In this case, our client, a property owner in Santa Barbara, called because her tenants complained about visible mold. She assumed it was related to high relative humidity due to poor ventilation and an undersized bathroom fan. We recommended a visual inspection rather than mold testing, as visible mold typically indicates elevated mold and moisture levels in the surrounding environment, and forgoing mold testing can save our clients some costs. In such cases, we aim to identify the moisture issues, repair them and then decontaminate the space.
Our inspection confirmed elevated moisture levels in the primary bedroom’s walls and signs of previous water damage, dry rot, and significantly elevated moisture in the crawl space. We also found grading issues that allowed the structure to wick water from oversaturated soil into the walls, explaining the aforementioned high moisture levels in the bedroom.
We determined that rising damp from the grading issues and the stack effect from the crawl space were causing the elevated relative humidity, high moisture levels in the building components, and mold in the indoor environment. We began dehumidifying indoors and the crawl space while the client worked to replace the bathroom fan and began repairing grading issues. Once moisture levels reached adequate levels, we scheduled our decontamination.
Following our decontamination process, post-treatment testing results indicated zero culturable mold remaining in the space. We recommended that the client continue the drying out of the crawl space once the weather allowed for it. The ground under the home was so saturated with water that it would continue to elevate the relative humidity indoors, promoting mold growth if not addressed. In the meantime, our process restored them to a baseline and made the space inhospitable to mold growth.
To see the post-treatment test results, click here.