Mold abatement

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  #1  
Old 10-17-09, 11:43 AM
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Mold abatement

I have a musty, mildew smelling unfinished basement. The result of some minor flooding last spring. I've replaced all the insulation, dried and cleaned and I run a dehumidifier constantly. Although there is no remaining mold visible, I have not been able to rid the basement of the musty smell.

A neighbor has recommended chlorine dioxide. He says he uses it every spring in his cabin to rid it of over winter smell. I've done some research on line and I've found a product designed for getting rid of mold on boats. I'm curious if any one else has used chlorine dioxide and how effective it was.

Yes, I've read the MSDS sheets.
 
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Old 10-17-09, 12:45 PM
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What I know about chlorine dioxide is that it's main use is in the pulp and paper industry as a replacement for bleach in whitening paper.
I also know it is more effective against mold spores but I was lead to believe that there is a similar problem that bleach has on porous surfaces.
That is the difficulty in killing embedded spores in porous material.
What happens with bleach and likely the same with chlorine dioxide is that you could kill or slow down the surface growth but it will not penetrate as deep as the mold spores go.
You will have cleaned the surface but added further moisture to the material and allowed the healthy sub-surface mold to grow back up to the surface.

I have read that there are products available that advertise to be chlorine dioxide but because it is an unstable substance being a gas in suspension, is actually a different chemical you add an acid to to produce the chlorine dioxide mixture.

In what form is your neighbor using it?
I have not heard of it being available to consumers and he could be accessing it through his workplace.......Is this so?

As far as your musty basement goes it will be so because you have not dried it out.
I would scrub the walls and floors with a disinfectant soap, rinse well and then get busy and thoroughly dry it out.
No matter what you try to apply you will be wasting your time if you do not keep it dry.
 
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Old 10-18-09, 03:25 PM
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I agree you still have to much RH if you still smell mold. You need to reduce RH to get rid of smell.
 
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Old 10-20-09, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by airman.1994 View Post
I agree you still have to much RH if you still smell mold. You need to reduce RH to get rid of smell.
Any idea how low the RH should be? I am running two dehumidifiers (total 75 pint) in a 1200 s/f space. I have them set to maintain a RH of 60%. I checked the hygrometer I have hanging in my basement and it reads 62% RH.

The chlorine dioxide I mentioned is a product intended for use in boats. My understanding is that it is available at some marinas. It's a two part product that comes as a granular compound. Mix the two and they produce chlorine dioxide gas.
 
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Old 10-20-09, 01:21 PM
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Here is a link I picked up here on the board. I haven't read the entire site, but it sounds substantial.
Foster

As for the humidity level, mold will grow at 50% or higher. But, the RH in your basement will vary with temperature. Get near a cold wall and the RH goes up, and that is where the mold is.

Bud
 
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Old 10-20-09, 01:32 PM
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No, it will not work for your application.
When the gas vaporizes it will only affect mold that is on non-porous surfaces.
If you carefully read my previous explanation you will understand the implication of mold in porous surfaces.

In order to have an opinion whether 62% rh is dry enough you would have to state the temperature at that humidity level.
A dehumidifier does not work effectively at temps below 20 deg C/68 deg F.
What you will need is air change and gentle air movement.
You need to be careful to keep air velocity down as you will blow mold spores throughout your house.

The ideal solution would be an air exchanger running continuously.
Second best would be an exhaust fan of a capacity of about 250 cfm running continuously until you can not smell any musty odor and then on a dehumidistat after that.

You really should not delay finding a solution as continuous exposure to mold can have long term health effects.
 
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Old 10-20-09, 01:56 PM
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Good dehumidifiers work well below 65 . Off the shelf dehumidifiers will not. Santa Fe Classic Dehumidifier If you are in a green grass state ventilation is a no no you will be bringing the RH back into the home.
 
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Old 10-20-09, 02:30 PM
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Good point.
Wayne I assume will occasionally shovel snow so he might qualify to use ventilation.

Airman,
What would you estimate the least expensive Santa Fe humidifier would cost?
Here we are in a prime ventilation dehumidification climate and people whine about paying $200.00 for a dehumidifier?
 
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Old 10-20-09, 04:27 PM
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Greg if they don't like the $200 units they aren't going to like the Santa Fe. With shipping about $900. But they use about have the power for twice the pint removal. They have service valves so if they do have a issue they can be fixed. Average life is over 12 years. It is 5 on the L cheapOOOs. Run more efficient in temps under 65. Up front cost is the only bad point, but everything else just keeps money in your pocket. In my mind it is the only way to go. Oh they can be ducted to bring in fresh air.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 07:21 AM
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FWIW my regular basement dehumidifier is a low temp (44*) unit designed for basements. In an effort to get rid of the musty odor I added an old household unit rated at 68*.

Greg - I can't agree with you about the ineffectiveness of
CIO2 for a couple of reasons. I've read some on stuff about the use of the gas to eliminate mold in houses that were flooded and a report about the use of chlorine gas sachets to control mold and mildew in libraries. And - my neighbor swears it works in his cabin. My OP was an attempt to get some second opinions.

I think moving the air is probably a good idea. I have an unused drier duct in the basement and I think I'll look into some sort of exhaust fan.
 
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Old 10-21-09, 07:37 PM
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Exhaust will be a very bad idea in spring summer and fall because of the higher RH levels.
 
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Old 11-11-09, 05:46 AM
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Do a search on line for tea tree oil.It kills almost all forms of mold,is natural,has no harmful fumes,and is a spray on and leave application.can be bought at most health food stores leaves a nice anticeptict smell when done.worked for me.(mixed with water I think 2 teaspoons oil to 1 cup water, but look it up)
 
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