Excessive Mold in the House
LESLIE: Kenneth in Texas is dealing with a mold situation. What’s going on?KENNETH: Well, I’ve got an ex-wife – we bought a house, OK? And she’s got a mold problem on there where it’s got it growing almost like a foot high from the baseboard area in two of the bedrooms and in the other end of the house in the dining room area.TOM: (overlapping voices) Oh, no. Wow.KENNETH: And the problem is this isn’t – I’ve never seen a foundation like this. It’s not concrete slab foundation. It’s like concrete walls. Now it’s up off of the ground three foot …TOM: Right.KENNETH: … so I can go all the way underneath the house, all the way through, and everything is dry. So I don’t understand why she’s getting this moisture problem.TOM: Listen, if you have mold growth that goes up a foot on the walls inside the house, you’ve got a very serious problem.KENNETH: Yeah. (chuckles)TOM: That could be making anyone in that house extremely sick.LESLIE: Mm-hmm.TOM: It could make it almost impossible to sell the house. If it’s that severe of a problem, Ken, you really need to get a mold specialist in there.Now, I would advise you to be careful about who you choose; to make sure you have someone that’s very reputable, that’s not going to scare you and really knows what they’re doing. To find one, I might suggest that you start with finding a home inspector that’s a certified member of the American Society of Home Inspectors. Call around to those guys. You can go to their website at ASHI.org and put in your zip code; get a list of inspectors in the area. Call around. If they do mold inspections, fine; if they don’t, ask if they would refer you to someone that does and if you get two or three guys that refer you to the same guy, then you know you’ve found your man.KENNETH: OK.TOM: But you need an expert in here because we’ve got to do this right. If it’s done wrong, you could contaminate the house, make the mold problem worse and make it even expensive to fix.In terms of why the mold is happening, where the humidity source is, where the leak is; I mean concrete is very porous and so, if you have a moisture source, it can draw up and get into the walls. Not sure why but I know that if you’ve got mold 12 inches up an inside wall, that’s a serious problem. We’re not talking about small spots here. It can really be quite infectious. So you need to get to the bottom of it and you need to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. OK, Ken?KENNETH: Do you think this kind of foundation could be part of the problem?TOM: It’s possible, you know? But once mold gets going, it needs – you know it needs three things to live: it needs moisture; it needs food; and it needs air.KENNETH: Right.TOM: So if you can cut back on the moisture, you can cut back on the mold. But in this situation, it sounds like it’s gotten quite severe. So I’m not going to speculate now on what’s causing it but I will tell you if it’s that bad, you need to get an expert.KENNETH: I’ll get one. I’ll try what you were talking about on the website there.TOM: Alright, Ken.KENNETH: Because I’m not finding any moisture anywhere. That’s what’s throwing me about it.TOM: Well, get the expert in there; let’s see what’s going on. But you’ve got mold 12 inches up a wall, that’s a pretty big deal.Ken, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.