When water damage occurs, it often leaves some telltale signs. However, with multifamily dwellings, those red flags can be a bit harder to spot. Property managers aren’t in the space full-time, so common signs of mold in an apartment—especially in carpets, which may be covered by tenants’ furniture and belongings—may be missed. That can lead to costly problems down the line so it’s best for owners to be well-versed in how to recognize and root out mold.
WHAT DOES MOLD NEED TO GROW?
- Moisture. High levels of moisture is the most common offender for causing mold – on hard surfaces as well as carpet. The underside of carpets can quickly become notoriously damp problem areas and an easy place for mold spores to populate if humidity, moisture, and dirt are not controlled.
- Organic Material. Given the proper conditions, mold spores can grow on any organic surface, including wood, cloth, food, and even under your carpets. Even though the signs of mold may not appear on the surface of your carpet, everything from food particles to dirt, hair, pet fur, and even bacteria under your shoes can sink down and be absorbed by the carpet backing. Bit by bit these particles can add to the risk for mold growth in and under your carpeting.
- Stagnant Air and Humidity. Multi-dwelling buildings must be properly air conditioned and ventilated to avoid stagnant air and high humidity in multiple rooms. Properly air conditioned rooms lower excessive humidity levels and prevent mold growth.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MAINTENANCE & INSPECTION
Be sure to quickly respond to your residents’ maintenance requests – it offers you a great opportunity to identify mold problems sooner. Unchecked or unreported leaky pipes, overflowing sinks or toilets, and broken AC units, can dramatically increase the humidity level in a home as moisture seeps into baseboards and under carpets so be sure to quickly respond to maintenance requests.
Preventative maintenance is just as important as fast and effective repair procedures. Property managers should inspect each unit in a multi-family dwelling approximately every six months. During routine inspections you can check pipes and air conditioning units for leaks, observe rooms with an unhealthy air quality, and check that mold is not starting to grow anywhere. Frequent deep cleaning in apartment common areas, hallways, and staircases will remove excessive dirt and bacteria and help you avoid costly mold removal and remediation in the future.
3 COMMON SIGNS OF MOLD
Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
- Stains. Mold stains are typically circular and either brown, green or black. They may quickly reappear after you try to clean them because regular surface cleaning is ineffective.
- Wet Areas. Is there condensation on the ceiling or walls? Are wood panels or drywall warped and perhaps discolored? This is one of the most common signs of mold in an apartment or condo. Where there is excess moisture, mold can inevitably follow.
- Rust. Condensation can cause rust to form on pipes, which could be a sign that there is too much moisture present. Also, check the carpet tack strip at doorframes and, if it appears rusty, that’s a major red flag that mold may have started to grow.
If you’re the manager of a multifamily dwelling, it’s important to do a thorough evaluation for carpet mold both before tenants move in and after they move out to ensure the property is clean — and will stay that way. Now that you know what to look out for, learn what are you supposed to do if you encounter any of these signs of mold in an apartment.
Working with a professional cleaning company is a must. Mold grows through spores, which you may spread as you attempt to clean without the right equipment or experience. It’s best to avoid topical cleaners purchased at a retail store and leave the work to the professionals. With five generations of experience in restoration services, the professionals at RestoreCore know the science behind mold growth and removal—and can give you the peace of mind you need to know your property can welcome residents home safely.
Contact RestoreCore at one of our four locations: Allentown, King of Prussia, and Harrisburg, PA or Edison, NJ.