Author Topic: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?  (Read 17780 times)

sweettea

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Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« on: December 14, 2015, 08:09:24 AM »
Within the past week, I've noticed mold appearing in my house. Book spines, wicker baskets, windows, windowsills, and doors, ... anything that has a porous surface and some that don't. We have a indoors drying rack and keep the house on 58, so we do get a lot of condensation on windows, and I'm assuming this is just that our air is too moist.

What is the mustachian way to cure this? Do we quest for a dehumidifier on Craigslist? Use the dryer instead of the clothesrack? Wave a UV lamp over the affected areas? Something else?

Thanks!

(Edit: I'm in Boston, it's only occasionally warm enough to open windows these days.)
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 08:39:21 AM by sweettea »

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 08:23:32 AM »
Open your windows.

Which is to say, I don't know where you are and what your weather conditions are, but your problem is too much humidity in the house, and provided it is not humid weather outside, then opening the windows and letting the house air out will stop the problem getting worse.  To manage the problem through the winter, you need a combination of airing out (to get rid of the humidity created by breathing people and pets, baths and showers, washing up, cooking, damp washing, etc.) and heating.  Dehumidifiers and air exchangers are the technical ways to manage humidity, but humanity managed to keep mold at bay for centuries through simple good housekeeping - dry clothes outside when at all possible, and open your windows and air the house out daily.  Bathrooms need extractor fans in use or an open window after every shower/bath, and don't let the condensation from the bathroom into the rest of the house.

Everything that is covered in mold needs to be cleaned.  If you get your house dry and warm enough, the mold on many items will dry and die and can be dusted/brushed off.  Some things (eg black mold on painted walls) are better washed with bleach or mold killer, but of course that adds to the humidity unless you go through the airing/warming process afterwards.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 08:24:38 AM »
You may just need to use the dryer and/or keep your thermostat higher.

garion

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 09:29:05 AM »
A dehumidifier is probably the best solution. Opening your windows won't help if it's also humid outside. We have been getting a lot of mold lately due to it being humid but not hot or cold enough to have the ac or heat on. We got a dehumidifier for about 200 on amazon, but you could probably find one cheaper secondhand.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 09:30:48 AM »
I'm assuming no garage? Because if you moved the clothes drying to the garage....that would probably take a big load off. You could just open the door once a day to release the moisture

When I lived in New York a lot of people had storm doors/windows. Or little storm porches where there was an outside door, 6 feet space,  and then an inside door. Can you put the drying rack there? If not: can you get one of those multiple hook clothes 'over the door' hanger things, and dry stuff there?

If not: I think you should put the drying rack in the bathroom, close the door, and put the fart fan on for an hour. Can't use that much electric and at least you can see if that helps enough.

And run the oven hood fan when you're doing major soup boiling I guess.

I had to run a dehumidifier 24/7 on the Oregon coast...otherwise everything had black fur....disgusting. And the people who clean mold for a living use an exceptionally high percentage of alcohol on it, not bleach.

I was wiping the windowsills with straight Clorox and a week later they had black fur on them....alcohol was good for much longer.


Sibley

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2015, 09:37:55 AM »
Given that you don't want to open your windows in winter (completely agree - Chicago here!), either get a dehumidifier or turn the heat up some. Really not sure which is more effective in your situation.

Also, if you have allergies/asthma, children or old people in the house, etc, you need to fix this ASAP. Mold can cause serious health problems for those susceptible, and be on the lookout for health issues in general.

Good luck!

StacheInAFlash

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 10:49:46 AM »
Seriously, turn up the heat and go get a dehumidifier ASAP! You are being a penny wise and pound foolish right now. The money you're saving by keeping your house at 58, not using the clothes dryer, and not investing in a dehumidifier is going to go right out the window when your house is condemned for mold! You will pay thousands and thousands of dollars to get mold taken care of, and who knows what your homeowners policy will say covering that if they determine it is caused by homeowner "neglect". Seriously! Alarm bells should be going off in your head right now! I'm not saying you need to go total unmustachian here and crank the heat to a permanent 78 and use the dryer for everything; but, getting the house back up to the mid-60s and dropping $150 for a dehumidifier (or getting on used on CL if there is one available for pick up TODAY), and using the clothes dryer a bit more for the next few months are smart, commonsense things that will end saving you money in the end.

TrMama

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 11:34:04 AM »
Agree that you are being penny wise and pound foolish. You need to do all of the following:

1. Turn up the heat for a few hours and then open the windows for at least 10 minutes. This will help flush all the humid air out of the house.

2. Get a dehumidifier. Run it for several hours every single day.

3. Stop drying clothes inside. Only do this outside.

4. Get a low flow showerhead. The lower hot water ouput causes less steam. Run the bathroom fan for an hour after each shower.

