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  1. #1

    sinus congestion, crusty eyes, allergies a/c duct

    I believe me and my family have been suffering from some sort of mold in the house for the past few years, but im finally to the point where i im convinced its something in the house. I live in south Florida where its always humid.

    I seem to always have a dry throat and sinus issues and occasional breathing issues. I have had allergies all my life. My wife has sinus issues on and off. And my only 7 year old son has some sinus issues.

    I have always thought there may be an issue causing breathing problems in the house, but did have my doubts.

    Our family has taken a week vacation each of the last 2 years and i always seem to loose my sinus issues on vacation, but then they come back as soon as im back home.

    I have had my a/c replaced about 1 year ago by a company i wish i hadnt used. The installer couldnt speak any english. Anyhow, i dont believe the a/c replacement helped or hurt the breathing/sinus issue, as i had problems before the new a/c.

    1. My best guess is either the ductwork has mold or something causing my symtoms.
    2. The old insulation in my attic is like really old recycled something and somehow it is leaking down into the house causing the problem.
    3. I have found mold behind some of the baseboard, has been replaced, maybe its around more of the house causing problems.
    4. My wife uses face cleaners on her face at night, maybe there causing problems for me.

    My question is if i decide i want someone to come to my house and check the ductwork for mold, should i call a normal a/c repair company or should i try to get someone that specializes in finding mold.

    I am fairly handy, part of me want to just cut into an area of ductboard near an attic opening and see if theres mold. My problem is i dont want to close back and then have ac duct leaks that i cant fix.

    If you have any suggestions please let me hear them.

    Thanks,
    snookuda

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,617
    easiest way is take one of your registers down and take a white rag and wipe the duct.

    I would find have your home tested for humidity levels, and leakage by an energy auditor, they should also be able to say it's mold, dust or what not. THen you can have repairs needed and remidiation as well as needed.

    What do your return duct/filters look like? Is your house real dusty, do you find after 1 week dust build up on cabinets/tables etc? By a thermometer with humidity readings from radio shack/walmart and set it up and monitor it for a while. You should have a structure that will keep 50% RH inside anything above that you have conditions that allow mold growth and mites to live. Your home may be in a negative pressure as well, allowing air to be sucked in through every avanue of leakage.
    It's hard to stop a Trane. but I have made one helluva living keeping them going.

  3. #3
    The a/c registers duct work looks good(fairly clean), however, im concerned about the main vent work leading off the air handeler and starting up into the attic. Smokers lived in the home before i bought it 10 years ago, and its still original from when i moved in. The installer wasnt very good, so he may not have even said anything if he found mold...

    An energy auditor sounds interesting, any more info on them...

    I do not have any return duct lines in the house. Its a 3 ton rheem, house is 1400sq/ft 3/2 home. House was built in 1970, with very little attic space, i think its a 12/4 slope.

    I installed hurricane impact windows back in 2006, and have noticed very high condensation on the windows on the cold winter days. I then installed a bathroom vent/exhaust fan in each of the bathrooms. This helped some but still had high humidity on very cold winter days, less than 50 degrees. So i bought and use a dehumidifier on those very cold days to help with the humidity.

    I have 3 small humidity level devices throughout the house, so i have been watching the humidity level. In the summer when the a/c runs the hummidity is fine 45-50%. But in the winter, it gets to 75%+ on the cold nights unless i run the dehumidifier.(which i do use to control humidity)

    The house does seem to get dusty fairly quickly, especially in the bathroom where the exhaust fan is running to kick out the shower humidity. What do you conclude from the house getting a lot of dust?

    Thanks for the quick reply Southern Mech.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Down by the river
    Posts
    1,617
    The house does seem to get dusty fairly quickly, especially in the bathroom where the exhaust fan is running to kick out the shower humidity. What do you conclude from the house getting a lot of dust?


    your wife needs to clean more

    If you keep a clean home, no dogs,cats etc. It tells me you have lots of air leaks in that home. Dust comming out of attic etc.

    Don't take my words as God's writing, I am a tech not a building science specialist.


    I would strongly reccomend and audit done, I have no idea what you have in your area, you can try calling your power company or some local contractors and ask about Home Energy Audits. Some HVAC companies do their own, I would lean to finding a good reputable HVAC company to perform it that can fix rather than outsourcing to someone that just gives you reccomendations.

    Have you had the system looked at since installation, just to make sure its performing properly.
    It's hard to stop a Trane. but I have made one helluva living keeping them going.

  5. #5
    LOL about the wife.

    Im going to look into getting an audit done, and i dont hold you to anything you write, other than friendly helpful advice.

    I very well could have a leak(s) in the ductwork in my very hot attact. What would method would be the most common to find the leaks in the attact ductwork that are extremely difficult to climb around in?

    I dont know why, but i see it as a long shot to get a quality/knowledgeable duct worker out to my house. The attic has to be at least 120 with very old recycled insulation. I guess theres only one way to find out. Thanks for the advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,261
    You need to keep your home <50%RH year around. You also would improve your indoor air quality with fresh air ventilation. An air change in 4-5 hours is ideal when the home is occupied. A merv 11 air filter is recommended.
    Many a/cs have wet condensate pans all the time. This grows mold. Check you drain pan for draining and mold. Your ducts should have a 3-4 hours of dry time every day to stop mold from growing in the damp parts of your a/c.
    Figure out how to get filtered fresh air and efficient dehumidification for the times when you a/c is unable keep the home dry.
    Thats where I come in. Check out the Ultra-Aire whole house ventilating dehumidifier for fresh filtered air on a occupancy schedule and whole house humidity control. This is the easy way.
    You could mix filtered fresh air in right amount and run the dehus you have. Let your fan on the a/c run "on" mode and try this for a couple weeks. lets us know how it works. Not the best, but an easy tryout. It takes a couple months for things to dry out and pollutants to be purged.
    Regards TB
    Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
    Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
    Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    18
    It might be something as simple as your vacuum. If your vacuum is cheap or not functioning well, it may be redepositing dust all over your carpets or not pulling all the dust up from your carpet. If there is a leak in your home, there could obviously be mold. So definitely get that checked out too. I redid my shower and discovered a bunch of mold behind the tile. Look everywhere, but don't overlook small things.

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