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Mold (black) exposure

- Breeze -'s Photo - Breeze - 11 Jun 2019

Hey all,

It's been SO long since I have posted here but know this is a great space to get general knowledge/idea's.

So, I moved into a brand new house just over 4 years ago. It has been discovered there's a leak coming from the ensuite plumbing into the carpet/walls/furniture etc. It wasn't until we showed out real estate agent the wet mark on the carpet that he had use pull out our toy boy. To our shock there is black mold in the carpet, the skirting is bowed, plaster warped, door frame warped from water and the solid timber tall boy that was hiding this issue has absorbed water and black mold. It seems evident based on the amount and layers of water damage that this has been leaking slowly for at least 2 - 3 years.

Ok, so I rent. They've sent a plumber out who said the leak in in the wall between the ensuite and master bedroom so requires the plaster to be cut. He's quoting the job. I got onto the agent about my concerns regarding the black mold spores the the squishy wet, black mold infested carpet that's under that tall boy. She claimed last week she'd get a mold cleaner out to quote and carpet replacement quote. To make matters more interesting the property has been on the market for the last 7 months. Friday is got removed from all real estate sales pages on the internet.

Now to my concerns. I've had ongoing significant respiratory/chest pain issues for at least 18 months now and LOADS of ED visits - it's not my heart but something else. I have to wonder if it's mold spores? Secondly, we have contents insurance but are yet to know if our belongings (Specially, the tall boy) is our insurance or the owners?

WDYT? of all of this. Could this damn black mold be the reason for all my respiratory issues with chest pain - that is not my heart? Also, anyone know specially about black mold and what I need to throw out/replace? Obviously, our tall boy. What about the clothes in it? Or our solid timber bed/mattress etc.? And what about me getting so sick 18 months ago from something ED nurses/doctors can't pin point other than to say it's not my heart but something else.

HELP?

TIA <3
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laridae's Photo laridae 11 Jun 2019

I think I'd replace the mattress. The bed should be fine, just give it a wipe down. Clothes should be fine, just wash them.
The owners won't have content insurance to cover your things. They may have some to cover their contents though. However, you may be out of luck with the insurance anyway, I know when we had a leak in a pipe in the wall they were very particular that it was only covered for sudden and unexpected leaks. Slow leaks are not covered. Ours was behind the washing machine in the laundry.
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too tired to care's Photo too tired to care 11 Jun 2019

it is absolutely possible that the black mould is causing your respiratory issues. I was very close to going into respiratory failure due to living in house full of black mould. My respiratory specialist had been telling me i needed to move out of the house for quite some time but i owned so not so easy to just move when you are paying mortgage and then need to pay for a rental also.

When i moved i took almost nothing from the old house as I did not wish to impact my health any more. So i bought all new furniture, mattresses and bedding for 5 people. Although i had been storing the bedding in a mouldy cupboard and one of our mattresses had mould on it.
It cost us a bomb but it was worth every cent it cost. as i am well and no longer worried about dying from asthma/ pneumonia or respiratory failure. It took about 4 - 6 months after moving for my body and lungs to recover.

If it were me i would move and get a new tall boy as the risk for me would be too great given it was directly on and against the water and mould. But you might determine the risk not so bad.

If you decide to stay make sure the LL also replaces the underlay, the skirting board and door frame and they  need to check and most probably replace the gyprock in the area too.
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Chaotic Pogo's Photo Chaotic Pogo 11 Jun 2019

I’d get rid of textiles in that room that you cannot put through hot wash load with vinegar 2-3 times. So mattress, pillows, some blankets/quilts that won’t wash etc. hats.
Carpets underlay curtains.
Shoes if they can’t be washed or wiped.
then wipe every other item with vinegar or bleach. Every darn item.

Be careful not to accidentally spread the problem to other parts of house. So if item leaves the room it’s either going to the tip or has been cleaned

It is possible to hire HEPA filter things you run for a few days to suck airborne spores away. Ask the mild cleaner about it. At the least leave windows open as much as possible.

If you deal with as much as you can and the source of damp is gone hopefully any remaining lurkers wont grow back.

Willing to bet it is cause of your health issues.
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maurie's Photo maurie 11 Jun 2019

We found mushrooms growing in carpet behind a cupboard in our downstairs granny flat/office.   A pipe had burst in the wall and been leaking for ages.   There was mould everywhere.   We ended up with 2 insurance claims/both contents and building.   All our furniture was taken out and stored while they fixed the problem.   Fixing the problem meant retiling the bathroom, recarpeting, taking down all the plaster and replacing and repainting.   Took months.   They left big blowers down there for a few weeks to dry the whole place out.  

My husband who spent a lot of time down there, its his office, had lots of health issues at the time, including pneumonia, pleurisy, difficulty breathing and general lack of good health.


He is a lot better since the problem was fixed.
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Wahwah's Photo Wahwah 11 Jun 2019

I am definitely highly sensitive to mold. I lived in a very old rental house years ago that had mold and it took a long time to work out that it was the cause of my health issues. I had asthma, chronic coughing, irritated eyes and sinuses and constant ‘ice pick’ headaches. My symptoms ceased when I moved house. I’ve been tested positive for other environmental allergies such as animal hair, lots of grasses etc but nothing sets me off like mold.

I can still tell now, 20 years later, almost immediately when i walk into a house that there is mold hiding somewhere. It was very useful when we were looking to buy a house! Straight away my eyes and nose would start to feel like they are burning and I’d be like ‘nup not this one’. And I have a friend who has mold in her bathroom and I find it very uncomfortable to be in her house for much time.

If you can, I’d look at moving. I wouldn’t be confident that they will be able to deal with the mold you can’t see such as in the walls and below the floor.
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Fossy's Photo Fossy 12 Jun 2019

I would be booking someone to do an air quality test ASAP, if mould is detected in the air you’re well within your rights  to move out at your landlords expense while the problem is rectified, this may be covered by their landlord insurance.
A well regarded tester will be able to advise you on your furniture and soft furnishings, list all items required to be disposed of to be replaced at landlords expense, or their insurance companies depending on their policy.
We have been through similar in Melbourne if you want a recommendation.  
Also ask your agent to organise a air purifier with a hepa filter asap, the asthma foundation has recommended ones on their website.  They can be hired .
Speak to your respiratory specialist about your new found concerns, there are some bloods that can be done but can be difficult to interpret,  but either way may be able to guide your medical team in your treatment
Good luck, hopefully this is the beginning of good health.
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