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Mold/Mold in basement


Hi there!  I recently viewed a townhouse that I am hoping to rent.  My only concern was that the unfinished basement smelled very must and there was some water on the floor (This was about 4 days after some heavy rain).
There was a dehumidifier in the basement that was not running.  It appears the previous tenants had not done anything to control the humidity level in the basement and probably never even went down there.
Yesterday, the property management company had a contractor look at the basement.  The contractor determined that water was coming in through the bulkhead, which he sealed.  Also, the previous tenants had never requested to have the gutters cleaned, so they were extremely full.  The contractor had them cleaned and added a long extension on the downspout.
All that would ease my mind, if not for the fact that the contractor also pointed out that two of the basement walls had mold.  This makes me think the previous tenants really just let the basement repeatedly get wet and let it dry out on its own, and never ran a dehumidifier.  
The contractor is cleaning the mold, but how concerned should I be?  Could this mold  have traveled to the rest of the house?  (I didn't see anything in the first or second floor walls or ceilings or windowsills, and the bathrooms appear to be in good shape.  But I know mold can be present even when it can't always be seen.)
Thanks in advance for your help!

Hi Mary what you described is very common in New England especially if a basement is not kept dry all the time. What the contractor did so far is very good. Now the basement must be kept dry or the mold will possibly come back and off gas again.
Mold is a live organism and it off gasses. That is evident by the musty smell that exists in the basement. The musty smell can continue to be evident to some degree, unless the areas that had mold and were treated, are sealed. The contractor may have information on this.
The bottom line is the basement must be dry at "all times."
If you rent this unit be sure the dehumidifier is operating and I recommend setting it on 50% moisture content or less. The dehumidifier should be set up such that it drains easily and constantly. Emptying a bucket in the dehumidifier is not very practical. Most people don't empty the bucket and the basement moisture level goes up and mold grows. Check the web sites; or for further information
Good luck Daniel  


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Daniel Cetrone


I am probably able to help you understand the mold problem you are having, why it is happening and what to do about it! Most mold problems small, thus easy and simple to remediate. Large mold problems are a different case! They can cause an entire home to be unhabitable!


I am a residentail contractor with 29 years or experience remodeling, repairing and building homes. Throughout many of those I handled insurance damage restoration and remediation projects.

Fitchburg State College, Secondary Education Major, Industrial Ars specialty 1975 Water Damage Restoration certification from (IICRC) Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification 2000

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