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Bedroom Mold Inspections

Below are recent mold inspections we’ve performed in Seattle.

Project Type > Mold Inspection in Nursery

PROJECT SUMMARY

REASON FOR INSPECTION:

  • Client recently purchased this home and found mold on a plaster wall in the nursery.  Environix hired to inspect the home for mold or moisture issues and provide recommendations where needed.

CAUSE OF MOLD:

  • Mold on the wall is caused from humid air condensing on the plaster during the winter months.

LABORATORY RESULTS

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The most likely contributor of the elevated mold spores is:

  • Elevated humidity during the winter months.

 JOBSITE PHOTOS

Light mold noted on plaster wall and baseboard in nursery

Light mold noted on plaster wall and baseboard in nursery

Light mold on plaster, client has recently cleaned

Light mold on plaster, client has recently cleaned

Normal moisture content in wall materials

Normal moisture content in wall materials

Wall joints and wall near baseboard are colder due to poor insulation

Wall joints and wall near baseboard are colder due to poor insulation

Light mold on shower surround caulking

Light mold on shower surround caulking

Failed grout on kitchen sink tile suround

Failed grout on kitchen sink tile surround

OBSERVATIONS

HVAC Observations:

  • The home is equipped with forced air gas heat.
  • No fresh air intake found on furnace system. Fresh air intakes can be very effective at lowering the interior RH in the home.
  • Electrostatic precipitator style filter installed on furnace. The effectiveness of these filters is highly dependent upon regular cleaning.  The buildup of dust on the plates will quickly reduce their filtration ability.  Additionally, some electrostatic precipitators are known to produce ozone, a potentially harmful gas.

Recommendations:

  • Consider converting the electrostatic precipitator filter to a 4” Merv 11 pleated filter in tightly sealed filter box. These filters provide excellent particulate filtration and are much more forgiving of irregular maintenance schedules.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY & CO2 READINGS:

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 LOCATION:  Hall Bathroom

Observations:

  • No bathroom fan. The windows in the home have been updated to double pane vinyl windows which do a great job at making the home more energy efficient but they also increase the need for interior ventilation.  During the winter months the home is likely becoming humid from poor ventilation allowing the air to condense on cold surfaces like exterior plaster walls.

SHOWER:

  • Several small areas of failed caulking in shower. This can lead to water infiltration and mold growth/wood rot in the wallboard and framing behind the shower surround.  However, because the potential mold growth would occur within the wall cavity, the issue has no effect on the indoor air quality.
  • Light mold growth observed on shower caulking.

Recommendations:

  • See ventilation section above for recommendations to eliminate condensation.
  • Re-caulk the shower surround.

LOCATION:  Attic

Observations:

  • Very light mold is present in this area. It is not enough to be of concern and appears to be inactive or dormant at this time.

LOCATION:  Nursery

Observations:

  • The nursery has double pane vinyl framed windows with no evidence of condensation or mold problems. The client notes the windows are newer. Installing double pane vinyl framed windows in a home makes it more airtight. This increases the need for ventilation.
  • Condensation-based mold was noted on an exterior walls. Newer windows combined with a high indoor relative humidity results in condensation occurring on cold surfaces, creating an environment for mold growth.
  • It is likely that a mattress was pushed against the walls where the mold growth is present, in the past. This traps air and prevents air movement around the contents of the room.

LOCATION:  Kitchen

Observations:

  • The grout on the sink surround is failing. This can lead to a water intrusion into the cabinets below the sink and contribute to future mold growth.
  • No exhaust fan is present in the kitchen. Normal kitchen activities such as cooking, boiling water, and washing dishes produce large quantities of humid air. This contributes to a high indoor relative humidity and creates an environment for mold growth.

LOCATION:  Basement

General Observations:

  • The basement is equipped with new carpeting in clean condition. No issues were noted under the carpeting.
  • The basement is equipped with vinyl framed wood framed windows with no evidence of condensation or mold problems.
  • The exposed ceiling in the laundry area has water staining present from a leak above. The leak has since been repaired and no issues remain with this area. The staining is cosmetic only.
  • The basement is partially sub-grade. It is possible that prior basement groundwater drainage issues have existed. Part of the carpet tack strip is brand new – this could indicate that it was replaced in areas due to deterioration from previous water leaks.
  • Carpet was pulled up in several areas along exterior walls. Dark tack strip was found in a couple areas indicating there may have been drainage issues. This causes water intrusion at the cold joint and can deteriorate the tack strip.

Recommendations:

  • Contact a qualified drainage contractor to assess the drainage in the home prior to the onset of the next rainy season.

Project Type > Bedroom Mold Assessment of Residential Home in the Seattle Area

PROJECT SUMMARY

REASON FOR INSPECTION:

  • Clients have noticed mold on several surfaces including their sons bedroom walls.  Environix hired to inspect the home for mold/moisture issues and provide recommendations where needed.

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION:

  • This single family residential property was built in 1942 and is 1,882 ft².

LABORATORY RESULTS

ANALYSIS OF YOUR RESULTS:

  • Moderate Amplification: Mold spores were detected at levels above the threshold, indicating a site of probable mold amplification and growth.

The most likely contributor of the elevated mold spores is:

  • Elevated humidity.

Recommendations:

  • Although your indoor mold spore count is elevated, the levels are not high enough to warrant professional remediation. By following the recommendations listed in the report and implementing regular cleaning, the mold spore levels should return to normal.

JOBSITE PHOTOS

Air sample collected in son’s bedroom

Air sample collected in son’s bedroom

Mold on exterior corner of son’s wall

Mold on exterior corner of son’s wall

Mold noted on drywall in son’s closet

Mold noted on drywall in son’s closet

IR camera shows lower temps on exterior walls in son’s bedroom where mold is growing.

