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Leading causes of mold growth in NYC apartment buildings

The majority of NYC residents live in apartment buildings, and while many enjoy a number of perks, there are some concerns, too. For example, with so many people living in a building, accidents can happen that can spark mold growth; toilets and bathtubs can overflow in one unit and the apartments underneath them can suffer water damage, for example.

Robert Weitz, the founder of RTK Environmental, said, “The main issue in apartment buildings is that water travels downward. It will travel down through the floors to the ceiling and walls below. When that happens, you are at risk of developing a mold problem.”

Mold thrives in moist, warm conditions, and as long as those conditions are met, it can grow on any organic surface within 24 to 48 hours. Mold is destructive and can cause serious structural damage, but worse, it can be hazardous to your health.

Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of mold growth in New York City’s apartment buildings.

Kitchen Appliances

Damaged kitchen appliances are one of the top causes of mold growth in NYC apartment complexes. Examples include slow leaks from ice makers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Since the water lines are usually hidden, these leaks often go unnoticed and by the time they are spotted, mold is already growing.

Pipe Bursts and Plumbing Issues

Pipe bursts in an apartment are catastrophic. Gallons upon gallons of water can flow through the halls and stairwells, down the walls, across the floors, and through the ceilings. A single pipe burst or plumbing leak can impact dozens of apartments and common areas within the building. The damage needs to be repaired quickly; otherwise, serious mold growth can occur.

Steam Pipes

In older apartment buildings, in particular, steam pipes and radiators can spring leaks inside the walls or ceilings. Those leaks often go unnoticed for weeks or months, which can lead to serious mold growth that also goes unnoticed.

HVAC Systems

Heating and cooling systems are often a source of mold outbreaks in apartment buildings in NYC. This problem is usually the worst in the summer months, when air conditioning systems are being used more. Condensation can build up on HVAC systems. Because condensation is moisture, mold growth can occur. Mold spores can travel through an HVAC system, which can spread the problem throughout the building.

Laundry Rooms

Common laundry areas in apartment complexes are also a common source of mold growth. Water leaks or moisture buildups in washing machines and condensation caused by hot air dryers create can lead to mold growth.

Building Exteriors

The concrete mortar around bricks and windows, known as pointing, can lead to mold growth in apartment complexes, too. Rainwater and moisture can enter apartment buildings through pointing and can colonize and spread throughout the building.

Mold Inspection & Testing New York City has years of experience performing mold assessments. We strongly urge apartment building owners to arrange for regular mold testing to ensure the safety of their residents. To speak with an MI&T representative, call 917.300.0098.

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