liability for resulting mold growth falls on the landlord.

As a landlord, make sure you delineate in the lease agreement if it is your tenants responsibility for mold maintenance, before considering issuing an eviction notice to them for a moldy buildup on the property.

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How You Can Prevent Mold Issues In Rental Properties

The absolute best way to avoid any legal issues with tenants regarding mold in apartment buildings is to have the unit thoroughly inspected. It is often impossible to find traces of mold with a simple visual test plus, it often grows in very hidden places.

A professional mold inspection service will collect samples from the carpet, walls, and even the air to check for any presence of mold spores. Inspectors take videos and photos and use state-of-the-art technology like thermal imaging and moisture testing devices. This helps them to pinpoint exactly where the mold is growing and what is causing the growth.

All of the mold samples are then sent to an Unbiased 3rd party AIHA Certified laboratory to determine the type of toxins. The comprehensive inspection and the laboratory results will allow the Hygienist to provide you with a written report that will outline the necessary scope of work that is needed to remediate the mold infestation. If elevated levels of toxic mold are present, proper remediation will be necessary to eradicate all traces of the mold.

It is highly recommended that all landlords schedule a thorough mold inspection for their units before a new tenant moves in. Additionally, an inspection should be scheduled within 24-48 hours after any water damage is reported, such as a pipe leak.

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