Condensation in old Coal room

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  #1  
Old 04-14-05, 07:51 PM
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Condensation in old Coal room

My house was built in 1943 and off the basement is a small, 3'x5', coal room. Originally, there was a chute in the driveway for filling it, but that was plugged years ago. Anyway, the previous owner had the basement water-proofed, including that plastic sheeting that goes up the walls. In this room, they ran that sheeting all the way to the ceiling.

Now, the room is under my front stoop, which gets pretty darn cold in the Akron winters, causing moisture to condensate on the ceiling of the coal room. I've found that I can just leave the door open and enough air circulates to keep the ceiling (stoop) warm enough not to gather moisture. But I'd like to close the door.

I was thinking about adding a piece of that pink 1 inch thick insulation board to the ceiling. Is there something better?

PS- I'm worried because condensation makes for mold. And, while I can remove the mold on the ceiling, I can't get to any that is behind the plastic sheeting without voiding my water-proofing warranty. Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-15-05, 06:32 PM
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mold in coal room

If there is no organic material behind that plastic, mold will not grow.

Mold will grow on paint, but so far I haven't seen a successful paint

application on coal room walls. Most people don't attempt to paint the

walls due to all the residue imbedded. Coal residue will not support mold

growth either. Fiberglass insul. on the otherhand, will support the growth

of mold.
 
  #3  
Old 04-15-05, 08:14 PM
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Well, I have mold growing on the painted ceiling, so I'm thinking it's only logical it could grow on the walls.

I was thinking of the fiberglass insulation, but the pink wall board stuff.
 
  #4  
Old 04-15-05, 09:22 PM
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Will insulating solve your problem?

When you open the door the condensation does not occur and when you close it, it does occur. This follows the rule with Relative Humidity (RH%) when the temperature of the air drops, the RH% increases and when the temperature of the air rises, the RH% decreases.

We also have to consider that insulation does not produce any heat, in fact all it does is reduce the amount of heat loss per hour. So if you insulated this coal room and you closed the door, the condensation would still occur. Except that it would probably take a little bit longer for it to occur.

The next question we have to ask is "Where is the moisture coming from?" Most homes generate about a gallon of moisture a day or 8 pounds of moisture. The average human being gives off about 2 pounds a day, a dog, 5 pounds of moisture. If you factor in washing, drying, cooking, showering and a few other things that will produce moisture inside the house, 8 pounds of moisture a day is conservative.

Though RH% is a factor with the temperature drop in the coal room, it is clear the the basement water proofing is playing a major role concerning the condensation. Moisture Barriers like water proofing prohibit moisture flow in both directions. In other words, the water proofing may prohibit moisture from outside the house from entering the basement, it also prohibits the basement walls from absorbing the moisture generated inside the basement.

Besides this there is even more to consider, none of which sees insulating this area as a possible solution. A cooler/refrigerator keeps the items cold inside them through the use of insulation. That is why Heat Loss and Heat Gain calculations are exactly the same formula. While some may argue that the insulation will stop the air from contacting the masonry walls in this area, without a source of heat inside the coal room, the insulation will become as cold as the masonry wall.

You already know how to solve your problem, you just don't like it.
 
  #5  
Old 04-18-05, 02:31 PM
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Okay,

Let's say that I decide to "lump it" and leave the door open or replace the solid door with something more like a cage door. Doesn't it make sense at that point to insulate the ceiling??...That room is sub-zero!

Thanks.

edited to add: I flunked Thermodynamics in college for the same reasons!
 
  #6  
Old 04-18-05, 03:07 PM
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A louvered door would suffice. Then for can insulate the ceiling because with the door louvered the Coal room has a source of heat.
 
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