Author: Adam Debrowski
Mold is always around you. There are probably spores in the air you’re breathing right now. For most people, a few mold spores won’t pose a health risk. But, given a chance to grow, mold can quickly threaten the health of a home and the people living there.
Studies have linked mold exposure to various health issues, which often involve respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing. According to the CDC, mold can aggravate asthma, trigger allergies, and cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, a type of lung inflammation.
Human health aside, mold can also affect the well-being of pets and the home itself. Mold can grow on ceiling tiles, drywall, wood, and other materials, causing extensive damage over time.
It’s always best to address mold as soon as it’s discovered, no matter the type of mold or size of the problem. This is what you need to know about addressing mold issues in your apartment or rental home.
What Should You Do if You Think There’s Mold in Your Apartment?
Mold growth is usually easy to recognize, when you can see it. It can be white, black, green, gray, or yellow in appearance and give off a musty odor. It will form near water damage or places where moisture collects.
You can’t always see mold growing. Sometimes, the smell is the only sign.
A mold infestation will spread as far as conditions allow, so it’s best to tell your apartment building management or landlord as soon as you suspect a problem. That gives your landlord a chance to fix the problem before it gets worse.
Take note of a few things:
- The surface the suspected mold is growing on. Note whether it’s a hard surface (tile or glass) or a soft surface (carpet or upholstery).
- The spread of the suspected mold. How much space is it affecting?
- The color and odor of the suspected mold.
Take photos of the suspected mold for your records. If you can, try to determine the cause of the mold growth, such as a leaky pipe or lack of ventilation, but only if it’s easy to see. Don’t do anything that risks your health or damages the property.
Once you’ve gathered your findings, report them to your property manager or landlord.
Don’t wait to address a possible mold problem. If mold is present, it’s best to treat it quickly. Mold on hard surfaces can usually be cleaned, but soft surfaces usually need to be disposed of. More on that later.
What Causes Mold to Grow Indoors?
Microscopic mold spores are present in the air and aren’t visible to the naked eye. They can start growing within 12 to 48 hours after drifting onto a wet surface. This is why mold is most common in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens. It can also appear in places that always have a high humidity level.
“In our experience, most disagreements between tenants and landlords happen when the source of mold growth is a humidity issue,” says Eric Rajchel, CEO of Water Mold Fire Restoration. “Porous materials with organic nutrients absorb the excess moisture, allowing the penicillium aspergillus that’s naturally in the air to colonize.”
Mildew, a type of mold, likes to grow on hard surfaces. But it can also thrive on soft, damp surfaces, especially cellulose materials like paper, wallpaper, cardboard, and wood.
Leaks and flooding encourage mold growth too. That makes roofs, attics, windows, pipes, and basements easy targets.
“Keeping up on exterior maintenance issues is one of the most critical factors in preventing mold growth in a rental property,” says Tim Swackhammer, founder and CEO of Mold Medics Franchising. “Sagging gutters, broken downspouts, cracked caulk, and leaky windows are some of the most common sources of water intrusion into a home.
“When water enters the house from the exterior like this, it can take a long time before people notice anything inside the home. But when the walls are opened up, large amounts of mold growth can be hiding in the wall cavity,” Swackhammer says.
Read the full article here: Redfin