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Got Mold? – Revenge of the Cladosporium

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The photograph that accompanies this post is the beginning of what will likely be around a $25,000 project. Do I have your attention yet? The mold testing came back on this home a couple of weeks ago and the black yummy stuff you see depicted is one of several kinds of mold called Cladosporium. The closet you see in the image was home to the air handler of an ac system in a lovely two-story home in southern Broward County.

Why $25,000 you ask? The simple answer is that most of the first floor of the home is going to need to be completely remodeled because of unchecked mold growth. What started behind the air conditioner soon spread through the duct system contaminating first a closet, and then most of the first floor ceiling and then down the interior of several walls. I can tell you that we have a not so happy homeowner who is going back and forth with insurance adjusters, mountains of paperwork, and the general grief of three weeks of remodeling.

I know deep down in your heart you are just wishing for the same type of experience, right? Somehow I didn’t really think that was the case. So, how did this all happen you ask? Our unlucky homeowner had a new air conditioner installed just a mere three years ago and he stated that the closet most certainly did not look as it does now. For the record, and this is in the homeowner’s own words, he bought the air conditioner from “that company” because they were the cheapest quote he got. When we removed the air handler from the closet for the mold guys to start their work the entire back of the supply plenum just fell off. Plenum is the technical term from the ductwork that comes off the top of a typical air handler. A supply plenum is supposed to be sealed all the way around and attached to the air handler itself. So, our cheapest company just half shoved a piece of ductwork in the back of the plenum and probably said, “Oh don’t worry about it, he will never see it.”

A little more on the science of what happened to our closet. Mold needs three things to be super happy; moisture, a food source and darkness. When air is first leaving the top of the unit that is when it is as cold and wet as it is ever going to be, so over however long a period, you had forty or fifty percent of the air that should have been going into the home blowing on a wall three inches away. I think the mold was happy considering that spot in our photograph is a good two feet wide and four feet long.

Of course the moral to the story here is that you again get what you pay for, and the cheapest company may not give you the results and peace of mind you deserve when it comes to repairs in your home. This is a lesson our displeased homeowner is in the middle of learning the hard way. Until next week my friends, just remember… good, fast, cheap — you get to pick two. If it’s good and fast it’s not gonna be cheap and if it’s fast and cheap it’s not gonna be good!

House Whisperer out!


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