Mold SOS!

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  #1  
Old 12-09-15, 05:25 AM
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Mold SOS!

I apologize in advance for the long post, but would appreciate any and all help!!!

Here in SC we had a TON of rain in October and we've had quite a few rainstorms since our big flooding incident and things haven't had a lot of time to dry out. My house did not suffer from water intrusion, but recently, I noticed a musty smell and did some inspections...

I found that we had mold (very light and easy to come off) in a cabinet in the kitchen and then in a bathroom. We used Concrobium to take care of it and it hasn't been back in over a week. We then did some further investigating and found more in a few other quiet and dark places in the house....treated with Concrobium.

We bought a hygrometer to test the RH in the house. It was 77% in most places (way too high). We then bought a dehumidifer and it has been sucking water like a dry plant. After running it pretty consistently, it has brought the RH down to the 45%-55% range. The musty smell is now gone.

We had a mold company come out. They said the mold is most likely from the high humidity since it is scattered throughout. They took humidity readings on the walls and said they were good (but this was after running the dehumidifier). They checked both the crawl space and the attic (we have 2 separate sides of the attic). The crawl space had mold (nothing horrible according to the mold company) and so did the attic (the side that does not usually get sun and is in the shade)...(again,nothing horrible according to the mold company).

The company came up with a plan to remove the mold in the attic and crawl space as well as clear the duct work.

My question is....how can we get rid of it in our living space? We have not seen the mold everywhere, but in a few places. Is it really from the high humidity? Will we always have to run dehumidifiers or will the humidity eventually go to a normal state? Will the mold come back? We are just nervous since we do not want to go through this again!!! It's been awful! The home has never had an issue before.

Thanks so much in advance, I am sorry for the long post!
 
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  #2  
Old 12-09-15, 06:13 AM
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Mold needs 3 things to grow; humidity, heat and a food source. Remove any one of the 3 and the mold can't grow. Keeping the humidity down should be adequate. Not sure if that would entail running the dehumidifier year round or just during the rainy season. How long have you lived in the house?
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:21 AM
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Explain food source_________________
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:24 AM
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wood, paper - basically anything that mold can feed on.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:29 AM
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We moved in in May. We had an inspection in April and everything was fine. Do you think we have a leak somewhere or no since it is in various parts of the house? (closet on some clothes, kitchen cabinet, bathroom cabinet, linen closet, attic). I will say, anywhere we have seen it have been on the backside of the house....the same side of where it is in the attic.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:37 AM
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Range hood, bathroom fan, dryer vent all run to the outside?
Crawl space and attic been air sealed, enough ventalation?
Enough insulation in the attic?
Windows and doors all air tight?
Running any unvented propane heaters or fireplace?
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:38 AM
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The company explained that it is more than likely humidity in the home. We had some small spots of paint bubble up, some of the pictures in frames on our walls were rippled, and we had condensation on some windows, and overall, the house has just felt damp.

The mold company's plan is to remove the mold in the attic and crawl space....they are going to heat and fan the crawl space to dry up 100%. Then, HEPA vacuum mold spores and fog with sani-shield and lay down a 10mil vapor barrier.

For the attic, they are going to HEPA vacuum mold spores and fog with sani-shield.

For the duct work, they are going to fog with sani-shield.

I am just worried that the mold will come back. The treatment is not cheap, and I would hate to spend the money to be dealing with the same problem. We do have the soffit vents in the attic....not sure if there is anything in the way blocking them? The company recommended having a large fan in the crawl space that runs for about 2 hours a day on a timer.

I am also trying to get the humidity under control. We left the dehumidifier off while we were at work (about 8/9 hours) and the humidity was at 66% when we got home. When the dehumidifier is running, we can get the house down to around 50%/55%. Prior to using the dehumidifer at all, the house was at 77%. I'm just not sure if we will always have to run the dehumidifier or if it will eventually get to a normal comfortable state.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:40 AM
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Getting the humidity in the house is a good start! Does the attic have good ventilation? What does the mold company say about preventing a reoccurrence?
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:42 AM
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We have a range hood....does not vent to outside. We have 2 bathroom fans that vent to outside. 1 bathroom does not have a vent but does have a window that we open every time we shower (we usually shower in this bathroom).

Not sure about enough insulation in attic and not sure about air tight windows and doors? I do know we have a window AC unit on the 2nd floor that is caulked in (has been there since before we moved in). We have a wood fireplace that we have yet to use. Not sure if we should open the chimney flue?
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:45 AM
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I know the attic has soffit vents...could they be blocked at all in the attic?

The mold company recommended running a fan on a timer in the crawl space but did not say too much about the attic. I think their big thing was getting the humidity level under control as they mentioned the stack effect.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:50 AM
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Sometimes soffit vents get blocked by insulation so that is something to check on. Some houses never have enough attic ventilation to start with. Attic ventilation is two fold - intake and exhaust. It is likely that controlling the humidity below will benefit the attic.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 06:54 AM
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We also do not have a vapor barrier in our crawl space...so I am hoping that will help everything above as well?

Do you think there is a leak somewhere or it is just the high humidity in the home? I am so concerned with making sure we stop the moisture source. I do not want to have to do this again. It has been an awful and unsettling experience.

The mold company also did not say we needed to remove insulation in the attic or crawl space...I figured we would have to....they are planning on fogging both spaces and doing a HEPA vacuum.
 
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Old 12-09-15, 08:00 AM
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My house doesn't have a vapor barrier in the crawlspace BUT my house is in a dry location with good crawlspace ventilation. IMO the vapor barrier is a good idea if there are any moisture issues .... but this isn't my area of expertise.

Getting the humidity under control is the first step. IF there is a leak, it will present itself once everything else gets dried out.
 
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Old 12-13-15, 02:53 PM
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Wits end with mold...help!

Ok, so I did submit a post about mold already, but wanted to submit a new one with more info.

We are in SC had about 18-20 inches of rain in 48 hours in October. We had no water come into our home....however, I believe we are now seeing the aftermath of moisture (I think?).

We found mold in 2 cabinets in the home. Then, we found mold on one entire side of the attic (the 2 sides of the attic are not connected). We then found mold in all different areas of the house (closet on clothes, linen closet, corner under china cabinet, under the couch, on candles in our fireplace (but didn't see any up the chimney flue), a book bag in the corner of a room upstairs)...it just keeps popping up! I feel like it is taking over our home. It is very dusty and powdery, not really wet and raised mold.

We did take a humidity reading when we started noticing it and it was at 77%. Since then, we have been using 2 dehumidifiers (one for upstairs, one for down) and they have been running constantly and have brought the humidity down to anywhere from 45-65%

We are having a company come in and take care of the attic and the cabinet area since it seems to be the most strong in those areas. We are also installing a vapor barrier in our crawl space. The mold company said the crawl space was damp, but was not too concerning.

We are literally at our wits end at this point.....I have no idea what to do. We clean the mold and toss things as we find them. I am terrified it is going to come back and/or we'll keep finding it.

Since it is throughout the house...any guesses on what is going on? Would high humidity really be the cause of it? I have no other guesses!!
 
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Old 12-14-15, 03:50 AM
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High humidity is always a concern and areas with limited air flow seem to be affected the most. Running a dehumidifier should help. Is the crawlspace well ventilated?
 
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Old 12-25-15, 09:07 PM
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abw688,

I am in your shoe. It costed us $5734 (include final clearance tests) to treat molds in master bedroom and bathroom, kitchen, and laundry areas. The total was $6900 with final clearance tests for mold and asbestos.

Mike
 
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