There have always been jokes about the state you live in concerning the weather. In New Mexico, “It’s a DRY heat…” Well, when it comes to Jersey, not so much. South Jersey, as in the Jersey Shore, has a TON of humidity. Last few summers have been brutal. You get used to it. BUT. In vacant, locked up homes, it can be a HUGE problem. Why? In a word: MOLD.
More specifically, BLACK mold.
Ever since Hurricane Sandy, mold, for me, has become an occupational hazard. Homes were inundated with salt water. People in Ocean City and Atlantic City weren’t even allowed to go back to check on their homes for DAYS. Salt water(or any water for that matter) locked up in a closed up house spells trouble. Sheetrock is organic, since it has paper on the outside. Sheetrock gets wet, takes forever to dry. Mold starts to grow. Now it gets hot outside, windows are closed, no air circulation, and the mold literally starts to grow, and spread.
Listen, we’ve all seen a little mold, especially homes with bathrooms that have no fans for your hot shower steam. If there’s nowhere for that humidity to go, and you have anything organic, like wood or sheetrock exposed, mold will grow. Now you may remember that earlier this year, I got a bank owned property that was overrun with mold in the basement. I was on meds for 60 days, and anybody that went into the upper part only still got sore throats. I thought THAT was bad…
Fast forward to 3 days ago, I was given another bank owned property. I had taken my husband with me. He opened the front door and quickly slammed it shut. I just looked at him,and he told me to go get my N-95 mask. He wouldn’t open the door without it. Much to my horror, that last home had been a walk in the park, like KINDERGARTEN compared to this :
Apparently, the home was foreclosed on, the pipes froze and burst in the walls while vacant. Look at the wall on the left:
Guys, this is NOTHING to play with. I’ve ordered a respirator, as this is my third encounter with this massive a dose of mold. I would rather look RIDICULOUS with it on than to be as sick as I was again after the last one! I can tell you within a minute and a half if there’s mold in a house; my throat literally starts to ache almost immediately. You can usually smell it in the air. The last home, remediation for the basement alone was $15k. Every shred of carpet in the entire 3 floors of the home had to be removed. Same for the sheetrock in the basement.
Then they did an air treatment and filtration. Then you need to worry about the vents for the heat and central air systems. The spores will grow and spread in the vents as well.
I used to think that mold thrived at about 80 degrees? Really? Guess what? It’s still going strong at 32 degrees! You need to understand that you have to remove the cause of the moisture to effectively treat the issue. You have to remove the moisture. Use a dehumidifier if necessary. Remove wet sheetrock and insulation. Keep rooms vented. Bathrooms especially. Use Kilz paint or paint treatment when necessary. Change air filters. Treat all ventilation systems. But, most importantly, if you can see that you’re in over your head, HIRE A MOLD REMEDIATION SPECIALIST!