Excess moisture/potential mold issue in basement unit

4 Replies

Hello all,

I have a problem that I hope someone may have experience with. I am a new REI and I purchased my first property, a triplex in DeKalb County, GA in which I owner-occupy. It has two units on the front which appear as a duplex, and on the back of the property (property is on a downward slop, there is a 1br/1ba unit that was built from the finished basement which sits below the other two units. The entrance to this unit faces out from the rear of the house.

There is an issue with excess moisture in this unit in particular. I have a dehumidifier down there running and its sucking maybe a gallon a day or more out of the unit. There is nothing growing on the walls or anything, but if you go in there and sit on the couch or the bed it feels cold and damp like it was in a refrigerator or something.

I don't believe there are any leaks or anything, I pay for the water bill and the bill is very reasonable, ~100 bucks a month for all three units.

There is a crawlspace on the other side of the wall of her unit where the water heaters for the units reside and there are various things stored like yard tools, is it possible that rain water is getting into there somehow and leaking under the floor, humidifying the room?

She moved a pair of shoes that had sit in her closet for a month and it had what appeared to be a blue hue to it like bread mold or something.

I want to get this handled as quickly as possible but I've seen so many horror stories about "mold experts" that employ pseudoscience to diagnose mold issues and I don't want to get raked over the coals here.

Again, any advice is extremely helpful. Thank you so much!

Best Regards,

-Will E.

Hi @William Edmondson I've heard that mold remediation can be quite expensive. I really don't have any advice for you other than get referrals and do your research when it comes to pricing for treating/repairing water damage. I'd be curious to hear what someone with experience in this issue has to say as I've been thinking about wholesaling a home with extensive water damage/mold. Thanks for posting this question.

William.

The Atlanta area has some of the best mold labs in the country. You might try one of them for a consultant referral.

You might also give my friend Walter Carter a call. He is at 706-278-3202. Walter is a very logical and down to earth environmental consultant that has done this type of work in residential properties for many years. He is in Dalton but doesn't mind some travel.

Your mention of a "blue hue like bread mold" on the surface of shoes points to a chronic humidity issue. On the one hand, it could be caused by a water leak somewhere else in the third unit. Often though, this will occur on leather shoes, belts, and even dark colored clothing because of poor (or no) air movement in the closet.

The rest of the unit could feel comfortable, but Any area that is not getting a good mix of conditioned air will stagnate and the moisture will build up.

You might consider putting a dehumidifier at or near the closet to see if that pulls moisture out of the space. Tightly packed clothes on hangers can hold a lot of moisture.

Good luck.

Travis West

Travis,

Thanks so much for the advice, I contacted a local mold inspection company and they are going to come out and inspect the unit and take samples this afternoon. If they do not prove satisfactory, I'll happily give your friend Walter a call.

I think part of the issue is that this unit is not served by HVAC, it has a single window A/C unit in the bedroom and baseboard heating units along certain walls, this is a 1960's era house.

She mentioned she hadn't ran the window unit yet this summer, this leads me to believe there is a lot of stagnant air in the apartment which leads to moisture buildup.

I'll keep you and Keysha posted. Thank you again.

Best Regards,

Will E.

Keysha and all others interested,

I had an inspector come out today to look at it, and he took samples of the outside for a baseline and also the interior of the unit to check if there is in fact a mold problem, but as far as the moisture goes, the issue he thinks is with the fact that the unit does not receive much sunlight and just the fact of it being a basement unit without vented HVAC causes air to stagnate and moisture to build.

He's told me that for basement units in Georgia it is absolutely standard to have a dehumidifier in the unit and for it to run an hour or two a day. I've decided to buy a more robust digital dehumidifier and have a plumber drill a hole and drain it to the outside so that tenant does not have to manually empty the reservoir every few days.

I'll let you know if anything changes. Thanks!

Best Regards,

Will E.