Beware of Mold Problems in Vacant Houses, Warns 1-800-GOT-MOLD? Founder

Jun 28, 2012, 06:00 ET from 1-800-GOT-MOLD?

PRINCETON N.J., June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Vacation home owners and people buying homes that have been vacant for any period of time need to be alert to the possibility of an indoor mold problem, advised Jason Earle, founder of New Jersey mold inspection company 1-800-GOT-MOLD? ®.

Preventing mold problems in a home you're closing up, for any reason, is not difficult to do, Earle says. In an article on the company's website,, Earle offers instructions and advice on how to prepare a house for closure without inviting mold in as a guest.

"Nearly everyone can recall the distinctly musty odor of a vacation home left empty during the off season," Earle writes. "Few people give it much thought, but that specific odor is a surefire indicator of indoor mold growth, an unpleasant and unhealthy thing to have happening in a place where you intend to kick back and relax for a few days, weeks, or perhaps months.

"This is especially important if you or any of your fellow vacationers have asthma, allergies or sinus problems. While most people seem to think this simply comes with the territory, in reality it is completely avoidable."


Adding to the importance of this issue is the current real estate market, which is flooded with foreclosures. A foreclosed home is highly likely to have been vacant for a long time before you as a bargain hunter find it.  If you're lucky, the house won't have been gutted or vandalized – and you can usually tell if this is the case by peeking in the windows.

However, you can't get a whiff of a mold problem from the outside. This requires at least a physical inspection and a good nose. It might also require a professional mold inspection and mold testing. Mold remediation is often a costly undertaking, and a house that's been closed up for a significant time can be so infested that it's cheaper to tear it down and build new than to remediate and repair it. This has a huge impact on your decision whether to risk buying it.

If you are seeking to buy a foreclosed home, find a way to get a thorough look at it, inside and out, before you make a deal.

It's important to know that it doesn't take much for a vacant house to develop a mold problem, Earle says. It doesn't require a roof or siding leak, a broken window or a plumbing failure. All it takes is humidity and condensation. So, a home that's left inadequately heated in winter or is not air-conditioned or dehumidified during warm weather can develop enough moisture to start the mold-growth cycle without any other defect.

In his blog at, Earle writes: "When you close up a house, whether it's at the beach, in the mountains, or in a development, things start to happen that weren't happening when people were there. Humidity rises and falls with the weather, and when it rises it gives rise to mold growth in places you wouldn't expect in an occupied home.

'Why does this happen? It's primarily because you've decided to save money by turning off the heat and/or AC. This turns the house into an incubator for mold. Think of a sandwich in a plastic bag left outdoors."

The bottom line? A mold problem in a vacant home or a vacation home will invariably cost much more to clean up than any amount of money that was saved on the utilities.

The full article is accessible from the blog post cited above.

For other interesting and informative articles about mold and indoor air quality, see:

1-800-GOT-MOLD? provides, from its base in Princeton NJ, mold inspections, mold testing, indoor allergen testing, and mold remediation consulting, as a consumer service and in cooperation with health-care providers and/or insurers.

1-800-GOT-MOLD? is a subsidiary of Mycelium Holdings LLC. .

Websites: ;

Contact: Jason Earle, 1-800-468-6653 ext. 102,