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How to clean up mold problems in your home

SBG San Antonio{ }
SBG San Antonio
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SAN ANTONIO - A warning now to anyone who owns or rents. The Texas heat and humidity are the perfect recipe for mold to become a serious problem.

We hear regularly from viewers who are dealing mold-related issues. Darian Trotter investigates how best to solve the problem.

"It started right here," said an unidentified woman.

This San Antonio renter thinks she has mold growing in her bathroom.

"It bothers me, I can smell it," she said. "I smell the mildew, like someone left a rag here."

She asked not to be identified but shared recent photos taken after an apparent plumbing leak saturated her ceiling, causing it to collapse and flood her bathroom. The area has been repaired, but she believes there's moisture trapped behind her ceiling and beneath her flooring.

"It's wet. It's wet!" she pointed out.

The same problem is developing in her second bathroom.

We called in licensed mold inspector Mike Marshall with Mold Inspection Sciences Texas.

"We'll take a look at this bathroom ceiling up here," he said. "Wow! We definitely have a recent water loss here."

He says the combination of moisture and the Texas heat create ideal conditions for mold growth.

"It is not recommended for people to be breathing in any type of mold, no mold should be growing inside a living environment," Marshall said.

The alarming reality is about 70% of homes have some amount of mold. An unaddressed source of moisture, like a leak, only increases the likelihood of high concentration.

"I don't have a vested interest in finding mold or not finding mold," Marshall said.

If you're dealing with mold, Mike suggests hiring a licensed professional to conduct a mold test, and develop a removal plan.

"We are reading about 44% saturated," Marshall said.

A mold inspector works independently from the team that removes it, creating a system of checks and balances to protect the consumer.

"The mold remediation company that's licensed is going to have to work under my recommendations and what I tell them to remove," Marshall said.

He says simply cleaning and painting over mold doesn't always fix the problem because moisture can remain in porous surfaces like floors and walls.

"I was completely horrified by what I saw," said Dorian Castro of Spotless Property Maintenance.

Dorian Castro does commercial and residential reconstruction. He was recently asked to address a mold problem at different apartment complex that we aren't naming.

"When I walked in I just gasped for air because the stench was so strong," Castro said.

Several areas of the apartment were covered in what appears to be mold.

"Looking up and down from the floor to the ceiling, to the vents," Castro recounted. "The mold was just heavy."

He says the property manager asked him to cut corners.

"She asked me if it could be covered up, be painted over, and I just told her absolutely not," Castro said. "I won't do that."

Marshall said, "Kudos to that contractor for standing his ground and doing what's right."

Mike says not addressing the source causing moisture can cause mold to come back.

"If you're just painting over it, it's a band-aid on a much bigger problem," said Marshall.

The unidentified renter said, "I can smell it. I smell that mildew. It still smells in here."

"Part of our investigation is to kind of figure out where that's coming from," Marshall said.

It's too early to tell if this renter has mold, or if property managers cut corners to avoid a full remediation.

"Well, because it costs more money," Marshall said.

Texas law doesn't require landlords to disclose high concentrations of mold in rental properties but they are required to address mold concerns after a tenant makes them aware.

"Do they have to be a licensed contractor? No." Marshall explained.

If a licensed mold inspector is hired, property managers must fully follow their mold removal plan.

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Here's a list of resources for licensed mold assessors and remediation.

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