Mold can become a huge health and financial problem for condominiums—particularly self contained single structures (towers). The air coils in the air handlers, which bring in air from the outside, will often breed mold spores and bring in bacteria from the outside air. The humid coils are ideal for the growth and spread of the spores and bacteria. From the air handler they travel throughout the building. Mold is not necessarily a problem for old buildings. The relatively new Akoya Condo on Miami Beach has already had to address mold issues that entailed, in some areas, up to 2 million mold spores per square inch (according to Puroair).
Dealing with mold can become extremely expensive for condominium associations. Drywall and ceiling tiles have to be removed; remaining surfaces have to be treated with Clorox and re-painted. There are chemicals designed to kill the mold that are so toxic that inhaling its fumes for prolonged periods will leave you sick. The smell is so nauseating that no one in their right mind would stick around to become sick. Buildings have to be unoccupied for the duration of the treatment. Mold infestation is simply to difficult and costly to contain and prevent. Given the high level of humidity of South Florida, a permanent solution seems a distant prospect.
There may, however, be a solution: Germicidal lamps. Developed 60 years ago in a Duke University lab, these lamps were first intended to purify the air of hospitals. The lamps are so powerful that any bacteria, virus, and other microbes exposed to it disintegrate—DNA and all. If looked at long enough, they can burn the thin membrane over one’s cornea. However, these powerful lamps can be installed in air handlers to purify the source of mold infestation. More and more condominiums, including the Akoya, are resorting to installing germicidal lamps in their air handlers. Doing so basically eliminates any possibility of mold infestation. Additionally, it purifies the air of the community thus reducing the chances of spreading sickness through the air system. Each lamp can range from $500 to over $2000. Still, compared to the considerable health risks associated with mold and the high cost of dealing with it, the expense is worth considering.