IAQ Testing From 2nd Story Bathtub Leak???

I normally only post in the exteriors forum for roofing and ventilation questions, but I need some advice please.


IAQ Testing From 2nd Story Bathtub Leak???
I have an old 2 unit apartment building.

2 1/2 weeks ago, the trap under the bathtub froze abd ruptured and allowed alot of water from the tub to flood the downstairs unit.

The kids upstairs allowed a full bathtub worth of used water to pour downstairs, even after the first leak was discovered, so that is the quantity of water we are speaking of.

Through old original plaster ceiling, then new 3 year old tongue and groove carsiding ceiling, then soaked the living room carpet and mat. Also, the tenants coush got drenched. Is it cleanable with a deoderizer? It does not look or smell bad to me at all. I know you would need to see it in person, but give a gut reaction to the scenario please.

3 years ago, I had the highest weave carpet and the highest density padding instaled.

It has been dryed out with a blower and a large dehumidifier by Service Master, whom the tenant caled for an immediate emergency service.

Now, the tenant states that her boyfriend immediately has breathing problems upon entering the unit. My wife, who has asthma, was there this morning, since I did not sense any smell or breathing difficulties, and she stated that after being inside for about 15 minutes, even though she did not significantly smell anything, that she had to use her inhaler to clear her breathing passages.

What is the proper IAQ testing procedure and remediation to have done, so that there are no lingering adverse health affects?

Please tell me the right things to have done and how to justify it with the insurance company to get reimbursed, with legitimate reasoning.

I am probably going to replace the carpet and the padding.

I have not yet heard back from the insurance adjuster, from American Family, but he has been in contact with the Service Master franchise owner.

Thank You,


Service Master is a reputable company. In response to your questions:

The couch should be cleanable.

The ceiling should be checked with a moisture probe to see if it’s dry.Relative humidity should be under 50% RH. If drying took place within 48 hrs. you should be o.k. Having said that the ceiling cavity may need to be opened up & inspected. Products like Benefect could be applied to control odour & mould. The Service Master guy should know this. IAQ testing is expensive & in my opinion the last resort. Just my 2 cents. Hope it helps!


If the damage was cleaned up quickly (2 - 3 days) and the area was dehumidified properly (service master usually does a good job) then there should be no problem.

If the tenents complain, have a mold clearance test run with air samples. If they come back OK, you are good.

I am a novice regarding this. I will be in touch with Service Master later this afternoon. Is that something that they can do, or do I need to hire a specialty company for this procedure? If so, what title would they go under in the yellow pages?

By the way, if you know anyone in the NW suburbs of Chicago as a referral, I would gladly call them first. Carpentersville, IL, to be exact.

Yes, this particular tenant will complain. Although she is clean and pays her rent timely, she is anal compulsive regarding these types of issues. Well, maybe not anal compulsive, but adament about health concerns. I think she has heard too many stories and feels that every small issue is major one. I even had to have the ducts cleaned our, shortly after she moved in, which was inexpensive, but even the guy who did that service stated they were not severely dirty or laden with mold spores, which she was concerned about.

Thanks for the quick responses, by the way.


Service Master does not do air clearance testing. Any reputable remediation company does not do their own clearance testing.
Usually an Industrial Hygienist who is certified in mold needs to do the clearance testing. Most Industrial Hygienist are not certified in mold. There are a few inspectors like me who do clearance testing but only under an Industrial Hygienist. I am kinda like a Nurse Practitioner and the Industrial Hygienist is the doctor. The inspector needs to have extensive training in mold like those excepted by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. A mold inspector has to follow a mold testing protocol when he clearance tests, an Industrial Hygienist who is certified in mold does not.
As far as the humidity in the building, I have always been taught to keep the humidity below 40 percent. The humidity should never reach over 40 percent for no longer than two days. It mainly depends on how high the temperature is. The higher the temperature is, the lower the humidity should be. This is called wet ball, calling it a dew point makes more sense to me…

Ahh that is horrible - i my neighbors had a very simmilar problem - the as well had to redo their whole flooring - that was a mass!
I hope that it works better for you :slight_smile:

With all do respect, wrong.

Clearance tests only measure what is currently in the air during an isolated point in time. Get a full mold inspection, with IR and moisture tests, along with air tests, etc.

I am uneasy with some very qualified educated HI advising others concerning mold/asbestos issues that they do not have experience or training. Why would someone that has trained for so many years to be a qualified HI dismiss the training and experience needed to properly judge these environmental issues.

Are you serious; if you feel that way-why ever have a home inspection, why ever go to a doctor for preventative medicine, etc.

You can get a qualified mold inspection including IR, moisture testing, UV light inspection, air testing, swabs, etc done for less than $350. The costs of remediation, medical tests for the tenant, loss of income from loss of tenant, future damage because you did not find the problem, etc will be tiny in comparison to the $350 it would take for a qualified inspection.

I do agree with the post above, never hire a mold remediation company to complete a mold inspection. It should always be completed by an independent firm with training, insurance, etc.

What a dilemma for you and your renters. If needed, I do mold testing/sampling in that area as I live about 20 minutes away and would be glad to offer any type of assistance you may need. My info is at the bottom of this post.

What a dilemma for you and your renters. I would be happy to assist you in any way possible as I live about 30 minutes away from Carpentersville. I perform mold testing and air sampling for just such a circumstance. Give me call at either of the numbers listed below and let’s see if we can get this unfortunate experience behind you!

Just a thing to consider too is that when water sits unprocessed for an extended amount of time it can deteriorate in cleanliness without visible mold growth. Other microbes to consider is bacteria. Even if the structure dries there can be a release of endotoxins. Perhaps having a qualified professional diagnose the property would be a wise decision. For a reference you should look at the IICRC S500 (Standard & Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration) which describes these situations and the professionals that handle different parts of a claim. I think you can get more information on that at www.iicrc.org. I’ve also written on it at www.SolutionsIEC.com/water_damage.html. You can find remediators listed at that site too if you decide you need their help.

This was from one year ago and has been taken care of.

Thank you for the offer though.


My gosh I should have seen the posting date. I hope everything went well and all were satisifed with the outcome.