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Indoor Air Quality/Odor Problem - Relating to Attic and basement - Help

Indoor Air Quality/Odor Problem - Relating to Attic and basement - Help

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Old 05-28-08, 01:43 PM
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Indoor Air Quality/Odor Problem - Relating to Attic and basement - Help

I'm looking for some advice from someone who has knowledge of HVAC and Basement/Atttics. My home 3500 sq ft. built 1960 - split level - walk up attic - basement 3/4 below grade - FLAT slightly pitched roof. Brand new Carrier Infinity AC - baseboard oil heat. Can anyone recommend how I can improve the indoor air quality of the house. When we turn the A/C on in the house we get a horrible odor almost like mulch or manuer. We had an HVAC contractor diagnose our home having "dirty sock syndrome" and spent $2000 on a Duxt ultra violet light installed in the air handler with very little or no change - Then we had a mold problem in air handlers so the only option was to replace the entire AC system for $18,000. Still have the smell only slightly better and we've also had the house air tested for mold which came up negative. The new A/C system lowered the RH which was very high. The old system was oversized. In the attic we currently have insulation on parts of non accessible area floor - in between joists, probably from 1960 - insulation ON CEILING and WALLS with Poly Vapor barrier. There is a large screened window which I suppose is acting as a ventilation system. Under the eves are screens which I assume act as vents as well. The basement is now dry - we installed a french drain system with two sub pumps. The basement was disinfected and cinder block sealed. Our clothes and towels smell like mildew. The RH in the house is just under 50% on very hot days.
Is there anyone out there who can offer some help. Don't know if we need a larger dehumidifier in the basement or need to install one of those Humidex systems.
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Old 05-28-08, 04:03 PM
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Sounds like you have had allot of bad advice, from UV lights, to replacing the entire system because of some mold in the AHU. I can find mold in about 75% of the systems I look in and we don't have to replace the systems. STAY FAR AWAY FROM HUMIDEX it will make the problem worse. One thing we will need to no is what is the RH on cool days and rainy days. Is the RH higher in different areas of the basement. Do you know what the co2 is in the house.
 
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Old 05-29-08, 11:38 AM
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How does one measure the Co2 in the house? The RH in the house before the new A/C was upwards to 70% - it is right around 50% in the basement - 45% on higher levels. I think one of the problems is my attic. It is not getting properly ventilated. It does smell awful in the summer. I was going to rip out all of the old insulation including the insulation staples on the ceiling, seal the rafters and floors with Kilnz - put new insulation blown in and ad an attic fan. I was also going to purchase one of those santa fe dehumidifiers for the basement - How does that sound for starters. Also install exhaust fans in the two upstairs bathrooms which have none presently.
 
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Old 05-29-08, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrewlf View Post
How does one measure the Co2 in the house?
With a co2 meter! The people that did the air testing should have done this if they are any good!


The RH in the house before the new A/C was upwards to 70% - it is right around 50% in the basement - 45% on higher levels.
Could still be high in no load times! The Sanita Fe will be all you need for no load times.

I think one of the problems is my attic. It is not getting properly ventilated. It does smell awful in the summer. I was going to rip out all of the old insulation including the insulation staples on the ceiling, seal the rafters and floors with Kilnz - put new insulation blown in and ad an attic fan.

Is their mold on the insulation? Is the insulation fiberglass? Fiberglass will not grow mold! What is Kilnz?

I was also going to purchase one of those santa fe dehumidifiers for the basement - How does that sound for starters. Also install exhaust fans in the two upstairs bathrooms which have none presently.
Sounds good! Make sure you vent the bath fans to the outside.
 
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Old 05-30-08, 06:53 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I meant Kilz - which is a heavy duty primer - the insulation is fiberglass batting - just old and smelly no mold. There is definitely a musty smell up in the attic. question - does it matter where the bathroom fan is located within the master bathroom? Does is necessarily have to be adjacent to the shower?
 
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Old 05-30-08, 08:13 AM
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As long as it is close thats all you need! Make sure you get a fan that is at least 100 cfm. Also after bathing run fans for at least 20 minutes. Kilz will do nothing for mold. Id try something like Foster 40-20. You might have to look on the net as to where to find it.
 
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Old 06-05-08, 01:47 PM
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One more question. I have a walk up attic with very old insulation. part of the attic has flooring, part just rafters. There is old insulation on the ceiling in between the rafters. there is also some areas of the walls that have insulatoin with a plastic vapor barrier stapled over the insulation. There is one large 4 ft. x 3 ft. screened window that acts as a way for air to transfer from the outside. There is also very little in the way of soffit vents - only on 2 sides of the house. Should I remove all the insulation from the ceiling and walls and remove the vapor barrier. Should I install a gable fan for exhaust. it gets very hot up there. I have the two air handlers up there as well.
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Old 06-05-08, 01:59 PM
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Can you take some pictures and post them. I would like to make sure I am picturing what you have.
 
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