Apartment Inspection

Two of our older children moved to their own apartment recently—yet another sign that we are progressing, albeit ever so slowly.

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?


  1. Personally the empty room should be a writing/reading room for all... or a sewing/knitting/crocheting room!!!!

  2. Thank you for this Andrea, so very helpful! Especially with us moving into our new rental soon. I never thought of having a thermal imaging done! Unfortuanely, we know of no local company that does that here. But, it is a GREAT idea! We plan on using the activated charcoal and tea tree oil. Do you have to use a special kind of diffuser, or will any work?

  3. Sarah,
    of the ones listed on Diffuser World I like the Aroma-Ace. As described,
    "Higher pressure means more abundance of micro-fine oil droplets less than 3 Microns.
    (the size required to penetrate deep into the Olfactory System and enter the blood stream directly.)"

    There are other excellent diffusers I'm sure.

    Another type of excellent essential oil is Thieves Oil.

  4. Thanks for the info Andrea! I have heard of Thieves and read that it's great for killing mold spores! We definately have to air out the new in our rental! It's VOC haven in there right now! I am ordering the activated charcoal, and diffuser tonight and we will open up some windows over the weekend.

  5. Thank you, Andrea! This is so helpful and timely, as always!