View Full Version : Mold in residential elevator shaft

Gary wellborn
09-13-2010, 03:13 PM
I just completed an inspection of a home in the Charleston, SC area that has a elevator service for three floors. The home is on a 10' raised foundation that is enclosed on all four sides with standard sheathing and no insulation. Part of the enclosed foundation acts as a garage but is open inside to finished (drywall ) living and staorage areas.
The elevator shaft is located at the center point of the home with stops at the first floor main living area and the second floor living area.
The client has been suffering from mold allergies ( according to her Allergist ) and after several inspections and cleaning of the airducts and HVAC sytem ( four weeks ago ) is still suffering.
I was called in to perform another inspection for mold and checked all likely sources both visually and with infrared. The IR showed several high moisture areas which we have addressed and the visual also located small areas of mold in a bathroom. These were also addressed and have been cleaned thoroughly.
My questions concerns the elevator shaft which is the only other area that presents itself as a likely source for mold.
I have scanned the shaft and there appears to be a large area of moisture on two walls at the lower level. I took contact samples today and have sent them to the lab. Can anyone suggest the best way to clean the shaft. I need to use a full drape so the spoors do not travel to the upper floors.
I have recommended to the owner that better ventillation of the elevator would be advised to control mold growth in the future. I would appreciate any helpful comments.

Eric Barker
09-13-2010, 07:00 PM
Where the areas that were previously cleaned sealed off from the "unaffected" areas? Were any contaminated items removed and where they carried through the "unaffected" areas. Cross-contamination should always be considered when substantial efforts are made. If the elevator shaft areas are involved with mold then spores could be spreading through stack effect. Has the air (inside and out) been sampled, a particle counter reading taken or an air scrubber been used? Was it ever determined what conditions were present that were favorable for the mold's growth? Has that been corrected?

Scott Patterson
09-14-2010, 06:29 AM
OK, one of the things that is need for mold to grow and thrive is moisture. Did you locate the source of the moisture?

It is great to locate wet and damp areas with an IR camera, but you also need to address the source of the moisture....

With a residential elevator the shaft should be completely enclosed with drywall. This is to offer some protection in the event of a fire. Also most elevators that end in a basement or an enclosure in a crawlspace will have a sump and pump setup. Did this one have a sump and pump? If so; Was it working?

So, you need to get access to the elevator shaft above and below the car. Then and only then can you assess what is going on and what needs to be done. If you are not sure how to do this you should contact the elevator company that installed it and get them out to help you with it.

My bet is that you will find water in the bottom of the shaft and that has caused the moisture that is feeding the mold.