Frankie Pendergraph PP Mold and Mildew Sept 2012

Mold and Mildew
What you need to know
to protect your property
Housing Works
2012 NC Affordable Housing Conference
September 27, 2012
Mold, the new four letter word
Mildew vs Mold
• Mold and Mildew are both types of fungi
• Typically mold is black or green and more varied in
color, and mildew is grey or white
• Mold and mildew both spread from spores and both
exist everywhere in nature
• Mold typically grows on a food source and mildew
typically grows on damp surfaces such as bathroom
walls, leather and fabrics
• Neither will grow without a high level of moisture
• Mildew has a flat growth pattern, and mold has more
of a fuzzy growth pattern
Mildew vs Mold (cont)
• Mildew many times left untreated can turn
into mold if the food source and the water
source are not addressed
• Both can cause some possible allergic
reactions in individuals that are susceptible to
• Both are preventable by keeping your home
moisture free
Mildew vs Mold (cont)
• Many times people think that they have mold
when they actually have mildew
• Mildew is normally a precursor to mold
• If you see a grey, ashy substance that you can
brush with your hand, and the relative humidity
in the unit is high, and there are no water leaks,
chances are it is mildew.
• Many times residents move furniture that has
been stored or has gotten wet when moving and
it only takes mildew or mold 24-48 hours to grow.
Mildew on Leather Couch
Mildew on Wood Table
Mildew in Closet
How does Mold grow?
• Mold needs 5 basic ingredients in order to grow:
1. Food source
2. Air
3. Surface to grow on
4. Suitable temperature (between 40-100
degrees fahrenheit)
5. Moisture
• If any of these ingredients are removed, the
growth will stop; however, the easiest one to
control is moisture
Food Sources
• Any substance that contains carbon atoms
(organic substance) will provide sufficient
nutrients to support mold growth
• Even the oil from your skin when transferred to
an unsuitable surface is enough to support the
growth of some molds
• Trying to eliminate the food source is virtually
• However, trying to keep things clean will make
mold less likely to grow
• We know that mold spreads by spores and
they are literally everywhere
• It is impossible to eliminate the spores
• We all need air to live, so we cannot eliminate
the air itself
• However, we can improve air flow that will
help reduce the growth of mold and mildew
Over-stuffed Closet
Surface to grow on
• It is impossible to eliminate the unlimited
number of surfaces that mold can grow on.
• Your best bet here is to keep the surfaces
clean which will help reduce the spreading of
the mold
• It is also important to keep surfaces free of
moisture, leaks etc…
Suitable Temperature
• Mold will grow in cold temperatures as
evidenced by seeing that orange in your
refrigerator that has mold on it, and will grow
in hot temperatures.
• It is impossible to set the temperature at a
level at which mold will not grow
• Mold likes the temperatures that we like
• So you see that the easiest thing to control, of
the five necessary items, is moisture
• First, check for any leaks in plumbing, roofs,
foundations, windows, building envelope,
HVAC system etc…
• Check for the relative humidity within the unit
that is normally caused by tenant lifestyle
• Identify how to reduce condensation and
relative humidity within unit
Dew Point
• Dew point indicates the amount of moisture in
the air
• The higher the dew point, the higher the
moisture content in the air at a given
• The dew point temperature is the
temperature at which the air would have to
cool in order to reach saturation (the point at
which the air can hold no more water vapor)
• When dew point temp = air temp, air is
• Dew point temp is never greater than air temp
• As air cools, moisture is removed from the air
through condensation
• This results in the formation of tiny water
droplets that you see as fog, frost, clouds or
Window – Outside Condensation
Relative Humidity
• Relative humidity (RH) is when the air
temperature and dew point temperature are
very close. The air has a high relative
humidity . Condensation has not yet started.
• Ideal relative humidity for no mold growth is
50%. When RH rises above 50%,
condensation is increasing and moisture is
increasing making it a perfect condition for
mold growth.
Relative Humidity (cont)
Hot spots, cold spots
Closets, exterior walls
Slabs, construction material
Leaks around electric plugs, cracks in walls
Poor air circulation
Window - Inside
Cold Spots
Door Leaks
Construction Materials
• It can take 2-4 years for the moisture to
completely dry out of your concrete slab and
your construction materials. This is called the
“moisture of construction.”
• Weather conditions during construction can
have an impact on moisture levels
• Installation of wet materials
• Slope, drainage
Indoor Sources of Moisture
• People, Plants, Pets, Cooking and Bathing
• The average person produces 2.6 pints of
moisture per day just by breathing and
• 5-7 plants release 1 pint per day
• A shower releases 0.3 pints per minute (12
pints for a 10 minute shower by 4 people)
• Cooking releases 5 pints per day for a family of
Water Leak
Indoor Sources (cont)
• Indoor line drying of clothes creates 4-6 pints per
The primary method of controlling growth of mold
is to avoid high humidity and surface condensation
and keeping the relative humidity below 50%. You
can see this will be a challenge with the amount of
moisture generated by our residents on a daily basis
and our energy efficient construction.
