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Old 08-23-2009, 12:00 PM
 
Location: SE Durham
793 posts, read 1,814,300 times
Reputation: 556

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We're tenants of a small ranch house. I told the landlord that I noticed a smell of mold or mildew eminating from a certain area of the living room. It's on the floor. I haven't noticed any moisture over there. However, even if there was moisture I wouldn't have noticed because we don't walk over in that area. He comes and checks it out and says he doesn't smell anything. He also has some kind of light with him. I seem like I'm crazy, but I know that I've had a plastic bag over there or clothes when I'm separating for laundry and they STINK of this smell when they sit there for some a while.

To make a long story short, we've had some heavy rain yesterday and now the smell is nauseatingly strong AGAIN. The first time I smelled it, it was strong like this and then it dissipated.

The landlord is in the plumbing and heating business and he says (I'm assuming from his expert opinion) that we would see black or green evidence of mold or mildew. I'm not disputing that. It's just that this smell is of concern to me. My husband and children smell it, but HE doesn't.

Does anyone have any idea what this could be and what/if I can do anything about it?
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Terre Haute, IN
45 posts, read 217,626 times
Reputation: 47
That is not necessarily correct. If it were that simple, we indoor environmental consultants wouldn't have the need for the other equipment we use to define indoor conditions relative to mold and develop a scope of work for its removal. Try contacting a local indoor environmental professional that has no ties to a remediation firm. They may be able to discuss in greater detail (than one of these forums) how you can determine the need for an inspection, your risks, and prepare you for the discussion you'll want to have with your landlord. There are directories online for these indoor environmental professionals. Use the ones that are independent and accredited like the American Council for Accredited Certification (www.iaqcouncil.org) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (www.aiha.org). Both of these directories are good ones. Also get some real facts on water damage and mold. The fact is that mold can go dormant, instigated into activity by changes in moisture (which may be why you smell it heavy during a heavy rainfall). Furthermore, the odors do not have to be coming from the carpet in that part of the house because you smell the odors there - it can come from other areas. A good resource to use for information on mold may include the above links and www.iaqa.org or www.solutionsiec.com. Best wishes!
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:10 PM
 
Location: SE Durham
793 posts, read 1,814,300 times
Reputation: 556
Thank you so much! A million rep points for you if I could.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:26 PM
 
Location: CT - USA
40 posts, read 276,677 times
Reputation: 49
Your landlord is wrong.
Before you can see mold spots, you can smell it. And if it smells like mold, it is mold. Period.

If it smells like it…. « Best Home Improvement Contractors

And if there is mold, there is moisture.
Mold needs two things to grow: organic matter and moisture. A home is unfortunately full of the first, so the homeowners must, at all costs, control the second.
What is in that specific area where you notice the smell? Is it close to an outside or inside wall? Is there a window nearby? Pipes? Ducts?

In other words look for the source of the moisture. If the smell gets worse when it rains, the rain water is probably seeping in through some sort of opening.
Does your house sit over a basement or a crawlspace?

Anyway, you need to either get your landlord to fix the problem or consult the local housing authority and see what they can do make the landlord be more cooperative. Mold is not something you want to be living with. Only a few species of mold are toxic, but the non-toxic forms also relese spores in the air, which can trigger allergies in sensitive people.

Here's some information about mold from the US Center for Disease Control.
CDC Mold | Protect Yourself from Mold

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:36 PM
 
Location: SE Durham
793 posts, read 1,814,300 times
Reputation: 556
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyFree View Post
Your landlord is wrong.
Before you can see mold spots, you can smell it. And if it smells like mold, it is mold. Period.

If it smells like it…. « Best Home Improvement Contractors

And if there is mold, there is moisture.
Mold needs two things to grow: organic matter and moisture. A home is unfortunately full of the first, so the homeowners must, at all costs, control the second.
What is in that specific area where you notice the smell? Is it close to an outside or inside wall? Is there a window nearby? Pipes? Ducts?

In other words look for the source of the moisture. If the smell gets worse when it rains, the rain water is probably seeping in through some sort of opening.
Does your house sit over a basement or a crawlspace?

Anyway, you need to either get your landlord to fix the problem or consult the local housing authority and see what they can do make the landlord be more cooperative. Mold is not something you want to be living with. Only a few species of mold are toxic, but the non-toxic forms also relese spores in the air, which can trigger allergies in sensitive people.

Here's some information about mold from the US Center for Disease Control.
CDC Mold | Protect Yourself from Mold

Hope this helps.

Yes, the smell is coming from the area in our living room right next to the wall. There's no basement or crawlspace. He claims that the house is on a concrete slab so it would impossible for it to be coming in. I seriously doubt that as he's already said that there are foundation issues here and he has yet to address that. I assume he thinks that this is something that doesn't need immediate attention.

Thanks again. I seriously can see a huge battle regarding this as this landlord is really bad at addressing things in a timely manner.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:20 PM
 
27,215 posts, read 20,644,600 times
Reputation: 3730
Pictures are worth a 1,000 words... Can you take some and post them? Take some of the outside foundation and the slope of the land if possible. Lleave out anything that might identify your home to anyone for your safety..
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:26 PM
 
Location: SE Durham
793 posts, read 1,814,300 times
Reputation: 556
Sure thing. I can do so tomorrow morning.

Update: I called our local health dept. and they're sending out an inspector who can identify if there is a possibility of mold based on how things look with the foundation, walls, etc., but he can't actually confirm the presence of mold.
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:08 PM
 
Location: SE Durham
793 posts, read 1,814,300 times
Reputation: 556
Here's a pic of the side of the house if that makes any difference:

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Old 08-26-2009, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
11,659 posts, read 26,758,670 times
Reputation: 14313
Put a bit of plastic over the carpet in that area. If it gets wet overnight on the underside, you have a moisture wicking problem.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:22 PM
 
1 posts, read 61,531 times
Reputation: 12
I have the exact same issue that you do, so please let me know what the status of yours is. The sickeningly sweet/musty smell is making me physically ill and my husband can't even smell it! I've had to start using an inhaler to breathe! We are also on a concrete slab and have two A/C units on the outside of the wall where I first began to notice it. We had torrential rains in September and the smell has gotten dramatically worse since then. Now, after it rains, a couple of days later the smell is down right unbearable! My dehumidifier is getting about 4 gallons of moisture out of the air every other day. Immediately after it rains, it gets that amount daily! I can't find ANY wetness or physical signs of mold anywhere, but I can smell it like a bloodhound and it is truly making my life miserable!

What has happened for you???
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