Summer homes are thought to be a source of joy and relaxation, providing cherished memories of warm summer days spent by the sea. However, an uninvited guest may be silently infiltrating your home, threatening to harm its idyllic atmosphere – MOLD
Follow Deb Gordon of Gordon Mycology Laboratory, Inc. (GML) as she recounts a summer vacation house inspection.
The owner of a summer house near the ocean contacted GML to discuss the chronic problem he has with mold growth on belongings and building materials in the house. He described how he has to regularly throw out bedding, towels, and other fabric items as they take on the strong mold odor of the house, some even visibly growing mold. The homeowner needed to understand the reason for the recurring mold and solutions that would prevent it from further damaging the beautiful home.
When Deb arrived at the house, the first thing that greeted her was the unmistakable pungent odor of mold. She knew she had her work cut out for her but was determined to tackle the issue head-on. Aware of the potential health risks, Deb ventured into the house wearing tightly fitting respiratory protection.
The inspection started in the basement, and there it was – mold growth lining the walls, thriving in the presence of chronically high humidity. Deb identified signs of water intrusion near the main waste pipe exiting the foundation and a sump pump that just couldn’t keep up with the amount of water continually coming into the basement during rainstorms. Water collecting at the foundation and pushing into the basement had created the perfect environment for mold to grow.
The humidity level in the basement was elevated, reaching 62.2%. The small dehumidifier was running continuously during the inspection but still could not keep the humidity down to an acceptable level. Addressing the chronic humidity issue would be essential for a long-term mold-prevention solution for the basement and living spaces above.
Moving upstairs to the first and second floors, Deb discovered mold growth on walls, ceilings, doors, beds, books, cabinets, furniture, and so many more surfaces throughout each room. The silent invasion of mold spreading throughout the house was overwhelming. Chronic humidity in a house only occupied for a few months of the year had created ideal conditions for mold to thrive and become unmanageable for the homeowner. It was disheartening to see how the beloved summer home had become marred by this uninvited guest.
After a thorough inspection, Deb delivered the unsettling news to the homeowner – the entire home was classified as a Condition 3 Environment, indicating the presence of active mold growth and spores throughout. The expertise of a specialized mold remediation company would be required to effectively tackle the problem safely and completely.
The owner, understandably concerned for the well-being of his family and future guests as well as the house that had been in the family for generations, promptly engaged a reputable mold remediation company experienced in containing and decontaminating affected areas. Many personal belongings and pieces of furniture needed to be discarded as they were beyond cleaning at that point. These included mattresses, pillows, books, boardgames, curtains, linens, etc. The rest of the house took several weeks to remediate effectively due to the widespread nature of the mold contamination.
The homeowner witnessed the transformation of the summer house. Mold was no longer visible and the odor gradually dissipated. With the moisture sources resolved, the once-threatened summer home stood tall and proud, ready to welcome back its inhabitants.
In conclusion, today’s inspection serves as a reminder of the important role GML plays in preserving the health, charm, and sanctity of cherished vacation homes. We were able to help the family reclaim their summer home, ensuring a healthier and safer environment for its occupants. We are grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact and contribute to the well-being of our clients and their properties. We will continue to be dedicated in our efforts to educate homeowners in order to protect the joy and relaxation that summer homes are meant to provide.
Until the next inspection,
Deb Gordon, Microbiologist
Gordon Mycology Laboratory, Inc.