• It is important for everyone to know how
mold grows and how their buildings are built.
• Mold Addendums
• Transfer from Construction to Management
• Dehumidifiers, Air Conditioning
• Management Identification of Mold
Staff Education
• Do not freak when someone cries “Mold”. Management
should have a written mold procedure for staff to follow.
• Write up the Work Order and address it immediately
• Try to locate the water source and take pictures of the unit
• Get air quality test if necessary and remove the mold.
• If no water leak, need to explain to the tenant that the
problem is the RH based on their living conditions. Explain
to them how to correct and put everything in writing.
Make sure you have a Mold Addendum to your lease.
Explain to them that it is their responsibility to clean up the
mold. You may have to start eviction procedures.
If mold is created due to a problem with the
building or neglect by the landlord, then it is the
landlord’s responsibility. If the mold is due to
the tenant’s living conditions or the tenant’s
neglect, it is the tenant’s responsibility. It is the
tenant’s responsibility to immediately notify the
landlord of the existence of mold or any other
problem within the unit.
Mold Addendums
• I would highly recommend that you use one
• You can find various examples online
• Make sure it does not conflict with your lease
or regulatory agency
• I would recommend getting it signed every
• I would recommend your leasing agent going
over it in detail with the tenant
Why do we have the problem now?
New Building Standards
Reduced breathability of buildings
Soil conditions
“Energy Efficiency”
Air Conditioning
More pollution, toxins
More frequent litigation
Information more easily accessible
• Most commercial policies do not cover mold
• Different treatment for mold caused by
building problems versus tenant problems
• Tenants should have renters insurance to
cover their personal property. Commercial
policies do not cover tenant’s personal
If the landlord responds to the tenant complaint,
corrects any problem related to the building,
documents everything in writing and with pictures,
then ultimately the landlord will be okay. If the
problem is caused by the tenant and the tenant’s
living conditions you must document, explain to the
tenant what is causing the problem. It is always
good to have the mold addendum. Do not be afraid
to evict. Even after you do all of this, it does not
mean that you will not incur legal fees and
expenses to defend a tenant lawsuit.
Other things to prevent mold
Keep the premises clean, regularly dust and vacuum
Use hood vent when cooking
Don’t pile up dishes in the sink and counters
Avoid excessive amounts of indoor plants
Use exhaust fans when bathing and showering
Use ceiling fans for air circulation
Avoid air drying clothes
Wipe down windows when condensation is seen and
open windows to allow air pressure to equalize
Other things to prevent mold
Open blinds and curtains to allow light in the premises
Wipe up spills on floors and counters immediately
Make sure shower curtain is inside the tub or shower
Remove all garbage and do not leave exposed food laying
Check washer hoses for leaks
Notify landlord of any leaks related to the sinks, air
conditioning, roofs
Notify landlord of missing grout or tile
Notify landlord of musty odors
Move furniture away from the walls for air circulation and
do not cram closets full of stuff, leave door cracked
Raise the window
• A hygrometer is a device that measures the
relative humidity within an area.
• They can be purchased at Home Depot,
Lowes, Radio Shack and various other places.
• They are inexpensive.
• A good tool for all sites to have.
• Wet carpet, if not dried within 48 hours,
should be thrown away
• Anything that has raw sewage spilled on it
should be thrown away immediately
• Install a dehumidifier
• Throw away all moldy materials that cannot
be cleaned
• Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces
Cleanup (cont)
• If the mold is in an area less than 10 square feet,
then you should be able to handle it yourself.
• May want to wear an N-95 Respirator available at
hardware stores ($12 - $25)
• Wear long gloves and goggles
• If biocides are used, make sure area is ventilated.
Never mix choline bleach with other cleaning
solutions or detergents that contain ammonia
because toxic fumes can be produced
Cleanup (cont)
• Clothing and linens – wash with strong detergent
or dry-clean
• Dishes – wash in dishwasher or hand wash with
detergent in hot water
• Leather items – wet-wipe with leather cleaner
• Porous personal items – dry-wipe with an
electrostatic cloth and HEPA vacuum
• Non-Porous personal items – wet-wipe with a
clean cloth, spritz with alcohol or disposable
antibacterial wipes.
Cleanup (cont)
• Hard furniture items – wet-wipe with a clean
cloth, spritz with alcohol or disposable
antibacterial wipes
• Soft furniture items – HEPA vacuum
thoroughly, follow with a chem-dry treatment
then HEPA vacuum again

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