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Old 09-09-2009, 04:24 PM
 
Location: clear lake tx
17 posts, read 89,407 times
Reputation: 16

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I apologize if i'm posting in the wrong area but i wasn't completely sure where to put this thread.

I live in an apartment complex in clear lake tx very close to the water and the area in general is always pretty humid.
I've recently started to notice big black spots on our air vent in our room.
With further inspection of the entire apartment i saw the same black spots on all of our vents...
i knew right away that it was black mold.
Me and my boyfriend have been having several health issues in the past year since living in the complex that we haven't been able to explain.
I even went to the doctor because i thought i had a thyroid problem.
I've been feeling very lethargic , having problems with my memory, and a very short attention span.
but very recently in the past few months ive noticed that my eyes are very puffy when i wake up and very red and itchy and my nose is ALWAYS stuffed up..I even had severe kidney pain and i've been getting urinary infections way too easily i drink alot of fluids! alot of teas and water.

anyways, with all the symptoms so close to those of over exposure of black mold i'm pretty sure that is why we've both been sick.
We've lived in the same complex for a year 6 months in a one bedroom and 6 months and this past 6 or 7 months in a 2 bedroom.
I'm almost 100% positive all the other people have it too.
They use cheap ac vents and you can tell they've been painted over to match the walls but probably to hide the mold.
You can see it inside the vents and i think (if not treated) it could cover our whole apartment.
These apartments are also pretty old , been here since the 70s i believe and we just went through hurrican ike and they survived it..

We always keep are apartment clean and free of dust and its upsetting that I have to feel so sick because of something I cant control.


My ultimate question is if you guys have any advice as to what i should do?
Is the apartment complex responsible to get rid of it or do I have to call a profesional myself?
Me and my boyfriend are very young this is our first place together and i really dont know what to do...
Are we going to have to leave the apartment?
And what should we do about our health issues from the mold?
I also have some small pets, 2 rats and a hampster will they be affected and should i take them to get checked from a vet?

I'm posting here because every black mold search i've done told me the symptoms and what it was but not what to do when you need to treat it.



Thanks,
Beth




My vent in my room
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Old 09-09-2009, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,837 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27639
Reality check here. Mold will occur where moist warm air meets with a cold surface. Mold around vents is somewhat common, and DOES NOT indicate that there is mold in the ducts, which only have the cold DRY air left after the cooling coil has dehumidified and cooled.

However... You DO want to check the coil of the AC for mold, and you want to check the drip pan for more mold and fungus. Cleaning the coil and pan can be simple if the installation was good, or a PITA if it wasn't. Do a net search on coil cleaners.

On a short term basis - rent an ozone generator from a rental place, stick it in front of the return air vent, set the fan on continuous, and go stay a night at a motel and make whoopie. When you come back, a lot of your cheap plastic items will have turned yellow, but you will have nailed a lot of mold and spores. Wipe down the moldy areas with a mildewcide (check greenhouse suppliers) and relax.

It is almost impossible to get away from some mold. However, if you keep it to a low level it is not a big issue unless you have a severely compromised immune system.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:02 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara
1,474 posts, read 2,585,032 times
Reputation: 942
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evergolden View Post
I apologize if i'm posting in the wrong area but i wasn't completely sure where to put this thread.

I live in an apartment complex in clear lake tx very close to the water and the area in general is always pretty humid.
I've recently started to notice big black spots on our air vent in our room.
With further inspection of the entire apartment i saw the same black spots on all of our vents...
i knew right away that it was black mold.
Me and my boyfriend have been having several health issues in the past year since living in the complex that we haven't been able to explain.
I even went to the doctor because i thought i had a thyroid problem.
I've been feeling very lethargic , having problems with my memory, and a very short attention span.
but very recently in the past few months ive noticed that my eyes are very puffy when i wake up and very red and itchy and my nose is ALWAYS stuffed up..I even had severe kidney pain and i've been getting urinary infections way too easily i drink alot of fluids! alot of teas and water.

anyways, with all the symptoms so close to those of over exposure of black mold i'm pretty sure that is why we've both been sick.
We've lived in the same complex for a year 6 months in a one bedroom and 6 months and this past 6 or 7 months in a 2 bedroom.
I'm almost 100% positive all the other people have it too.
They use cheap ac vents and you can tell they've been painted over to match the walls but probably to hide the mold.
You can see it inside the vents and i think (if not treated) it could cover our whole apartment.
These apartments are also pretty old , been here since the 70s i believe and we just went through hurrican ike and they survived it..

