The Toronto Community Housing Corp. is back in the news – and not in a good way. The public housing authority recently made headlines because of a senior’s building on Cavell Avenue that is plagued by a host of problems related directly to maintenance, or rather, a lack of it, including mold.
Tenants have reported black mold growing around windows despite repeated attempts to clean it away. They’ve noted health problems, including sinus issues. A musty scent was the tip-off that mold infestation existed somewhere in the apartments. Tenants mentioned that leaking windows had been caulked repeatedly rather than replaced, which, if true, is what led to the accumulation of moisture and mold growth.
Vigilance is Essential
A building is made up of a number of systems designed to, among other things, keep out moisture but those systems can deteriorate or fail in various ways. You need to keep an eye on vulnerable areas.
There are other areas where water is likely to enter a home but windows and the area around them are among the most common. Once rain or melting snow has entered the walls via a leaking window, you really have no idea where it will end up.
- Check your windows for drafts – and therefore leaks
- Check the caulking in particular as it will deteriorate long before the window frame itself
- In the case of basement windows, the problem may be the grade of the ground outside – if it has built up, it may be causing water to drain back towards the building instead of away from it
- Be thorough – avoid makeshift repairs that are probably just as likely to result in further leaks down the road
- Consider window replacement – new designs and technology have led to a number of improvements and new windows are more energy efficient as well as being leak resistant
Not Just a Public Housing Problem
It’s certainly not a problem that’s confined to public housing. In times of economic uncertainty and downturns, many homeowners are tempted to put off needed repairs, renovations and maintenance or to ‘make do’ with patchy roof work and more. The problem is that mold doesn’t wait for better times; in fact, it can begin to grow within 24-48 hours if the conditions are right.
Where there is moisture, there is a potential for mold infestation and if there is chronic, lingering moisture you can be virtually certain that it has begun to grow. No matter where it appears, when mold comes back repeatedly, you need professional help.
Don’t Let it Happen to You
Mold exposure is no joke and you may not know that mold even exists in your home until it affects your health. If you suspect any leaks or lingering moisture in your home, or if you’re experiencing flu-like or respiratory symptoms you can’t explain, give yourself peace of mind.
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