It’s that time of year again when college students move into dorm rooms and apartments. It’s also that time that many discover they are not feeling so great in their new accommodations, especially if they are mold sensitive.
This is just the situation I found myself in last week as I helped move my mold-sensitive daughter into her apartment for college. It’s also something I get asked this time of year as I get called on to do mold inspections.
So here are some of the most common issues and treatments I recommend for apartment and dorm life.
The Common Problems
The top problem I see in dorms and apartments is AC units contaminated with mold. Check if a moldy or musty odor is coming out of the vents. If so, contact maintenance so they can check on it and hopefully resolve it. Very often mold can grow on coils or the drain pain where water gathers, as well as in the ducting or on the registers where condensation can occur.
Inspect rooms for possible water damage around any water source including shower, kitchen, vanity, hot water heater, water lines, etc. If there is water damage or even staining, there could be mold.
Look at the wall trim for bowing, buckling, or stain as it is a sure sign of water damage and a great chance for harboring hidden mold.
For sheetrock walls or ceilings, you can often see what looks like a bubble or peeling. If there is a stain that doesn’t dry out within 48 hours, it is a great indication of a water pocket and mold.
Try Calling Maintenance First
If you do find a suspected issue call maintenance and tell them you are mold sensitive and concerned about it. The maintenance team will not always be sympathetic, or even able to address all the issues. If you are unable to get help from them, you then have a choice, maintain it with some steps I’m about to share, or you might need to find another place to live. That is just what I had to recommend to a family last week whose son is mold sensitive and feeling the effects of being in a dorm.
Reducing Mold Issues
I recommend folks get an air purifier for the dorm room or the bedroom of an apartment where the most time will be spent.
If the student is mold sensitive, and they are coming from a home that is routinely treated with our Haven products, you have a few options;
Since using HavenFog isn’t usually an option, HavenMist can be used to treat a small area or even a room, and won’t draw the attention that fogging would.
Mold Treatment Candle
Our good friends at CitriSafe make a great product called the Remedy Air Maintenance Candle. For a student that likes candles, these are a simple way to reduce mold that can contaminate the air.
Bring in some fresh air. If you have a window, open it occasionally to exchange your room air with outside air.
College should be a time of new experiences, new friends, and new learning — and getting sick from mold shouldn’t be a part of it. If after trying these tips you still have issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at BioBalance. So here is to a year of learning, good times, and no mold illness.