Q: Hello! I have severe mold allergies and recently moved to the Pacific Northwest. I was careful to check for signs of dampness when we were house hunting—and even turned down a great place because of a hint of mustiness in the back bedroom—but, after a year of various illnesses, and despite air purifiers and dehumidifiers, I just tested my home and mold was detected. My question is this: How can we, as renters, ensure that our next place is not (or is less) moldy? Unlike homebuyers, we can't request extensive testing, especially in a competitive rental market. I'm longing for some Ghostbusters-style walk-through "mold meter," but am not sure such a thing exists...
Should we be looking for a certain age or style of construction? Should we find a place with the bedrooms upstairs? Our current house in from the 1920s with an unfinished basement, and I've wondered if a newer structure would be preferable (we can't afford something "built green," etc.), but I've spoken with folks with houses from the 1970s and onward with terrible damp. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks very much. -Sent by Nelleke
Editor: What a great question! Readers, do you have any tips for determining whether a home is mold-free? And any advice for people house-hunting during the dry(er) summer, so they won't be unpleasantly surprised when the rainy season begins? In the meantime, I hope somebody is currently working on a P.K.E. Meter-like device that will be widely available for $20.
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