We always keep are apartment clean and free of dust and its upsetting that I have to feel so sick because of something I cant control.


My ultimate question is if you guys have any advice as to what i should do?
Is the apartment complex responsible to get rid of it or do I have to call a profesional myself?
Me and my boyfriend are very young this is our first place together and i really dont know what to do...
Are we going to have to leave the apartment?
And what should we do about our health issues from the mold?
I also have some small pets, 2 rats and a hampster will they be affected and should i take them to get checked from a vet?

I'm posting here because every black mold search i've done told me the symptoms and what it was but not what to do when you need to treat it.



Thanks,
Beth




My vent in my room
You need to send your landlord a certified, return receipt letter explaining what you have seen and take pictures. Give the landlord an opportunity to fix it. It is going to be a long haul for you though. You will need a professional environmental tester to come out and take not only samples of the mold but also air samples. Just because it is black doesn't mean it is the toxic mold.

I had an issue in the apartment I lived in for 13 years. The landlord never fixed it and I put up with it. My health suffered. Once we discovered a HUGE, moldy area in the cupboards (and leak that would not stop) we asked them to fix it. They didn't and on the 1st of the month we were evicted. We always paid rent, didn't break any rules, it was just easier for them to boot us out and THEN fix it then to put us up while they did. They never fully fixed it according to the neighbors.

We ended up paying for the test ourselves and it was just under 1K. We discovered all kinds of NASTY and dangerous spores in the apartment. The levels were VERY high. The only way to fix it according to the testers was to keep tearing out drywall until they didn't find anymore mold.

I have a very long story that outlines everything we went through. There was no help in our area for renters. Had we been on public assistance for housing they have an office that deals with that. If we had oodles of money we could have had help. But it was just us and very limited funds (took a loan out to get the test). The test was necessary in the event we sue the landlord which we still may do. The landlord SHOULD pay for the test but they may not.

Once we moved, I didn't have a cough, headaches, my husband no longer got dizzy and isn't stuffed up, my cat no longer has dermatitis (mold can cause skin irritations). I moved out in January and this was the first winter without getting sick. I was normally very sick between November and May, when we got the most rain. Once we moved out we saw that the mold was MUCH worse than we thought. It was in EVERY room.

Feel free to send me a note if you have questions about my experience. I can tell you what they found and what we went through. I can tell you the easiest thing to do is to move. I would try and get it professionally tested though. You ought to know what you have been breathing in.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,027,829 times
Reputation: 7701
"Black" mold is something of a misnomer. Mold comes in many colors and that which appears black is no more, nor any less, dangerous than the blue or purple or green or red kind.

It's not likely to harm you unless you are susecptible to it or have some kind of mold allergy.

If I were you, I'd tell management about it and not worry too much or find "symptoms" which may not actually be associated with it.
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Old 09-10-2009, 07:07 AM
 
18 posts, read 74,020 times
Reputation: 42
To JillZ - it would not matter if you are in public housing or not. My friends husband use to paint public housing units for a living and heard all the complaints even though he had nothing to do with that - they don't get any better treatment. You should have gone to the health department and filed a complaint. You lived there 13yrs with noticeable mold & than one day you decide to complain about it and wonder why management was not that receptive. I think if someone has an issue with the owner you need to complain verbally, then in writing and if its not addressed then to the health department. If still no response then speak to a legal person about putting rent in escrow and make sure you notify the owner of your intent. Don't wait years and then suddenly as Jillz did declare an emergency because people will not take you seriously. Because Jillz I not sure why you would not have had your landlord move you to another unit & request they pay the moving expense. If you pursue this in court they will most likely bring this up. I also don't think you were paying on time or you were withholding rent & not following protocol to do this, because regardless of the complaining most people are not going to evict people that pay on time. Evicting someone is also not that easy because there is court cost, etc involved.
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Old 09-10-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara
1,474 posts, read 2,585,032 times
Reputation: 942
Quote:
Originally Posted by gualm View Post
To JillZ - it would not matter if you are in public housing or not. My friends husband use to paint public housing units for a living and heard all the complaints even though he had nothing to do with that - they don't get any better treatment. You should have gone to the health department and filed a complaint.