I live in the PNW where mold and cool humidity are a serious problem. We do all of the above and don't have a mold problem.

Le Poisson

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2015, 11:41:51 AM »
House or apartment? Central heat or baseboards? Attic fan? Number of residents in the house? Loads of questions beyond just what town you are in.

I see mold as an air turnover issue. Many tightly built houses now have mold issues because the air movement isn't there to transport warm, moist indoor air out. Most houses around here now require an air exchanger as part of the building code. If it is working properly, that should help with the issue, but if you are in an older apartment, maybe not.

Here is CHMC's factpage on your problem - it has a number of low cost solutions like bathroom fans, etc.

http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/61033.pdf?fr=1439564219363
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 11:45:56 AM by Prospector »

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2015, 12:36:37 PM »
Even in Boston in winter, windows can and should be opened for ventilation, even if just for a few minutes each morning.  How do you think people kept mold out of all those old houses before air con and air exchangers and dehumidifiers?  Opening the windows is the mustachian answer to the problem.

jda1984

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2015, 01:06:16 PM »
If you have a bath fan and/or range hood that exhausts outside, run those 24x7 for a while.  It will pull cooler, drier air into your place and exhaust the higher humidity air out.  We have a pretty tightly build house (1995 construction) that doesn't have a heat exchanger so we run one bath fan all the time and the problems with high humidity have largely been resolved.

Older buildings that aren't as tight tend not to have this problem (at least in our area) as there are more spaces for air to exchange "naturally" via drafts/cracks, etc.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2015, 01:14:28 PM »
Seriously, turn up the heat and go get a dehumidifier ASAP! You are being a penny wise and pound foolish right now. The money you're saving by keeping your house at 58, not using the clothes dryer, and not investing in a dehumidifier is going to go right out the window when your house is condemned for mold! You will pay thousands and thousands of dollars to get mold taken care of, and who knows what your homeowners policy will say covering that if they determine it is caused by homeowner "neglect". Seriously! Alarm bells should be going off in your head right now! I'm not saying you need to go total unmustachian here and crank the heat to a permanent 78 and use the dryer for everything; but, getting the house back up to the mid-60s and dropping $150 for a dehumidifier (or getting on used on CL if there is one available for pick up TODAY), and using the clothes dryer a bit more for the next few months are smart, commonsense things that will end saving you money in the end.

This poster is being really, really nice about this.

OP: when mold is showing up in book spines and wicker baskets, that's a big, giant, flashing red light and ear-numbing alarm trying to tell you that you're being cheap, not frugal.

This reminds me of the guy who was asking whether to put off getting his wisdom teeth out because it was an expensive procedure. It took damn near 60 posts of people telling him, "Dude, not getting your wisdom teeth out might lead to some serious infections which are going to cost 5x more than just getting them out."

Different context here obviously, but you are being similarly and absurdly cheap. You are trying to save a few bucks by not using the dryer and keeping your thermostat at a borderline comically low level.  Mold is now is showing up EVERYWHERE you can see (imagine inside the walls? The lumber? Everything!). The mold is basically trying to tell you "THIS IS A REALLY BAD IDEA" and you're still in the wrong mindset.

On top of all this, mold is a serious health issue. I am an attorney and represent a family who eventually found out their apartment is full of mold. Their five year old now has debilitating respiratory issues and has had to quit his martial arts class until they figure out what's going on.

Is all that damage to your house and health worth it to you?

So stop being cheap. Using the dryer is about 36 cents per load.  Temperature in your home is roughly $10 per degree. Right now you are inviting what you already recognize as a multi-thousand dollar problem for the sake of saving what, $45 a month during 4-5 months of the year? It's absolutely absurd.

Other people are recommending turning on your fan and range hood. Well that's electricity that I almost guarantee exceeds the use of the dryer.

So the TL;DR is this: turn up the heat in your house. Buy a dehumidifier (a $200 investment that will save you tens of thousands of damage from mold). Use your dryer unless you can dry your clothes outside. Open your windows every once in a while (you should do this anyway).
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 01:16:34 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

kite

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2015, 03:46:35 PM »
Within the past week, I've noticed mold appearing in my house. Book spines, wicker baskets, windows, windowsills, and doors, ... anything that has a porous surface and some that don't. We have a indoors drying rack and keep the house on 58, so we do get a lot of condensation on windows, and I'm assuming this is just that our air is too moist.

What is the mustachian way to cure this? Do we quest for a dehumidifier on Craigslist? Use the dryer instead of the clothesrack? Wave a UV lamp over the affected areas? Something else?

Thanks!

