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I recently bought a condo and noticed that there was what appears to be a dark colored mold growing on this gypsum board that is bolted to the cement foundation in my basement. On the top of the gypsum board is fiberglass insulation that also has a blackish mold on it. This wall is adjacent to the outside back yard. A maintainer from the condo quickly inspected the area of stated that the cause may have been from a hose coming from the heat pump of my neighbors house because when their air conditioning is on, water is periodically coming out of the hose so therefore the condo association may not be liable. The Condo Association has already assumed liability in my case for when rain water seeps through my foundation and causes damage. They have already installed a water mitigation system in my basement and put in a sump pump. My question is, is it possible for a heat pump air conditioning unit to put out so much water that it would actually come into my basement above the foundation? I was also wondering, if my basement was properly sealed, would I even have to worry about water seepage problems to begin with?

Also, what would be the best way to go about cleaning this if the condo association refuses to fix it? It looks like the previous owners may have used bleach because the gypsum board was slightly discolored and I could see wipe marks in the blackish mold.

EDIT:

The previous owner did State on the disclosure that there were water seepage issues that the condo association has already assumed liability for before I bought the condo. My issue now is that a maintainer on behalf of the condo association came out and said that it the water coming into the basement is likely due to the air condition he pump next door draining water near my foundation therefore he's claiming that they may not be liable. I am going to add to pictures of the heat pump next door to me. I think either way they should be liable whether it's from rain or the heat pump.

Also, in the picture, the brownish hose is an extension that is connecting to the drainage hose coming from my neighbors house. The extension drainage hose frequently falls off so the water does drain within a few inches from my foundation when that extension to the hose falls off

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Yes, that's definitely black mold. Mold doesn't take a lot of water to grow, but from the looks of it that one is still actively growing.

The brownish hose in the picture looks like clear vinyl tubing. If that's a drain extension, where does the main hose end, right at the wall flashing? Could the joint between these two be leaking into the wall? Or if the brownish hose comes loose, could the main hose drip/drain into the wall? Like Ed Beal said, an a/c unit can condense several gallons of water per day, more than enough to cause the mold you see if it's leaking into your wall.

As Lee Sam mentioned, I noticed the gap at the top of the box where the hoses come through the wall. Any rain that hits the siding could run down, land on top of that box, and run into the wall. I didn't notice any streaks on the siding to indicate such drippage, but there is rust on the top edge of the metal access hatch beside the heat pump, under the siding.

Whether the water comes from the "seepage" issue, rain leaking in on top of the vinyl box, or the condensate drain, the leakage fortunately looks very localized. Unfortunately, there could be further damage inside the wall including more mold and wood rot. You'll have to remove the fiberglass in that corner above the foundation and that piece of drywall on the basement wall to see. If you may pursue legal action against your neighbor or the condo association you'll need good photos and documentation of anything you or a professional does.

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Two things: 1) if the seller didn’t tell you about the problem, then they could be liable, and 2) no, the neighbor’s heat pump can’t put out enough moisture to cause the mold unless it’s piped directly into your condo.

1) I testify frequently as an expert witness for the buyer when the seller did not disclose the problem. You mentioned the “smear and swipe” marks that look like someone tried to clean it up. I’d take pictures and then contact an attorney.

2) Yes heat pumps have condensation and is USUALLY pumped or drained to the exterior. However, sometimes it is dispersed in a flat sheetmetal pan and it air dries and evaporates...that’s how little moisture we’re talking about.

There are “ground-water” heat pumps, but they are few and far between. I doubt if you have that kind of heat pump. (If you could add a pic of your neighbor’s heat pump, that would help. Or, ask your maintenance tech...he should know.)

  • The previous owner did State on the disclosure that there were water seepage issues that the condo association has already assumed liability for before I bought the condo. My issue now is that a maintainer on behalf of the condo association came out and said that it the water coming into the basement is likely due to the air condition he pump next door draining water near my foundation therefore he's claiming that they may not be liable. I am going to add to pictures of the heat pump next door to me. I think either way they should be liable whether it's from rain or the heat pump. – Justin Todd Nov 20 '17 at 18:19
  • Also, in the picture, the brownish hose is an extension that is connecting to the drainage hose coming from my neighbors house. The extension drainage hose frequently falls off so the water does drain within a few inches from my foundation when that extension to the hose falls off. – Justin Todd Nov 20 '17 at 18:25
  • It won't take much of a leak to cause mold, I would be looking to see if it is dripping inside the wall and running to your side. If this is the case it only takes a few drips to cause mold. The other thing I see is a crack line ? Just to the right of the fittings sealing this and making sure there is no more water is the first step. Infa red cameras do help pinpoint leaks where the material is wet shows up at a different tempature if you like gadgets like I do. – Ed Beal Nov 20 '17 at 23:25
  • @EdBeal Look at that square block-out for the hoses to extend out of the building and through the siding. It doesn’t fit properly and looks like it could leak a ton of water. I’d worry about that bad installation before I’d worry about a few drips from a heat pump dripping outdoors and leaking back into the condo. Unless that condensation hose is leaking inside, you’ve got no case against a condensation drain hose leaking outside over rain leaking inside due to bad construction. – Lee Sam Nov 21 '17 at 6:24
  • A window AC unit can drain over a gallon a day a whole house 10 gallons a day in humid climates even more, if the wall leaks at all from water on the outside the concrete was not properly sealed. But if there are even a few drips a day inside the wall this is enough to cause mold problems. – Ed Beal May 6 at 14:20
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Is it possible for a heat pump air conditioning unit to put out so much water that it would actually come into my basement above the foundation?

  • Yes. The cooling line from the heat pump to create enough condensate to create a mold problem. However, It seems more likely that condensate line from the blower is leaking. Your neighbor should fix this / could just pipe directly to drain / a standpipe within his own unit.

I was also wondering, if my basement was properly sealed, would I even have to worry about water seepage problems to begin with?

  • Yes. Your basement likely already is properly sealed, yet you have mold.

What would be the best way to go about cleaning this if the condo association refuses to fix it?

  • You have a right to protect your own property and can proceed without the consent of your association and neighbor. Document your attempts to contact your neighbor (my guess is he's liable) and association. You should allow 'adequate' time for a response from them (ask a lawyer what the duration might be), but then can call someone to have the repairs made. DO NOT do any work your self, as you'll need documentation justifying the costs of repair, and that the work was necessary when you bring him to court to be reimbursed for your expenses.
  • If your building is protected against rain, I’d think you’d have a difficult time with a claim against a condensate drain. – Lee Sam May 6 at 14:47
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  1. You do indeed have a mold problem.
  2. If you live in a humid climate, an A/C will dump quite a bit of water.
  3. It may be a rain problem.
  4. Whatever the source of the water, you have to get it away from the house or seal the house properly so water can't get through the exterior wall.
  5. Once the growth of the mold is arrested; that will happen when the area has completely dried out, paint the area with 'Kills' or other mold mitigation paint.

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