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mold in vacant houses

John Dirks Jr

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I did a job that had been vacant for over a year. On the carpets in the basement (over concrete) there were isolated areas that had mold growth. There was no indication that leaks from above helped create the conditions in the spotty areas.

I thought that maybe the spots had potential for growth because of things that had been spilled on the carpet back when it was occupied. Now, the house has been vacant and nobody is periodically running a vacuum over the areas.

I'm thinking that moisture build up in the air due to lack of ventilation combined with the elements of the "suspected spills" is what made the growths happen in the specific areas.

I pulled the carpet back and there were stains on the underside of the carpet but the padding was not stained. The carpets felt dry, even in the affected areas.

What other ways might explain the isolated growths?

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  • 2 months later...

Probably where a cat or dog peed on the carpet or someone spilled a drink. Don't dwell on it; it's not that important.

Report what you saw, tell them, that if they are concerned about exposure to mold, to get the house checked out by an indoor air quality firm - not some home inspector who claims to be qualified to monkey around with mold - cleaned as necessary, as determined by the IAQ firm, and then go on with life.



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Good morning, Gents:

Generally, where I’ve observed isolated colonization like that, the carpet is over a concrete floor. I presume that the temperature is variable over the floor and various cold spots result in condensation occurring in different locations.

Also, the growth conditions will be more favorable in different locations because of the food sources in the carpets (debris and accumulation of dust etc).

I would just ID it for what it appears to be and even if it is mould, I would not recommend turning it into a science project, just recommend professionally cleaning the carpet.


Caoimhín P. Connell

Forensic Industrial Hygienist


(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)


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