(Edit: I'm in Boston, it's only occasionally warm enough to open windows these days.)

Move.

In the two rentals where we had mold, it was systemic.  The dampness was in the house and washing with bleach , airing out, running dehumidifiers, etc wouldn't resolve.  I'm allergic to mold, which I didn't know at the time.  After moving, I didn't have sinus issues for 20 years.  I'd try tuning the heat to 62 after cleaning that which can be cleaned, toss what cannot.  But if you don't own that house, look for another. 

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2015, 04:03:37 PM »
Within the past week, I've noticed mold appearing in my house. Book spines, wicker baskets, windows, windowsills, and doors, ... anything that has a porous surface and some that don't. We have a indoors drying rack and keep the house on 58, so we do get a lot of condensation on windows, and I'm assuming this is just that our air is too moist.

What is the mustachian way to cure this? Do we quest for a dehumidifier on Craigslist? Use the dryer instead of the clothesrack? Wave a UV lamp over the affected areas? Something else?

Thanks!

(Edit: I'm in Boston, it's only occasionally warm enough to open windows these days.)

Move.

In the two rentals where we had mold, it was systemic.  The dampness was in the house and washing with bleach , airing out, running dehumidifiers, etc wouldn't resolve.  I'm allergic to mold, which I didn't know at the time.  After moving, I didn't have sinus issues for 20 years.  I'd try tuning the heat to 62 after cleaning that which can be cleaned, toss what cannot.  But if you don't own that house, look for another.
Right, but if he or she owns this house, then they would have to disclose the mold issue before selling it. And that would substantially decrease the value of the home and turn away a huge percentage of potential buyers.

Thus, I think it's in OP's best bet to just do the basics right (as I've noted above) before determining whether this is a systemic issue.

Rural

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2015, 05:28:50 PM »
Turn up the heat right now, to at least 65. Go out in the morning as soon as the stores open and buy a portable dehumidifier and at least one thermometer with humidity meter (you can get these under $20) at a big box store). Get the place under 70% humidity (50 is better), then mix up a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water in a plant mister and mist everything that had mold (yes, even the books, but you can wipe them off afterward).


Get on top of this. I've been there. I nearly died of pneumonia, plus lost many books, everything made of leather, and all clothing that actually required dry cleaning. (As a silver lining I discovered several "dry clean only" items that handled the washing machine just fine).


Quit hanging to dry inside and check that your dryer is properly vented outside.


What kind of heat do you have? It's vented, isn't it? Are you in a house? Could there be drainage issues? If heat +dehumidifier doesn't bring things down fast, check for causes, because you can't let this go.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 05:31:37 PM by Rural »

MayDay

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2015, 05:55:15 PM »
Are you having a super warm fall/winter?

Here in Ohio we are. High of 60 today means the heat won't kick on. The dampness goes away as soon as the temp drops and the heat actually runs. In the meantime, run the heat higher, open windows, get a dehumidifier, etc.

sweettea

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2015, 06:51:46 PM »
House; owned; very warm fall; radiant heat.

I have turned up the thermostat as high as I am comfortable (blasted hedonic adaptation to cold), will use the dryer and bathroom fan, will switch out the air when its not foggy outside like now, and am buying a dehumidifier and alcohol and unbuying moldy things.

Thanks for the abundant facepunches. Probably needed, despite wallet screams.

jawisco

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2015, 07:43:03 PM »
You own this place - I can only agree with the idea that you have to act QUICKLY.

You should turn the heat up to 85 degrees and open some windows and get that place aired out, NOW. 

That will be $25 dollars very well spent for 24 hours.  It probably won't even cost that much since you have warmer than normal temps.

By the end of 24 hours, you will have dehumidifier, and you can close the windows, turn the thermostat to 72 and turn on the dehumifier until you have no more mold growing in your house!  While this is happening, you can figure out why you have a moisture issue and do something about it.  Seriously, don't fuck with mold.

MMMaybe

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2015, 07:49:57 PM »
We live in the tropics where mould is always an issue.

I would say, definitely get a dehumidifier and run it daily with your cupboard doors open until the humidity level drops. Do the same when your heater is on. We also typically keep those dehumidifier pellets/silica inside shoes and cupboards.

One thing that seems to make a difference, is airflow. I open the windows daily. In our current apartment, they have the old fashioned louvered doors on cupboards and I must say, with all things being equal, I have had far fewer problems with mould. So I would lean towards airing the place out.

Seeing as you already have a problem though, go on the offensive to lower the humidity and then be more prudent in future :)

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2015, 07:53:19 PM »
Clove oil will inhibit mould growth on hard surfaces. Add 1/4 tsp per litre of water.

johnny847

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #20 on: December 14, 2015, 09:18:42 PM »
With respect to dehumidifers there are two basic types. One that uses a compressor. These are pretty loud.

