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How to check for mold when moving into a new apartment

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

Checking the bathroom, water heater, dishwasher, washer, and ac unit for leaks, discoloration, or musty smells are a good way to check that an apartment may have mold but not always 100%. Checking the reviews can indicate how complexes treat mold cases and if they have any at all, but sometimes they do not give all of the information. The best bet is always to have a mold specialist inspect the apartment or have the apartment certified by them.  

Things to look for apartment mold


If there is constant water dripping underneath the sinks, at the water heater, behind the washer, behind the dishwasher, in the vents, in the AC unit, or from the ceiling, then there is most likely going to be a problem with mold in the future. 

Discoloration on the wall

If there are spots on the wall, floor, or any organic building material, there is a possibility that there is mold growth behind or on top of the surface. The discoloration can also be water staining, which can signify that mold has the right environment to grow. 

Musty smell

Sometimes a simple whiff of the air can give you all you need to know about the mold. If it is stuffy, hard to breathe, smells musty, or irritates your nose and lungs from too much ingestion, then there may be a sign of mold. This can also be an indication of high moisture content, low oxygen content, and bad HVAC systems. Bad HVAC systems and vents can also cause dust buildup in the vents and irregular temperature changes, giving mold a food source and moisture to grow. 

Flooring discoloration 

Discolored floors can be an indication of mold, water damage, or improper cleaning. It is hard to tell unless looking directly at mold growth. Still, if the carpet smells musty and discolored, it is best to test it for mold. 

Constant allergies

Constant allergies from previous tenants or as you are touring can be an indication. Some people are sensitive to mold immediately. 

Places to check for apartment mold

AC unit 

Your AC unit has a rapidly changing temperature, so it can cause moisture to build up and drip. This is especially worse if it is enclosed in a tight space or close to the ceiling.  


Bathrooms typically trap in a lot of moisture during their use. If the bathroom fan turns on with the light, that is a good sign that there is proper moisture management for the bathrooms in the unit. If there isn’t, then check above the shower and below the shower. It would also be good to check underneath the sink to look for wood warping and if it was simply painted over. 

Water heater 

Water heaters typically have condensation or leaks occasionally. Ensure to check if there is warping, discoloration, or signs of mold around the unit and its piping. 


Taking a flashlight under the dishwasher and smelling the dishwasher can give a decent indication of mold. Still, there may be some behind that is impossible to tell without an inspection or pulling out the dishwasher.  

Washing machine

Check the washing machine connections. Sometimes these connections are not done properly and could cause leaks. Other times the dishwasher can overflow, and if the water was stagnant for long periods of time, then mold could develop under the washer or in the washing room. 

Window and sliding door seals 

Windows and sliding doors could be improperly sealed or damaged over time, building and letting in moisture. A simple glance over can let you know if there is substantial mold.

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