Mold can cause serious damage that can significantly decrease the value of your investment property. Professional mold inspectors can find mold, determine the extent of said mold, identify the strain, and test air quality… however, professional mold testing isn’t always practical, especially when it comes to prospective investments or rental properties with tenants. Fortunately, there are a few signs you can look for to determine whether you may have a problem.
Musty smell in any part of the building
Mold has a distinctly musty odor. If you notice such a smell anywhere in the building, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have mold, but you could. Even if there is none present, a musty smell could also mean a moisture problem that needs to be remedied before the mold actually starts to grow. If there are no immediately visible signs of mold, check under carpeting, behind drywall, around windows, and above ceiling tiles. Don’t forget the basement, as it is typically the dampest area of a building, and the attic, as a leaky roof could create a perfect environment for mold growth. If you still can’t find the source, check the heating and cooling systems. HVAC systems can have condensation and may be dusty, a perfect environment for mold to grow. If you don’t see mold, you may want to consider collecting a sample of the dust and sending it for testing.
Visible discoloration on surfaces that may be exposed to moisture
Mold loves damp, porous surfaces, especially those in dark, forgotten spaces.Wood, fabric, paper, and dust are all excellent food sources for mold. Look at drywall, carpets, carpet padding, ceiling tiles, and other porous materials that may be exposed to moisture. Look under kitchen and bathroom sinks, under and around refrigerators, around air conditioners, and don’t forget basement, crawl spaces, attics, and closets. Be sure to check rooms that may not be used often and may have had the air vents closed off, lead to restricted airflow.
Tenants with allergy symptoms
If the building is occupied and tenants mention experiencing upper respiratory infection, allergy or asthma symptoms, or sinus trouble, especially if symptoms are better when away from the building, there is a good chance the building has mold.
Water damage or plumbing issues
Mold is common after water damage, flood damage, and plumbing issues. Water from leaks, damage, or other sources can find its way to hidden areas under flooring and inside walls, allowing mold to grow unseen. Water damage doesn’t automatically mean mold, but should be a red flag warranting further investigation.If you see signs of water damage, such as a line of discoloration on an exterior wall, or water marks on ceiling tiles, you may want to take a closer look for other signs of mold.
If you suspect that your San Diego investment property may be sustaining damage from mold, call us at (619) 376-6838 for a free evaluation.