The other type uses dessicants. It blows air over the dessicants which absorb the moisture. Then the dehumidifier heats the dessicants to extra the water into the bin, thereby allowing it to absorb more moisture.
These are pretty quiet (mostly just the sound of a fan). However, these are generally more expensive that compressor dehumidifiers.

I'm a PhD student and I do some work in my basement apartment. I also don't work well in noise. I'm glad I got my dessicant dehumidifer, as it is much quiter than the compressor based on my parents have.

Rollin

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2015, 08:52:00 AM »
Airflow and light first (e.g., look at leather shoes in closet - no light and no air circulation).  We run the overhead fans all day during this time of year (AC isn't on much to remove moisture and the air is humid).  Works very well.  Sometimes we run the dehumidifier near the bathroom (many showers - no vents), but that raises the power bill a lot, so we do that sparingly.

Dry stuff outside, as you are adding moisture to the room.  After showering, take your towels out too (even wipe the tube out before you take the towel outside).

Too much panic in this thread.  It is usually a simple solution (e.g., mold does not like moving air, therefore a fan in the room).
« Last Edit: December 15, 2015, 08:58:57 AM by Rollin »

DirtDiva

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2015, 08:28:42 AM »
crank the heat to a permanent 78

Gramma?  Is that you?

justajane

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2015, 08:36:37 AM »
Wouldn't it defeat the purpose of the dehumidifier if you open your windows and air out the house - that is, unless you live in a low humidity climate? I always read to trap the dehumidified air in the house.

big_owl

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2015, 09:16:44 AM »
We had some black mold in our house due to an unseen tiny plumbing leak some years back...now I suffer from painful and life-changing muscular-neurological problems that come on during the times of year when mold is most prevalent.  There are times if I am off my meds that it is a challenge to even lift my eyeballs up to look straight ahead - serious.

So my advice based on my experience is:

1. Throw any mustachian bullshit open the windows advice "out the window" (if your weather is anything like ours in DC this winter so far then it's even more humid outside than inside!)

2. Spend whatever money it takes to buy a quality dehumidifier and run it judiciously, or actually turn your heat up enough to handle the internal humidity

3. Stop air-drying your clothes in the house if you're getting mold!  Don't know how hard your washer spins but it could be up to a couple gallons of week of extra water you're adding to your home's atmosphere.  And with no heat on it'll condense out very quickly on surfaces all over the house.

Mold is no joke, I'd do almost anything to be able to go back in time to prevent what happened to me.


PS - supposedly bleach is ineffective at removing mold from porous surfaces

totoro

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2015, 10:01:38 AM »
We had tenants who experienced window condensation and mold growth in the winter in the PNW.  It was weird because the unit below had no problems and had the same construction and general layout.

We brought in an expert who couldn't find the problem.  We gave them dehumidifiers to use.  We also replaced the shower surround and checked the bathroom fan.

These tenants eventually moved out (not because of mold issues - we didn't renew their lease) and new tenants moved in. 

It turned out that the previous tenants did not use the heat in the winter which caused all of the problems.  The current tenants keep the place warm and there is zero condensation on the windows or mold growth.

My view is that dehumidifiers might help a bit but they cost at least as much to run as turning up the heat. You'll probably benefit from a dehumidifier as an interim measure but, as others have said, try turning up the heat and keeping it up.  The energy savings are not worth the health impact of mold.

justajane

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2015, 10:45:52 AM »
My view is that dehumidifiers might help a bit but they cost at least as much to run as turning up the heat. You'll probably benefit from a dehumidifier as an interim measure but, as others have said, try turning up the heat and keeping it up.  The energy savings are not worth the health impact of mold.

+1. Unless your house if gargantuan (and in that case you are likely going to need multiple dehumidifiers anyway), it would be much more effective to just increase the heat to 62 or above. Be sure it runs a couple times a day at least.

I know some people do it on here, but I couldn't handle anything less than 62. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Rollin

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2015, 12:06:40 PM »
We had some black mold in our house due to an unseen tiny plumbing leak some years back...now I suffer from painful and life-changing muscular-neurological problems that come on during the times of year when mold is most prevalent.  There are times if I am off my meds that it is a challenge to even lift my eyeballs up to look straight ahead - serious.

So my advice based on my experience is:

1. Throw any mustachian bullshit open the windows advice "out the window" (if your weather is anything like ours in DC this winter so far then it's even more humid outside than inside!)

