Mold: The Cause, Clean-Up & How To Complain

5:23 PM, Jul 12, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- It creeps into your home, on your walls, under your cabinets and it breathes the same air you do. We're talking mold.

Several 2 wants to know viewers called with similar complaints, concerns and questions. They all said they have mold in their homes and their landlords weren't doing anything to help.

Mold can happen in any of our homes. So we wanted going to dig deeper into mold causes, clean up, and where to complain.

Scott Dampier is with Housemaster Home Inspections says, "mold is a by product of bad moisture conditions, whether that's humidity, condensation and moisture."

He explained there are three basic types of mold: allergenic (like the mildew in your shower), pathogenic (mostly found in hospitals) and carcinogenic (commonly known as black mold).

All mold can make someone sick, it just depends on your sensitivity. But black mold, which can be purple, black or green, is toxic to all.

You can't know which kind of mold you have by looking at it. You must swab it.

The only way to prevent mold from becoming a problem is stopping the moisture source.

How Can I Test For Mold?

In most North Carolina counties, you can take a sample of the mold to the county's agriculture extension office. Make sure the sample is on a Q-tip and securely sealed in a ziploc bag, labeled with information on where, in your home, you collected the sample. (i.e- under the bathroom sink, near the shower, etc.). Take the sample to the office, fill out the form, and pay $20 (check or money order -- cash is not accepted). They'll send it to the state labs for testing to tell what type of mold it is and whether or not it's toxic. The results should be mailed in about a week and a half.

Cleaning Up Non-Toxic Mold

The extension offices says the first step is to fix the water source because the mold will keep coming up back until you figure out the source of the problem. If the mold is non-toxic, the best action to take is to clean it up. Bleach is the only thing that can remove mold. The Guilford County Agriculture Extension office says the only recipe is one part bleach to 10 parts water. (Do NOT try to do 5:1, it could lead to respiratory problems.) Dampier also said you can buy pre-mixed solutions, to avoid having to mix it yourself, as well.

If You Have a Complaint

Renters need to notify your landlord of the mold in writing. That can be a certified letter, e-mail, or even text. 

If the landlord doesn't fix it after that, people living in city limits should contact the code enforcement department.

Counties don't usually have someone in code enforcement.

From there, we've found the enforcement process is a little sticky. 2 Wants to Know's Ben Briscoe interviewed the city of Greensboro's code enforcement and housing folks. Ben will bring you their expertise and how best to get your mold concerns and complaints handled in a quick manner in the coming weeks.

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