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Pretty sure we have mold, what to do and who to call?

Posted by sblake (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 14, 06 at 14:56

We have been in our house for a year now. It is 35 years old. It is brick exterior. When we moved in, we discovered that the laundry room floor was rotten right under the pipes. The previous owners washing machine leaked. Well, ended up just putting down some plywood for the time being so we could put our W/D in there, because we were eventually going to replace all the flooring and would just do it all at one time. Well, we didn't realize, but the pipe had been leaking in the wall for a while, even with our W/D. We got the leak fixed and everything is fine. Then, last week, the weather got warm, and we noticed a moldy smell in our babies room. We had been running a Humidifier in there, so we took that out, and aired out the room really well, and that seemed to fix that problem.
But, then the laundry room started smelling.. BAD. It smells like mold. There is no sign of it though. Nothing growing on the walls or ceiling. The smell has now permeated through our entire downstairs.
Another problem I have noticed is upstairs on the front side of the house.. I saw condensation on the hardwood floors underneath the windows. The windows had not leaked, and it had not been raining. Where could this water have come from?
My question is.. What do we do now. Obviously, we have to rip out the subfloor in the laundry room.. Who do we call to fix the mold and the odor? Our house has always smelled musty, but I just figured it was because it's an old house..
Thanks,
Sara


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pretty sure we have mold, what to do and who to call?

How much moisture is in the house?
It sounds like your humidity is way too high.
Do you run a de-humidifier anywhere ?
the moisture on the hardwood is most likely caused by the window condensation running off the windows. If you have this much condensation on your windows you need to remove moisture from you house. This will also help with the must smell.
Before you get too upset I would look into this first.
If you have fixed the leak and reduce the moisture in your house this should get rid of the mold. Mold needs moisture to live.
Also, this may sound stupid but make sure that the smell isn't coming from your clothes washer basin. If you keep the lid closed after doing laundry this can make the washer stink because it never dries out. This happened to us and it STINKS really bad. I ran a hot water cycle with bleach to kill the bacteria and mold in the washer and now we leave the lid open all the time and haven't had a problem since.
-renee


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RE: Pretty sure we have mold, what to do and who to call?

Thanks for replying Renee,
I'm not sure about the moisture. How do we test for that? We used to run a dehumidifier upstairs, but it puts off so much heat, we quit using it.
As for the moisture on the hardwood, there was no condensation on the windows, it had not rained (we were in a drought)the a/c wasn't on.. I'm not sure about that one!
I have not noticed a smell from the washing machine. I will check it but I don't think that would be it. And, I will run a cycle to make sure..
Any other ideas, anyone?


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RE: Pretty sure we have mold, what to do and who to call?

I am not sure how moisture would get on the hardwood if it hadn't come from the window. The only other thing I could think of is that if your home was on a slab and the floor was really cold and the air was really humid that it could condense on the floor. I have never seen this happen though, but we have basements where I live. Also if that was happening I would also think you have way too much moisture in your house.
If you go to a garden supply shop or hardware places you can buy a humidity gauge. It is called a hygrometer.
However if you just tell the store clerk you want to measure the humidity in your home they should point you in the right direction.
-renee


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Thanks

Well, we're not built on a slab, but a crawl space.. and this was on the second floor. I'll get one of those meters and check out the humidity.

Thanks,
Sara


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RE: Pretty sure we have mold, what to do and who to call?

(1) get in crawlspace and pull down floor insulation so you can look at floor joists and subfloor (if you have insulation) - do this in areas underneath plumbing (toilets, laundry room, sink, refrig w/ icemaker); if you think you smell mold you need to find it and get rid of it
(2) consider an evaluation of your hvac system is you have condensation
(3) before hiring contractor to repair laundry room floor, call a restoration general contractor who can handle water damage repairs (they will have moisture meters) and who has some experience w/ mold remediation. get their opinion before starting repairs - - - don't let them scare you, mold is the new "asbestos"
GOOD LUCK!


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