2. Spend whatever money it takes to buy a quality dehumidifier and run it judiciously, or actually turn your heat up enough to handle the internal humidity

3. Stop air-drying your clothes in the house if you're getting mold!  Don't know how hard your washer spins but it could be up to a couple gallons of week of extra water you're adding to your home's atmosphere.  And with no heat on it'll condense out very quickly on surfaces all over the house.

Mold is no joke, I'd do almost anything to be able to go back in time to prevent what happened to me.


PS - supposedly bleach is ineffective at removing mold from porous surfaces

It seems as though this is where the panic is coming in.  Yes, if you have black mold from a plumbing leak you better get that fixed.  If you have surface mold from moist air that is much less drastic.  I may be wrong, but...

Rollin

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2015, 12:08:37 PM »
We had tenants who experienced window condensation and mold growth in the winter in the PNW.  It was weird because the unit below had no problems and had the same construction and general layout.

We brought in an expert who couldn't find the problem.  We gave them dehumidifiers to use.  We also replaced the shower surround and checked the bathroom fan.

These tenants eventually moved out (not because of mold issues - we didn't renew their lease) and new tenants moved in. 

It turned out that the previous tenants did not use the heat in the winter which caused all of the problems.  The current tenants keep the place warm and there is zero condensation on the windows or mold growth.

My view is that dehumidifiers might help a bit but they cost at least as much to run as turning up the heat. You'll probably benefit from a dehumidifier as an interim measure but, as others have said, try turning up the heat and keeping it up.  The energy savings are not worth the health impact of mold.

Good point! and tells me I should clarify that we use ours in one part of the house that is rather isolated from the rest of the hoouse, so turning up the heat for that one or two rooms is overkill.

Threshkin

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2015, 03:27:55 PM »
If you use a dehumidifier, try to set it up so that it drains automatically.  If it drains into a container it can fill very quickly (in a couple of hours).  Once it is full the device will stop running.  If it drains automatically you don't need to worry about it.

big_owl

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2015, 04:32:20 PM »
It seems as though this is where the panic is coming in.  Yes, if you have black mold from a plumbing leak you better get that fixed.  If you have surface mold from moist air that is much less drastic.  I may be wrong, but...

Unfortunately I didn't get any choice in the matter of deciding which type of mold was growing in my house.   My research indicated that other types of mold are very effective at triggering negative responses in the body's immune system, as well as seeding long-term allergic reactions.

lhamo

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2015, 08:41:39 PM »
In my time at my last job, I had two program participants who ended up with serious health issues due to mold infestations in their rental apartments.  Both required extended treatment with steroids to get the mold spores out of their respiratory systems and in one case that led to additional complications with another chronic health problem. 

Get a humidifier, stop hanging your clothes to dry, and turn the heat up to dry things out ASAP.  Trying to save money on electricity and ending up with a situation that will leave your house uninhabitable/unsellable is crazy.

sweettea

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2015, 08:10:52 AM »
So I'm led to believe mold prefers to grow in warm environments; might I have success lowering my thermostat further while avoiding humidity?

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2015, 08:21:38 AM »
So I'm led to believe mold prefers to grow in warm environments; might I have success lowering my thermostat further while avoiding humidity?

Warm air can hold more water. So warm air in your house will do a better job drying off surfaces. Mold prefers warm and wet but wet is more of a limiting factor than warm within human comfort ranges.

justajane

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2015, 08:30:29 AM »
So I'm led to believe mold prefers to grow in warm environments; might I have success lowering my thermostat further while avoiding humidity?

Wait, so now you want to lower your heat to less than 58? Do you really sweat at the 62-64 people have suggested? How do you possibly go anywhere but your home in the winter? That's some hard-core adjustment to the cold!

Another Reader

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2015, 08:32:40 AM »
Warming the air means it can hold more moisture.  The dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, so it works more efficiently at warmer temperatures.

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #36 on: December 24, 2015, 08:37:48 AM »
Think of the windshield in your car. If its covered in moisture, do you turn down the heat, or crank it up?

By cranking the heat, you can clear the moisture quickly. By opening the window you can vent the moisture out and normalize the temperature on both sides of the glass. By turning on the AC you can reduce the moisture content in the air in the car - but its not the cold air that does the defrosting, its the dehumidifier in the AC.

The easiest is to crank the heat. Same applies in your house.

totoro

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #37 on: December 24, 2015, 09:39:24 AM »
So I'm led to believe mold prefers to grow in warm environments; might I have success lowering my thermostat further while avoiding humidity?

I'm not sure where you are getting your information from but might I suggest you research it thoroughly online via google if you still have questions remaining about whether you need to raise the temperature or not?