You lived there 13yrs with noticeable mold & than one day you decide to complain about it and wonder why management was not that receptive. I think if someone has an issue with the owner you need to complain verbally, then in writing and if its not addressed then to the health department. If still no response then speak to a legal person about putting rent in escrow and make sure you notify the owner of your intent.

Don't wait years and then suddenly as Jillz did declare an emergency because people will not take you seriously. Because Jillz I not sure why you would not have had your landlord move you to another unit & request they pay the moving expense. If you pursue this in court they will most likely bring this up. I also don't think you were paying on time or you were withholding rent & not following protocol to do this, because regardless of the complaining most people are not going to evict people that pay on time. Evicting someone is also not that easy because there is court cost, etc involved.
You have made a load of assumptions that I will correct here.

I realize I waited too long to move. I cleaned it up for years (took their advice and bleached the h@ll out of it), wrote letters to the landlord, told her in person, they never fixed it. Oh they covered it up and then the next rain came and it was bad again. We didn't realize HOW bad until the leak in the kitchen was discovered. Oh yeah, she told me to run the fan everytime my closet got soaking wet from the rain. She DID take about $25 off the rent the following month to compensate for the electric bill BUT she never sent anyone to fix it. I have rented in this town as well as others. The rights of renters here only exist if you can afford to pay an attorney and then you have to find one that will take your case. I met one lady that went through this a year or so before I did. She went through the exact same thing and sued. She won but said it wasn't worth her time, effort, and stress.

In MY town I called the health dept and reported them, the rental mediation task force, the mayor, every city council member, had it tested by TWO different companies, and I am sure I am forgetting people I reported it to. My lease was month to month, low rent, and the landlord was awful (people stay because it is lower rent in an area where a studio rents for over 1200/month). We WANTED her to clean it up and fix it not only for us but the neighbors but SHE didn't want to. She wanted to rent the place for MUCH more money. The apartment next to mine had GRASS growing in the closet and when that neighbor told the landlord about it she was told so what? Don't keep anything that can be ruined in there. I was specifically told by the housing department that IF I had public housing assistance I would be helped. I guess that isn't the case where YOU live but that is what I was told.

Before you assume I was NOT paying rent, think again. I ALWAYS paid early. If I was a bad tenant, why kick me and my husband out after taking my money for 13 years? She didn't go through the courts to evict us, she gave us 90 days to move out. All while the mold got worse and worse. The testers told us that until we move, cover all the cabinets with trashbags, seal them up, and don't open them for any reason JUST to keep the air spores down. My new landlord loves the fact my husband and I are clean, quiet, pay our rent on time, and take care of the property. Yes, we pay almost $500 more per month and it kills us financially but that is the cheapest, clean place I could find larger than a studio.

Moving is expensive and never easy. When I complained to the old landlord all I was ever told was if you don't like it leave. She has all the tenants afraid because she KNOWS they cannot find anything that inexpensive in this town. Before you start thinking the tenants are welfare recipients, they are nurses, law enforcement, computer technicians, and other professionals EXCEPT for her son that manages it. He hasn't worked since the 70's and is a drunk drug addict. Of course his mother is very wealthy and allows him to live this way. His fix it for a leak in the ceiling of my neighbors place? Duct tape.

When you live in a VERY expensive area and you cannot afford to buy or want commute 40 minutes either way (hard when my hours change every day), many landlords take advantage. Not all, I found a great one and met several when looking but they are few and far between.
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