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Nine Common Sources of Mold in Apartment Buildings: Part One

Mold is a type of natural organism that is very common in all types of buildings. Mold loves to grow in places with mild temperatures with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks or where there has been flooding. It feeds on organic material, so wet paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, and fabric are all great homes for mold.

In apartment buildings or even smaller multifamily properties like duplexes, there are more people doing more activities that can create environments for mold growth. If you own or manage properties like this, it’s particularly important for you to be aware of the many spots that mold can grow, and how to get mold removal help that will protect both your occupants and your investment. 

At McMahon services, we are experts at water damage restoration, mold removal, and even reconstruction services. We have seen almost every type of mold damage that can occur, and in this two part series, we will outline the most common sources of mold in apartment buildings. This guide will help you stop problems before they start, as well as explaining what to do right away if you find mold at your property.

Mold Source One: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems 

No matter what type of HVAC systems your property has, they can create condensation. If your systems are not properly maintained, there can be leaks, drips and overall excessive moisture in damaging locations. Without enough airflow in the summer months, the air inside your building can also get hot and humid enough to contribute to mold growth. Conversely, a lack of heat in critical areas can cause pipes to freeze in the winter months. The expansion of frozen water can cause large or very small pipe ruptures, leading to leaks that can feed mold. 

Additionally, if you are dealing with a mold outbreak in one part of your building, dirty shared ductwork can allow mold spores to travel throughout the building.  

In the Chicagoland area, there are many beautiful vintage buildings that still use radiators for heat. Boilers, steam pipes, and old radiators can leak inside the basement, walls or ceilings, often causing water damage that goes unnoticed. Steam leaks in particular are often subtle while offering mold warmth and moisture to grow unnoticed.

Mold Source Two: Kitchens and Bathrooms 

Kitchens and bathrooms are the perfect environment for mold: Many water sources, warm temperatures, and organic materials. Lots of cooking or long, hot showers need to be paired with adequate ventilation. Exhaust fans that vent outdoors should be installed in kitchens and bathrooms: Regular use of these ventilation systems will prevent mold. 

Additionally, defective kitchen appliances and hot water heaters are common causes of mold in apartment buildings. Leaky refrigerators and dishwashers can go unnoticed due to hidden water lines. They can cause major problems, including invisible mold growth, in a short amount of time. 

Mold Source Three: Laundry Facilities

Whether your apartment building has a laundry room, individual in-unit machines, or both, these are areas that require extra attention. Even normal, safe use of these machines can release steam, humidity, and small spills. Dryers need to be securely vented to the outdoors, and washers need to be checked periodically for leaks. If your laundry room is in a basement, take extra precautions to make sure it does not get too humid.

Mold Source Four: Bad Renovations 

New paint, wallpaper, and drywall all require a clean, dry environment in order to be installed successfully. If precautions are not followed, mold can get trapped between layers, resulting in problems. Renovations that are rushed or just sloppy can also cause plumbing to be damaged by nails, screws, or blunt force, with damaging leaks to follow.

How To Find Expert Mold Removal Help in Illinois 

Because there are many common activities that can produce moisture (and therefore mold), there are many items on our list – so many that we had to break this article into two parts! This list included the first four problem areas that property owners need to look out for. Check out part two for the final five. 

Mold can be a scary situation for property owners and managers, so it’s important to be proactive. Performing annual inspections of all units, with extra care paid to the potential problems listed above, and having a strong relationship with a water damage restoration and mold removal contractor are two easy ways to get out ahead of this issue. 

If you are dealing with issues at your commercial or residential rental property, McMahon Services is here to help. We are experts at stopping and restoring the water damage, safely removing the mold, and even helping you reconstruct your property. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get back to business as usual.