Here is a credible site that could be helpful in understanding things: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/grho/grho_002.cfm

Warm humid environments can lead to mold growth BUT cold damp leads to excessive condensation and mold growth.  As has been stated, "cool air can hold less moisture than warm air, so the relative humidity (RH) rises as the air cools. For instance, house air at a reasonable 35 per cent RH at 22C (71F) will see an increase to 50 per cent RH when the same air is allowed to cool to 16C (61F). This can lead to condensation on windows and walls (for instance, in closets or behind furniture) and mold growth.

Basically, you are creating a more humid environment, all things considered, when you allow the house temperature to drop significantly. Window condensation will be the first sign of excessive house humidity. Blinds and curtains usually increase the occurrence of condensation. If condensation is taking place, make sure that you wipe it up diligently or raise the temperature setback (for example, from 16C to 17C [61F to 63F]) until you have lowered house humidity levels and condensation is no longer a problem.

A third potential problem is a sustained lack of air circulation as the house cools down."

sweettea

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #38 on: December 24, 2015, 01:23:02 PM »
I was reading wikipedia... It said mold prefers growing from 75 to 90. I was thinking if I have less temperature differential I would have less water in the air and also have less condensation from the lower difference.

My dehumidifier claims to work great down to 42, so i dont think it is a reason to change temp now that I've dried out thw house. What humidity should I set it to for the long-term?

I don't think of 58 as a big deal, its still shortsleeves-indoors weather. I was, indeed, too hot at mid-60s lately and slept with a window open. I established last winter that 50 is a little cold for me when I'm awake, since I don't want to wear a coat or blanket indoors, but it works fine for night, and if cold plus coat helps keep mold defeated a little better than warmer well, seems like a great way of saving more money...

Thank y'all for suggestions so far, the mold seems thoroughly extinguished and not growing back, nor am I permitting condensation without cranking up the dehumidifier.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2015, 01:24:44 PM by sweettea »

Exflyboy

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #39 on: December 24, 2015, 10:30:19 PM »
HVAC engineer here.

For this reason I will not air dry clothes indoors as all the water in the wet clothes stays in the house.. Each pound of water will take 970BTU's to vapourise the water into steam in the dryer.. If you air dry inside the house, it will still take 970BTU's/lb.. if you dry in the dryer it will be the same amount of energy whether you use the dryer or the house heating system.. Not EXACTLY true because the discharge temperature of the dryer exhaust will be warmer. Also if you heat the house with gas and the dryer is electric then the electric will of course be more expensive.

Even so this difference in cost is not worth the risk of higher humitdity in the house.

If it is cold and frosty outside I would shut the heat off and ventilate the whole house for an hour with fans or open the windows if there is a breeze. then close everything up and warm up the house.. The cold dry air will turn into warm dry air and will suck up moistue like crazy... this will starve the mold of water to grow.

Do this a few times and the RH will drop.. worth investing in and RH meter to test when you have dropped the RH in the house.

if it is warm and wet outside the above method won't work.. then get a dehumidifier like others have suggested.

sweettea

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #40 on: December 25, 2015, 05:18:01 AM »
For this reason I will not air dry clothes indoors as all the water in the wet clothes stays in the house.. Each pound of water will take 970BTU's to vapourise the water into steam in the dryer.. If you air dry inside the house, it will still take 970BTU's/lb.. if you dry in the dryer it will be the same amount of energy whether you use the dryer or the house heating system.. Not EXACTLY true because the discharge temperature of the dryer exhaust will be warmer. Also if you heat the house with gas and the dryer is electric then the electric will of course be more expensive.

Difference: airdrying means those 970 BTUs stay inside as heat, dryering means they go outside wastefully? Perhaps there's something I misunderstand about dehumidifiers... Thanks!

justajane

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #41 on: December 25, 2015, 07:37:36 AM »
@Exflyboy, but I'm constantly having to run a humidifier in the winter to keep myself from drying out and getting headaches. I figure air drying my clothes is just free humidity. But, then again, I don't have a mold problem. 

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #42 on: December 25, 2015, 09:15:21 AM »
Difference: airdrying means those 970 BTUs stay inside as heat, dryering means they go outside wastefully? Perhaps there's something I misunderstand about dehumidifiers... Thanks!

The dehumidifiers aren't the only thing you're misunderstanding here. I'm getting on my soapbox, and whether or not you see the love and the concern in the words I've typed is up to you, but it's there. You'll probably get offended, but I suggest you actually read every last word slowly and consider what's being said anyway.

