Transitioning to a new environment brings with it a level of stress and anxiety. How can we be sure it's mold-free? What about the chemical aspect?
The apartment was worth pursuing since it was all electric and only a year old, with no history of water damage. During the walk-through we detected only a faint chemical smell. No plug-ins, no heavy fragrances, and no musty smell. A good, safe home environment should smell like nothing.
The good news about our condition is that our bodies let us know immediately if there is a serious mold issue, something I've encountered three times since leaving our Colorado home. All three times I felt a painful tightening in my chest, which took several days to resolve.
Our next step was to inquire about pesticide sprays. Aside from the initial termite spray used during construction, the apartment had not been sprayed indoors.
Although there was no sign of water damage, we decided to have the apartment inspected using thermal imaging. Infrared thermal imaging will detect hidden areas of moisture. It can also spot structural defects and any potential electrical hazards.
According to this website dedicated to thermal imaging:
Thermal imaging inspections provides us with a picture of a specific condition of a home or building. Infrared cameras allow us the ability to see and locate what the naked eye is unable to detect. Infrared images can capture thermal anomalies from moisture or water damage, roof leaks, stucco, EIFS, chimney staining and window leakage. Infrared Scans are able to locate water and moisture intrusion in buildings by thermal patterns.
Our inspector invited our 11-year-old son to put his hands and feet on the wall to demonstrate the heat-detecting capabilities of the machine.
A thermal imaging inspection can range in cost from $100 to $400, depending on the size of the dwelling and whether or not a full inspection is performed.
Here are some things we did to help remedy the chemical smell:
- Placed activated charcoal in open cups throughout the apartment. Zeolite can also be used.
- Cleaned thoroughly with white vinegar.
- Diffused essential oils like lemon and tea tree oil. (Click here to view one source of diffusers.)
- Ran our air purifier. (We like the Austin.)
The kids are doing well in their new environment. The only question remaining: Who gets the empty room at our house?