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  1. #1
    Michelle Garrett's Avatar
    Michelle Garrett Guest

    Default Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    We moved into an old, poorly insulated house about two months ago, and my almost 3-year-old daughter has been sick since. Her doctor says it appears to be the onset of asthma or allergic asthma, not viral or bacterial. She has had a chesty cough, congestion, watery eyes and breathing distress for about six weeks straight now (she hasn't ever had this type of sickness before). We are both having daily nosebleeds, too.

    After her doctor visit, I looked more closely at the house and there is evidence of prior water damage (warped ceiling fans, hardwood stains), and there are black and white stains on the roof rafters, roof decking, and in and under the ancient insulation.

    Just hoped someone could look at the photos and tell me if it is mold. I don't want to stay in a house that can cause prolonged health issues. I don't have several hundred dollars for a mold inspection, but if there is a problem, I want to be able to come to the landlord with something.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.
    Attic and water | Facebook

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    Last edited by Michelle Garrett; 01-24-2011 at 11:56 AM.
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  2. #2
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Mold is one of those things you can't just look at and determine if you have a problem or not. Just like asbestos the only way to be sure is to have it tested. You could call your city inspections department and they can probably point you to the department that enforces minimum housing requirements. That process should not cost you any money.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Michelle, there are lots of things in an old house which can affect the quality of life or lead to respiratory discomfort. First I would recommend you have your daughter checked over by a qualified pediatrician for her health problems. Nose bleeds can be caused by dry heat, you might check that with an HVAC contractor. Also check with the health department to see if they have any program to inspect a problem house. We tend to blame mold for all respiratory ailments when there are other factors as well. Good luck and I hope you child is better.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Michelle,

    As home inspectors, we are not really qualified to make diagnose or make connections in a situation like this. That said, the timing of your move and your daughters symptoms would lead me to believe that there is something in that home that is the cause. Nothing in your photos makes me think of mold, but that does not mean that there is no mold there. Around here, I would suggest an industrial hygienist or air quality specialist take a look.

    If you have relatives or friends nearby, you might try staying with them for a few days to see if her symptoms clear up. If they do, I would strongly suggest moving out of this home.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Michelle,
    Take down the Mobile tied to the fan chain. That chain is not designed to hold weight and is dangerous. It will break just don't know when.


  6. #6
    Michelle Garrett's Avatar
    Michelle Garrett Guest

    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Thanks for all the responses. I took my daughter to an allergist yesterday, and she came up positive for dust mites, mold and cat hair allergies. No cats past or present, so that isn't it. I imagine the dust mites could be making her sick, and I am committed to dusting more, but we worked a connection and have a mold inspection next week that we can afford. We'll see what, if anything, he finds.

    Garry-- the mobile parts are thin cardboard and it weighs nearly nothing, but I took it down anyway. It was just a temporary home until I can get the crib put together. Thanks for the heads-up.

    --M


  7. #7
    Mitchell Toelle's Avatar
    Mitchell Toelle Guest

    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Michelle,

    There may have been cats in your house/ apt. from a past tenant. Might need to do some heavy washing and cleaning, including possible ducting and filters, to rid yourself of the dander.


  8. #8
    Michelle Garrett's Avatar
    Michelle Garrett Guest

    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Just an update, in case anyone stumbles onto this thread.

    We had a mold inspection done today, and he found some spores in the attic (he didn't sound overly concerned about that) and some minor growth up there behind the insulation. He said there was substantial fungal growth in the crawlspace under the bathroom and under the bedroom I posted about.

    He also noted that he could "smell" mold in the house... a musky, dirty smell he said (I'm trying not to take that personally... lol), but that since everything has been re-sheetrocked, re-tiled, re-finished, or replaced, he can't really see much else and who knows what's behind the walls.

    He noted that our indoor air quality was poor, and he even developed a hacking cough in the short time he was here.

    He basically said that what mold we do have is the wood-damaging sort and not the "toxic black mold" everyone talks about on TV, but said since my little one is sensitive to molds, it could still be what is causing her trouble.

    He recommended having the ducts tested and cleaned.

    Thoughts?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle Garrett View Post
    He noted that our indoor air quality was poor,
    Based on what, his nose? Did he back that up with some test result or other???

    He basically said that what mold we do have is the wood-damaging sort and not the "toxic black mold" everyone talks about on TV...
    No such thing as "toxic black mold". Read the EPA position here:
    Black Mold Myths


    Thoughts?
    Send this report to your landlord, and seriously, you should just move out and find another home. It will likely never be fixed to you or your family's benefit anyway.

    Good luck.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle Garrett View Post
    Just an update, in case anyone stumbles onto this thread.

    We had a mold inspection done today, and he found some spores in the attic (he didn't sound overly concerned about that) and some minor growth up there behind the insulation. He said there was substantial fungal growth in the crawlspace under the bathroom and under the bedroom I posted about.

    He also noted that he could "smell" mold in the house... a musky, dirty smell he said (I'm trying not to take that personally... lol), but that since everything has been re-sheetrocked, re-tiled, re-finished, or replaced, he can't really see much else and who knows what's behind the walls.

    He noted that our indoor air quality was poor, and he even developed a hacking cough in the short time he was here.

    He basically said that what mold we do have is the wood-damaging sort and not the "toxic black mold" everyone talks about on TV, but said since my little one is sensitive to molds, it could still be what is causing her trouble.

    He recommended having the ducts tested and cleaned.

    Thoughts?
    Sounds like you have mold in that home! Give a copy to the landlord with a demand for the leaks or whatever is supporting the mold to be repaired and the mold to be cleaned up. If this is not going to happen then I would move. Heck, I would most likely move anyway just to get away from the spores.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  11. #11
    Michelle Garrett's Avatar
    Michelle Garrett Guest

    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    That's what we're thinking... but it's daunting to have to move again while pregnant... this time being 8 months along.

    But the inspector also noted that the crawlspace and attic are completely uninsulated, so there is moisture (in the attic particularly) forming as a result of condensation from the heated air inside the living space flowing into the attic. And there are patches of plastic down in the crawlspace, but non under the corner of the house that has the significant fungal growth.

    He said that remediating the mold without installing proper insulation and vapor barriers will result in inevitable recurrences.

    Sigh.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    Like Scott says, just move.
    When you look at prospective homes, take your 3 year old with you. Her reaction is probably as good as any mold test.

    Last edited by Benjamin Thompson; 01-31-2011 at 06:45 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is this mold? Pregnant renter with small child

    This is sounding much like a "SOAP OPRA" who are you kidding?


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