In your quest to be as "mustachian" as possible, you have completely missed the greater lesson by only grasping onto the "cheap" part of the message and you're now progressively spending more and potentially creating more long term problems that will cost you several factors more to fix over the years than the money you're saving not using a clothes dryer or sufficiently heating your home in the winter. This is reactionary, short term planning. It's also called being penny wise and pound foolish. Others might also call it kicking the can down the road. The bottom line is that you're not thinking rationally and long term about your actions and consequences. I would go so far as to state that you are so short sighted and wrapped up in squeezing every last penny NOW that you don't see the hidden cost that will come LATER. Even now as the costs are coming due, YOU'RE STILL IGNORING THE OBVIOUS!

There's an apt phrase, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Have you given this axiom any consideration to unpack its meaning? Hint: It doesn't mean that by weight, the prevention is more expensive than the cure. It also doesn't mean that prevention should be avoided because it's always better to get a bulk deal. The phrase is talking about volume of effort and general resources. Realistically, the ounce of prevention financially actually means less effort poured in, and less money spent overall than the pound of cure takes - yet both fix the same thing.

Think rationally about this. How much money do you honestly think it would have cost just to have kept the house a bit warmer and dried your clothes in the dryer during the winter months? Let's be serious here, and I suspect you probably have a pretty good idea of how much the cost difference is. Now compare that against the cost of the dehumidifier you've now bought and the electrical consumption it will take to run and hopefully remediate the mold issue (which it really won't - you're just kicking the can down the road AGAIN). This is just short term cost. Let's go long view on this game.

Once mold sets up in your house, if you don't do something serious to get rid of it and change the environment to ensure it doesn't have the opportunity to set up again, what do you think the cost to fix this situation is going to be? What about the unintended consequences that you didn't think about?

I knew a couple of people with a mold issue in their house. Their grand solution? It wasn't changing how they heated and cooled the house. It wasn't steps to properly reduce home humidity through common sense - such as not making the air moist to begin with leaving them to set up some Rube Goldbergian solution to fix a problem that could have simply been avoided entirely. It wasn't cleaning and scrubbing and replacing mold-damaged items to remove potential sources for continued spore production and further organic waste for more mold to grow in. For 30 years, these people "treated" the mold problem in their house by repeatedly closing it up and leaving for eight hours while they ran an ozone generator to "kill the mold" because they didn't want to put in the effort to actually clean, abate, and do what was needed to make the home unfriendly to mold. They were also packrats. Care to guess how successful that solution was?

Their home is a toxic wasteland now. All of their antiques and rare books that they wanted to hand off to other family members have lost all salvageable value. The wife has a chronic cough and breathing problems now. The husband has had several health and neurological problems unusual to his family's medical history. Their legacy in this home is now a dumpster filled with moldy trash. How much money do you think they've really saved over the past three decades compared to what they spent on health care and lost in physical possessions?

This is your future if you don't wise up now, Scrooge McDuck. You're already halfway there, but it's not entirely too late for you... yet.

The Torah actually has some wise words on mold remediation. Even in modern times, this advice rings true and accurate. Read Leviticus 14:33-53 some time. HaShem didn't just say to bleach the mold, paint over the mold with Kilz, run a dehumidifier or an ozone generator; the advice was to REMOVE the mold, stick your possessions out to be bathed in the sunlight for a week (dry heat and UV), and thoroughly wash all fabric from inside the home.

The people in this community have helped tell you repeatedly what you need to do to change and prevent this mess from getting worse. Stop being a cheapskate and open up your pocketbook to do what actually needs to be done, and that starts with an attitude adjustment towards money - it should be a tool in your life, nothing more. The line between frugality and stinginess can be a fine one sometimes, especially in this forum, but the difference between that stinginess and frugality is the latter is financial prudence tempered with wisdom.... you clearly have not demonstrated wisdom in your judgment process thus far, even with your responses to the solutions offered. Don't do what you want to do, just suck it up and do what actually needs to be done. Certain modern practices have a cost to do right, stop being afraid of paying what you must to do so.

Jack

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #43 on: December 25, 2015, 09:39:18 AM »
[wall of facepunches]

"...Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?"

In other words, Merry Christmas from I.P. Daley!

Exflyboy

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #44 on: December 25, 2015, 10:35:49 AM »
@Exflyboy, but I'm constantly having to run a humidifier in the winter to keep myself from drying out and getting headaches. I figure air drying my clothes is just free humidity. But, then again, I don't have a mold problem.

Exactly, I assume you live in a very cold part of the country?.. Cold air is very dry so yes in effect air drying your clothes is 'free" humidity.

Except of course its not really free as it will cost you energy to evaporate the water.

justajane

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #45 on: December 25, 2015, 12:20:34 PM »
@Exflyboy, but I'm constantly having to run a humidifier in the winter to keep myself from drying out and getting headaches. I figure air drying my clothes is just free humidity. But, then again, I don't have a mold problem.

