Harmful mold invades one woman's home

You may have a problem in your home and not even know it. It can hurt your health and cost thousands of dollars to repair.

The problem is mold, and many people like Germaine Thomas never thought it could cause so much damage.

For many years, it was an invisible enemy in Germaine’s home. She says it's caused health problems.

And just recently, she came face to face with the problem. She discovered it while remodeling her bedroom. It hid underneath a layer of wallpaper.

Germaine believes the culprits are the sprinklers outside her home. She says the water has eroded the stucco on the outside and seeped through her walls.

Germaine lives in a gated community and says the Homeowner’s Association should be responsible, since they put the sprinklers there in the first place.

Germaine says the home owners' association's solution to the problem was covering the sprinklers with these white caps. But they left one of them uncovered, and Germaine says it's still causing a problem.

Newschannel 3 went to the Monarch Group, which manages Germaine's community, Vista del Montanas. They refused to comment.

Germaine filed a complaint with the Monarch Group's insurance company. They denied it in this letter. And her own insurance company just stopped covering mold and fungus damage.

Germaine called an industrial hygienist to analyze the mold. He told her it could cost her more than one thousand dollars to fix the problem, because half of this wall may have to be knocked out.

"Many people think that because it's such a dry climate in the desert that we don't have a mold problem out here,” says industrial hygienist Joe Johnson. “But, that's not the case."

Germaine says her only hope now is to take legal action, so she doesn't have to fight the mold problem alone.

Germaine's hoping to get the Homeowner's Association to pay for the problem. To keep this from happening to you, the best advice: inspect your home before you buy and ask questions of your Homeowner’s Association. And make sure you know what your insurance covers.

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