Eliminate Dangerous Mold and Dampness in Multifamily Dwellings
Mold is a common fungus that grows quickly and freely in warm, moist environments. In any residence, steps can be taken to control mold and dampness, significantly reducing the amount of mold growing in the environment. The following brief introduction can help owners and managers of multifamily dwellings understand mold growth and what can be done to reduce its effects on tenants.
The Nature of Mold
Mold can grow on any surface when conditions are right — warm, damp, humid settings, either indoors or out are ideal. You may most commonly see mold growing on food, but other types of mold can grow in areas that are frequently warm and moist, such as basements, bathrooms and kitchens. Mold can spread by producing spores that float through the air and land on other surfaces. These spores can enter your home through open doors or windows, as well as your vents and HVAC system. They can also attach themselves to your clothing or your pets and enter you home undetected.
Mold spores are surprisingly tough and can survive in dry conditions. Once they receive the right amount of heat and moisture, mold can spring to life and flourish. Health Effects of Mold Mold and mold spores are a major contributor to reduced indoor air quality, and can have significant effects on your health. Not everyone is overly sensitive to mold, but those who are allergic can experience significant discomfort and potentially harmful reactions. Even individuals who are not allergic to mold can sometimes feel adverse effects in their respiratory systems. Common health effects of mold include:
- Breathing troubles, such as wheezing
- Nasal congestion
- Eye irritation
Skin irritation People with allergies, or who have been exposed to large amounts of mold, may develop more severe symptoms, which include fever and shortness of breath. People with existing respiratory conditions are especially susceptible to the effects of mold and may be endangered by exposure.
Controlling Mold and Dampness in Multifamily Dwellings
You can’t control the behavior of every person in a multifamily dwelling. Some tenants may encourage conditions that lead to mold growth. However, as an owner or manager, there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of mold and dampness present throughout a multifamily residential structure.
Ensure tenants are aware of the dangers of mold: Make sure to inform tenants about the hazards of mold and request their assistance with keeping mold levels down. You can include a section on mold in tenant handbooks or handout sheets, and ask tenants to practice mold control by cleaning up spilled liquids, running ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens and removing any mold findings.
Clean up floods, leaks and spills immediately: If any accidents involving water occur, make sure the water is cleaned up and that the area is dried out as quickly as possible. Wet carpet may need to be replaced, and damp furniture should be removed. Standing water should be mopped up or removed with a wet vac, and wet papers and books should be discarded. Also, make sure to clean hard surfaces, such as countertops and floors, with hot water and a mold cleaner or detergent.
Fix sources of water leaks: Fix any water leaks that may be present in your building, including roofs and ceilings, plumbing pipes, kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, water heaters and other devices. The fewer sources of excess moisture there are in your building, the less likely mold will develop in damp conditions.
Keep humidity under control: Indoor humidity levels should be kept at 50 percent or lower to restrict the growth of mold. It may be necessary to install dehumidifiers or ask tenants to practice humidity control.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on controlling mold and dampness in multifamily dwellings, or to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!