Mold - or as we say in our office "organic growth" is something that always make us cringe when we hear that four-letter word. Especially if a tenant calls or submits a maintenance request with the word "mold" in it.
Organic Growth - Mold
Anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest knows that we live in a high moisture part of the world. We average 44" of rain a year. Did you know there are over 100,000 different species of mold? Most of them are not harmful to humans. Mold tends to grow where there is high moisture and poor air flow. This is why bathrooms are a high culprit for mold. Our last newsletter discussed bathroom exhaust fans - and the importance of having a humidity sensor.
Why You Need To Keep Reading
Mold that is not remediated (removed) from the property can pose a health hazard to your tenants. People who suffer from allergies, or have weak immune systems, or babies and elderly people can be especially sensitive to mold spores. While bathrooms can be the most common source of mold, we have found significant mold in some of our properties due to roof leaks or lack of maintenance, siding issues, old windows or leaky/drafty windows, and yes, tenants can cause mold problems as well by hoarding, too much furniture stacked next to a wall, high humidity in their units, or improper air flow.
How To Prevent "Organic Growth"
Mold CAN be prevented with regular maintenance and inspections of your property.
- Promptly fixing roof leaks is key to preventing organic growth from growing in your attic.
- Verify that your bathroom exhaust fan is properly terminated through the attic and roof space - and not exhausting directly into the attic. This is probably the number one cause of mold we find in attic spaces.
- Do you have water in your crawl space? Water will actually seep up the walls the same way a tree pulls up water from the ground for nourishment.
- Are your gutters being cleaned regularly? Clogged gutters and/or downspouts can lead to water being trapped against the siding, and it WILL seep through and cause mold.
Have you heard of the saying "Set it - and Forget It"? Schedule an annual maintenance plan with Alpine, your property manager. By scheduling regular maintenance, you will be proactive in protecting your investment and not reactive.
When you first glance at this and the one above picture, you might think this is fire damage. Nope - this is the damage that mold does to wood. This property had an undetected water leak and was only discovered when mold was starting to grow through the drywall. The studs and beams of this property were like jello. Due to the significant mold damage, the wood was basically crumbling in our hands.