IR camera shows lower temps on exterior walls in son’s bedroom where mold is growing.

High humidity is allowing air to condense on colder surfaces which leads to mold growth

High humidity is allowing air to condense on colder surfaces which leads to mold growth

Elevated moisture in flooring near toilet, possible toilet seal leak

Elevated moisture in flooring near toilet, possible toilet seal leak

Failed/missing grout on basement bathroom shower surround

Failed/missing grout on basement bathroom shower surround

Mold on window framing in master bedroom

Mold on window framing in master bedroom

Extremely dirty furnace filter with a poor fit

Extremely dirty furnace filter with a poor fit

OBSERVATIONS

Recommendations:

  • Ensure the home is heated to at least 65ºF during the cooler months to reduce indoor relative humidity levels and minimize potential for mold growth.
  • Prior to disturbing any of the building materials in the home, be sure to test for the presence of asbestos and lead based paint.

HVAC Observations:

  • The home is equipped with forced air gas heat.
  • Filtration consists of a 1” pleated filter, which appeared to be in dirty condition in a poorly fitting filter box. The filter is not installed properly and allows significant bypass to occur, nullifying the filtration effect of the media.
  • No fresh air intake found on furnace system. Fresh air intakes can be very effective at lowering the interior RH in the home.

Recommendations:

  • Install 4” Merv 11 pleated filter in tightly sealed filter box. These filters provide excellent particulate filtration and are much more forgiving of irregular maintenance schedules. Changing to a 4” filter will require you to hire a contractor to build a tightly fitting 4” filter box on your furnace.

RELATIVE HUMIDITY & TEMPERATURE READINGS:

CO2 READINGS:

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VENTILATION:

Observations:

  • Relative humidity levels are elevated. Generally, indoor RH levels should remain under 55% or under 50% in homes with poorly insulated exterior walls.
  • CO2 levels are elevated. While not a direct health problem, elevated CO2 levels are an indication of stale indoor air and poor ventilation.  This can lead to a buildup of pollutants and humidity, which can cause mold growth.
  • Home suffers from insufficient ventilation. This leads to a buildup of indoor pollutants and increases the relative humidity, creating conditions conducive to mold growth and dust mites.

LOCATION:  Upstairs Bathroom

Observations:

  • The bathroom fan is very loud. This discourages use to adequately exhaust the humid air generated by normal bathroom use.

CEILING & WALLS:

  • Light mold growth noted on bathroom ceiling. This occurs when the warm, moist air generated by shower usage interacts with the cool surface of the ceiling. Without adequate ventilation, this causes condensation and subsequent mold growth.

SHOWER:

  • Several small areas of failed grout or caulking in shower. This can lead to water infiltration and mold growth/wood rot in the wallboard and framing behind the shower surround.  However, because the potential mold growth would occur within the wall cavity, the issue has no effect on the indoor air quality.

FLOORING:

  • Elevated moisture detected in flooring adjacent to toilet. Often this is due to a slight failure of the toilet seal.  No evidence of significant structural damage was observed.

Recommendations:

  • See ventilation section above for recommendations to eliminate condensation.
  • Re-grout or re-caulk the shower surround.
  • Contact a plumbing contractor to investigate the toilet seal. Replace if necessary.

LOCATION:  Master Bathroom

Observations:

  • Elevated moisture detected in the shower surround.

CEILING & WALLS:

  • Moderate mold growth noted on bathroom wall. This occurs when the warm, moist air generated by shower usage interacts with the cool surface of the wall. Without adequate ventilation, this causes condensation and subsequent mold growth.

SHOWER:

  • Several small areas of failed grout in shower. This can lead to water infiltration and mold growth/wood rot in the wallboard and framing behind the shower surround.  However, because the potential mold growth would occur within the wall cavity, the issue has no effect on the indoor air quality.

FLOORING:

  • Mold discovered behind the baseboard trim on the wall near the toilet. This is likely the result of a small flood or spill that did not dry quickly.

Recommendations:

  • Re-grout the shower surround.

LOCATION:  Kitchen

Observations:

  • Light condensation-based mold observed on window and window frame. The kitchen window is double paned and vinyl framed. Warm humid air is coming in contact with the cold surface of the window and condensing – this leads to mold growth.

LOCATION:  Son’s Bedroom

Observations:

  • The bedroom has double paned vinyl framed windows with no evidence of condensation or mold growth. The upgraded windows were installed in the last couple of years. The newly installed double paned windows are sealing the home more efficiently. This has increased the need for better ventilation in the home. Because the upstairs bath fan is not working, humid air is collecting upstairs and condensing on cold poorly insulated walls.
  • IR camera shows low temps in exterior walls from poor insulation. Insulation dos not need to be added, instead increase ventilation and lower humidity.
  • Moderate condensation-based mold growth observed on the walls. Mold noted on exterior corner wall near the baseboard, and on growing on the baseboard trim. This is the result of condensation from high relative humidity in this room and cold exterior walls.
  • The baseboard trim was pulled back, revealing no mold growth behind the trim. This indicates that all issues with mold are on the surface, which is due to condensation issues.
  • Mold growth observed on exterior wall in closet. This is often due to limited air flow and insufficient heat.

Recommendations:

  • Keep contents and furniture a minimum of 2-3 inches away from exterior walls to help prevent mold growth on these surfaces.

LOCATION:  Laundry

Observations:

  • The laundry window is metal framed and has current evidence of light condensation and light mold growth.
  • The furnace is present in this room.
  • The dryer ducting is newly installed. However, the duct run is long with many bends.

Recommendations:

  • Ensure the dryer ducting is periodically checked for blockage due to its length and excessive bends.

LOCATION:  Master Bedroom

Observations:

  • Light condensation-based mold observed on window and window frame.