This townhouse inspection in Vancouver was in a newer development, and the unit was occupied by a large family. It was also home to one of the worst cases of mold growth I’ve ever come across.
As soon as I arrived I noticed the moisture on the inside of the windows – a warning sign of poor ventilation.
The bathroom fans in these units are controlled by a timer, located in the bedroom closet. The building code, at the time the building was constructed, required one exhaust fan to run for at least 8 hours a day. This is important – newer buildings are more air-tight, and require mechanical ventilation to prevent humidity buildup. The timer switch was hidden behind some items in the closet, and it was turned off. Apparently the family never ran the fan during showers, either:
Condensation and humidity levels in the home were very high, and mold growth was found on the walls and windows. Thermal imaging (below) showed extreme levels of condensation at the colder exterior walls.
There was a closet located right next to the washroom, which is a bad design to begin with – We pulled one suit jacket from the closet, and this is what it looked like:
That white powder was thick mold growth, which covered most of the clothes in the closet, and several pillows, blankets and the carpet.
The owners had to perform a full mold remediation of the home, and dispose of many personal belongings. They also had to remove and replace some affected drywall.
Always run your bathroom fan according to the builder’s directions!
Author David Fairbairn is a certified, licensed home inspector serving Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. He has been featured in the media and has contributed to "24" Newspaper, and Global TV. He has spent years working with residential and commercial building projects, and holds a Power Engineering License in BC. Why not give him a call for your next Home Inspection? Call 604 395-2795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today!