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Andee77 07-31-2012 07:10 AM

Mold/old building smell problem
I am not sure where to post this question, but I am going to post for best result possible.

We have old building that is rental. The tenant just moved out about a 1 month ago and it has horrible old mold smell inside the store.

Due to repair issue, we have not put up the space for available yet.

But is there a way to get rid of this bad smell?

I have turned on about 5 residental air cleaner to see if smell can be improved, but it is still pretty bad and may need some professional grade.

joecaption 07-31-2012 07:22 AM

It's best to figure out where the smell is coming from, fix that and never has to do it again.

Leaking plumbing behind the walls, leaking wax ring under the toilet, roof leak, plumbing vent that does not go all the way out the roof, leaking windows or siding, leaking basement if there is one, leaking gutters, carpet laid over a concrete floor with no vaper barrier under it, unsealed block walls and floor, can all cause this odor.

If it's a musty smell then you should be using a dehumdifyer.
An ozone generator (which you can rent) would also go a long way to kill the odor.

Andee77 07-31-2012 11:53 AM

Tenant cut off drainage/sewer pipe inside the building and let dirty water run into crawl space for few years before she brought this up to our attention last year.

Even with this kind of horrible act, she did not feel sorry or guilt.
One of main reason we have this smell is probably that situation.
But the area was fixed/repaired by contractor last year.

We did go through one year of legal battle with this woman to evict her from our building.

With current situation, I don't think we have any more water issue. But it is that mustky old smell you can run into time to time from old building.

Also, this building has no ventilation going since no open area to get fresh air going in and out as we have everything closed.

I will see if dehumidifier can help speed up getting rid of this smell.

user1007 07-31-2012 01:34 PM

If you cannot source the odor, you might call an building environmental specialist for a consult and inspection. In the long run it will be cheaper than trying to guess and spending lots of money on the wrong repairs.

Negative ion generators are great in a way. I grew up with them in Silicon Valley with all clean rooms equipped. Hospitals use them to aid healing. If you hook one to a probe down into the soil of a potted plant you may see a growth spurt.

In a postively charged room the negative charged ions go crazy and bounce all over attaching to any particles before they hit a wall. It is amazing the number the things do in clean homes. You can pull a framed piece of the wall after only a week or so and it looks like the homeowners never vacuumed or cleaned.

You can get them with vacuums that supposedly pass charged air through physical filters. Sharper Image used to sell some with in fancing cases for $200-300 which is dramatically overpriced for what they are. Most smoke eaters have negative ion generators. They are not complex nor expensive technology. If you were ever even part audiophile and spun 33.33's you probably had one of those static guns. That was a negative ion generator in about as raw form as you can get. I had a Silicon Valley client that sold the things as hokey little table sculptures. Lightning is one of nature's major negative ion generators which is why it smells nice and fresh after a lightning storm.

Negative ion generators will not help at all with moisture, mold or mildew trapped in walls, sub-flooring and the like. They will not change humidity.

What kind of store did your tenant have by the way? That may offer some clues too. Especially if there were lots of fabrics, paper and cardboard stored.

It sounds like you have some real basic trapped humidity and ventilation issues you cannot blame completely on your tenant. If it got so bad you had to evict your tenant though the person probably did not go out of there way to keep up their leased part of your property. Sorry.

Andee77 07-31-2012 08:31 PM

After one year with legal battle with tenant, I have decided never to talk about it because it is difficult for anyone to imagine what situation we were in and what kind of this tenant is to talk about the whole issue.

The business tenant had is convenient grocery store.

Because she had so much of financial issue from 2009 onward, she did not take care of the building. We live very far and never even thought of checking out this place until she mentioned of floor issue.

She was up with maintenance until 2008 and on and off we were at the store to correct monthly rent, but she never said anything.

From the beginning, she was good tenant when it comes to maintenance, we actually never knew she will cut off sewer pipe and take out HVAC duct system and ceiling panels without asking us.

I have seen Negative Ion generator from tool rentals, but I do believe that depend on rental, they had slightly different type of machine.

Mostly issue is in main building and it is about 1600sq ft with almost 2 story high ceiling, it will be best to rent big machine and leave them for awhile.

I have taken 4 of Sharper Image air cleaner from home and purchased 2 additional air cleaner from Costco about 1 1/2 weeks ago to get rid of this smell.

But when I went to check on smell last Saturday, it did not improve much even with 6 machines running for a whole week.
So, I thought maybe we need to do something different.

I have another contractor coming tomorrrow and hopefully, he can advise me if he has any helpful advise to improve current condition.

joecaption 08-01-2012 06:02 AM

May have to hire a real mold medeation company for this one since it went on for so long.

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