Exactly, I assume you live in a very cold part of the country?.. Cold air is very dry so yes in effect air drying your clothes is 'free" humidity.

Except of course its not really free as it will cost you energy to evaporate the water.

I actually live in the lower Midwest, so not very cold. Much warmer than Boston. But our house is quite uninsulated -- 1920s plaster on brick construction -- so the heat probably has to work harder than it does on newer, more insulated home. Thus, the drier air.

I'm wondering if this house in Boston also has some basement moisture problems as well that the OP hasn't brought up? Some faulty gutters? A need for a sump pump? Or is the house situated in an unfavorable way for moisture? Is water not draining properly from the house?

Exflyboy

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #46 on: December 25, 2015, 12:36:57 PM »
For this reason I will not air dry clothes indoors as all the water in the wet clothes stays in the house.. Each pound of water will take 970BTU's to vapourise the water into steam in the dryer.. If you air dry inside the house, it will still take 970BTU's/lb.. if you dry in the dryer it will be the same amount of energy whether you use the dryer or the house heating system.. Not EXACTLY true because the discharge temperature of the dryer exhaust will be warmer. Also if you heat the house with gas and the dryer is electric then the electric will of course be more expensive.

Difference: airdrying means those 970 BTUs stay inside as heat, dryering means they go outside wastefully? Perhaps there's something I misunderstand about dehumidifiers... Thanks!

Yes at first galnce you would think thats how it works but in reality the energy it takes to evaporate the water is whats called latent heat. "Latent" means hidden. in other words you burn gas or electricity to evaporate the water from the clothes inside the house but the water is now in the atmosphere.

Then the next night when the house cools below the dewpoint (the temperature at which the air cannot hold water anymore because it has reached 100% relative humidity, warm air holds much more water than cold air.. so as you ccol it the ability to hold moisture goes down) the moisture will condense everywhere inside the house.

So guess what happens when you heat up the house again?.. Yup you increase the air temperature but part of that heat goes into evaporating all that moisture all over again.

So you waste energy over and over by re-evaporating the same moisture.. Oh and of course its feeding the mold over and over too.

So its much better to use an electric dryer to dry your clothes, get the moisture ut of the house and then your only evaporating all the water from the clothes just once, rather than over and over.

 Besides which as IP Daley pointed out, if you don't dry that out and kill all those mold spores you could get into real trouble down the road.

Exflyboy

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #47 on: December 25, 2015, 12:40:52 PM »
@Exflyboy, but I'm constantly having to run a humidifier in the winter to keep myself from drying out and getting headaches. I figure air drying my clothes is just free humidity. But, then again, I don't have a mold problem.

Exactly, I assume you live in a very cold part of the country?.. Cold air is very dry so yes in effect air drying your clothes is 'free" humidity.

Except of course its not really free as it will cost you energy to evaporate the water.

I actually live in the lower Midwest, so not very cold. Much warmer than Boston. But our house is quite uninsulated -- 1920s plaster on brick construction -- so the heat probably has to work harder than it does on newer, more insulated home. Thus, the drier air.

I'm wondering if this house in Boston also has some basement moisture problems as well that the OP hasn't brought up? Some faulty gutters? A need for a sump pump? Or is the house situated in an unfavorable way for moisture? Is water not draining properly from the house?

Thats a very good point, a damp basement that does not have a vapour barrier between it and the house will do it to.

Any source of moisture has to be eliminated

justajane

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #48 on: December 25, 2015, 01:37:44 PM »
So you waste energy over and over by re-evaporating the same moisture.. Oh and of course its feeding the mold over and over too.

In a house, however, that doesn't have a mold problem, doesn't high humidity make a house more comfortable in the winter, though? That's what I was always taught - that you can set the thermostat lower if you humidify the air in the winter.

I know that damp cold air can feel very bad, but I recall the few times I've been in low humidity areas when it's cold (like Prescott, Arizona) that is felt really, really cold. I mean, as someone who grew up in the humid South, when the wind whipped at 35 degrees there one winter in Arizona, I thought I was going to die. 35 degrees in the Midwest doesn't feel nearly as cold. Is what I'm saying stupid or is there some truth to it? I think there is a lot of misinformation going around in the interwebs about temperature and energy (e.g. the idea that it costs more to reheat a house therefore you should always keep it warm).

I'm finding this all very educational. Thanks to all those with knowledge in these subjects for sharing.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Help! Mold everywhere... how to stop?
« Reply #49 on: December 25, 2015, 01:56:25 PM »
Yesterday I opened the windows for a few hours because it was so warm. Yesterday evening my toilets were sweating.

I thought that's what was going on with the freezer, too, but it turns out my fridge broke on Christmas.