Before You Rent Out That Apartment, Check For Signs of Water Infiltration and Mold

New Jersey property managers have enough to worry about without concern about whether a rental unit will make the next tenant sick, or if there will be future problems due to overlooked or unchecked issues. As you go about your repairs and maintenance associated with tenant changeover, AOA Cleaning and Restoration recommends you look in these areas of the property for signs of water infiltration and water damage—whether from flooding, sewage backup, or moisture buildup that can lead to mold growth and other health hazards.

The refrigerator – The drip tray in a frost-free refrigerator could be contaminated with mold, yeast or bacteria. Remove and clean the tray, and if the tray is plastic, place a few tablespoons of salt to deter microbial growth (do not place salt in a metal tray, it will corrode).

Washing machine – Washers sometimes leak, which can generate mold growth beneath the unit, or on the lower few inches of the wall behind it. Move the washing machine and thoroughly clean the area as needed. Front-loading washing machines tend to develop mold growth issues, so clean the interior of the door gasket occasional with a diluted bleach solution or strong cleaning product. Ask tenants to keep the door and detergent dispenser open between loads so air can circulate.

Dryers can also cause problems if not properly vented to the outside. If the dryer vents into a crawl space, for instance, this can lead to excess moisture and mold growth.

Below-grade spaces – basements are damp and therefore, prone to mold and mildew, water seepage or flooding, and sewage backups. If tenants store personal items in the basement, advise them to keep these items elevated/off the floor (providing painted, wall-mounted storage shelves is a good idea).

Work benches, pegboards and built-in wooden shelves are made of organic material that fosters mold so these should be looked at and replaced as needed, whether in the basement, boiler room or the superintendent’s work room. Install dehumidifiers to help keep the air drier during warmer months, and heat the space if possible during colder weather. Inspect the basement perimeter for water leaks or signs of flooding and call in a trained specialist to consult on drainage solutions or professional cleaning and restoration of the space.

While you’re in the basement, check the carpeting as well. This is another mold haven and if water has been seeping underneath and wicked by the carpet, there could be some potential trouble growing underneath. If the basement walls bear evidence of water damage or mold, bring in a trained professional to assess whether sheetrock needs to come down or how to properly clean cement or painted concrete walls.

Cleaning up after water damage

Sometimes it’s hard to detect water damage because the water penetrates structural cavities and creates trapped pockets of moisture that might not be noticeable on the surface. A cleaning and restoration technician who is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has the sophisticated equipment needed to detect this insidious moisture buildup before major, costly repairs are needed. Consider bringing in a certified water cleanup company periodically to check the property as a good proactive measure.

AOA Cleaning and Restoration is IICRC certified as a company, and all our technicians are certified as well. We have the specialized equipment, safety precautions and anti-microbial cleaning products needed to detect, extract, dry and restore any commercial or residential property thoroughly and correctly. Our services range from professional job of water cleanup to contaminant removal to mold mitigation and, if needed, complete restoration of the space from floor to ceiling.

We work quickly and systematically so that your tenants or building occupants are not unduly inconvenienced. Want to know more? Give us a call at (201) 848-8600 to find out more about our cleaning and restoration services for northern New Jersey property managers.

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