Indoor Air Quality/mold in my apartment



Hello, I live in an apartment complex and have only been here since April 1st. My ceiling near my ac vent and about three feet to the right of it has huge yellow stains and green/black stains as well as some light brown in color. I called in a work request and about 3 days later they came to fix it saying that the mold was caused by condensation since we keep our ac on. They said they sprayed mold killer and the that the issue was over well about 5 days later it was showing back this time covering more of the cieling and running its way down the walls and paint was falling off of the walls.  So we called back and they came out 5 days later check the ac unit and said there was a crack in it they said they fixed it and this time assured me all was well.  Well all they did was put duct tape over the crack and Now it is even worse and they are now telling us that it is our fault due to the use of the ac unit.  My ac isn't set extremly low it usually set to 75.  I tried to test their theory and turn my ac off for a week using just the air from outside and some fans.  However it is continuing to get worse and now moving furthing into my living room.  And they are charging me 1500 dollars for damages but are saying its not mold.  They never tested it to prove it is not mold and previously "treated" it as if it was.  I am wondering first of all can this mold be caused by just using my ac unit and what are my options or do I just have to live here with them refusing to fix the problem.  I live in north eastern pa.  If you are not The right expert for this question I do apologize for wasting your time.

Hello Tabitha,

First let me say that the majority of apartment maint techs in the US are not qualified HVAC Techs. They usually know enough to get themselves into trouble. Not the case for everyone mind you. Anyways, how can anyone say that their equipment that has become cracked, which they are responsible for, be your fault for using it, when they not only offer it as a feature of the apartment, but then tell you that everything is all good, when it's not?? I hope that you have a copy of the work orders that they signed off on stating it was "fixed" at different times.  You may need legal counsel on this subject, and I can't offer that myself, since it's beyond my level of expertise. And in addition, you may have to move out. Again, something you may want to discuss with legal counsel. You may want to dig up your apartment lease and see what clauses, if any, allows you to break your lease without penality. It might be helpful if you also try a Legal Expert on this website. Perhaps if they feel that's a good route for you to persue, then they might be able to offer some additional suggestions.

Now as far as the really is a symptom of the problem. The problem is that there is enough water leaking or as they say "condensating" onto the ceiling. You may even have to bite the bullet and have an environmentalist test the area for mold. It's not going to be cheap, but it's a gamble, and if it were to test positive, then that gives you more ammo. The reason that you may not want to use a home mold test alone, is that it wasn't done by a professional, so it may not hold up in court as being "qualified". But you could use a home test kit to see if it does test positive, and if so, it may give you enough confindence to procede with investing into a professional test. But if you decide to do so, take all precautions when doing a schwab test to protect yourself. As well, you may also want to hire a liensed HVAC Contractor and pay the Dispatch Fee for coming out to verify if a problem still exists, and have them document & take pics, for you to have copies of. If the charge to actually fix the problem is managable for you to handle, then for your health, you may want to pay for it upfront. Again, these type of charges should be able to be to be added to your settlement, if you decide to go to court.

Tabitha, you have a lot to think about...and by the way you're not wasting my time. That why I'm here to offer some advice so that you can make the wisest decisions possible. I hope that this helps you. If you need to follow-up for any reason let me know. I'll do my best to help you further with any additional questions. Please let me know what you decide to do & how it turns out.

Indoor Air Quality

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TJ Nichols


Hello, I'd be glad to answer your questions on IAQ & other related issues!


My approach is to treat the home as one system with individual working parts. Think (TEAMWORK). When one or more areas (PLAYERS) are failing or bad, it affects the whole system (TEAM) to operate less efficiently. I aim to address the problem, not just the symptoms, to offer better solution options.

High School Grad (06/1991)(VA) EPA licensed & certified in Types I & II Refrigeration (04/1997)(MD)

Past/Present Clients
Have served tens of thousands of customers over the course of my career

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