Mold is in crawl space - Humidex ? Need Heat Pump?
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    Had the crawl space inspected today by a mold specialist. Yes we have mold......... Inspector wants to tear out the insulation between the floor joists, clean up the mold & apply an encapsulant. Will also apply one piece moisture barrier & seal off foundation vents ( now has 4 mil plastic over 80% of the ground generously overlaped....He will also use an air scrubber. He wants to install a Humidex in the crawl space. Says this will improve the air in our house also?? Verification on this please? Waiting for estimate> >>>>>>>> Now what I REALLY need help with is what to do with the existing heat pump.. It is eleven years old BUT we do NOT have the emergency heat unit (furnace?). When it gets in the mid 20's I have to turn the heat pump OFF & turn on the ceiling heat strips.... Here's the problem --------- When I turned the heat off a few weeks ago there was still a very noticable draft coming through all of the vents especially the ones closet to the heat pump & it smelled of MOLD big time. I then wrapped each vent cover in clear wrap & again in reynolds wrap stopping that air from coming into the house..... Even after doing this the specialist smelled mold in the house (so do I).. Specialist wants to clean the ducts & seal the duct work but I am concerned this may not get rid of all the mold. (there is no mold on the coils).. The worse smell is in the room over the main trunk area (before it starts branching off)& I'm thinking that might be where most of the mold is..... I am leaning toward having the heat pump replaced (perhaps even the duct work that may be as old as the house -1975ish?) with a split unit & the furnace part will have to go inside the crawl space (per previous HVAC tec)......... IF I replace the heat pump is there a unit or ? that can be used to do what the Humidex does? Hubby is a teacher so we need to do all this on teachers pay. We want to sell the house 3-4 years down the road...( R U permitted to suggest brands here)?.................... Curious question regarding the existing heat pump. Is it suppose to be drafty like that even when the wind is not blowing? Where is the air coming from that is coming through those vents?............... Added..... I do have a dehumidifier set at 50 % in the crawl space & it is dry. We are near Louisville,KY.
    Thanks again for all of your suggestions.

    [Edited by bedazzle on 03-28-2005 at 08:44 PM]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    First of all need to open the vents!!! This is for ventilation. If you close them you must condition the crawl-space. 2nd get the vapor barrier over 100% of the crawl. 3rd their is not one crawl-space every made that does not have some mold it is the nature of the beast. 4th at 11 yrs may not be a bad time to think about a new heat pump/Furness. 5th getting the duct cleaned not replaced will be the best answer. 6th I,m in VA so your weather is close to mine. It should be warmer at your home this week, check your dehumidifier this week with the higher temps if it is working you should see some condensation. At low temps it will go off on head pressure and won't run. The mold abatement should run you about 3000

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,229
    Beware of the free advice you get on this site. Challange all info including mine. Some of it is conflicting and therefore may be wrong. Most building researchers suggest covering the earth totally, closing the crawlspace vents to the outside, and mainting <50%RH in the crawlspace to avoid mold growth. Foam insulation is suggested for the exterior walls of the crawlspace to keep the entire crawl warm year around. Foam board insulation is required to prevent condensation between the insulation and the masonary wall. Closing the vents stop high humidity outside air from entering the home or crawlspace. Using any exhaust device to remove moist air sucks in more moist air from outside into the home/crawl and must be avoided. Removing the insulation on the bottom of the floor and cleaning may be required to avoid any reaction to the exsisting mold. Dehumidification is usually required to maintain <50%RH in the home/crawl during cool wet times of the year. Many codes will not allow the above measures, so check it out.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    drk---I can show you hundreds of crawl spaces, done properly, that have no mold. Bedazzle--follow teddy bears advice, he knows what he is talking about.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    The people that installed our heat pump in 94 are partly to blame for my current problem SO if I can't trust them & I can't rely on you guys I guess I am doomed again................ Anyway this is getting into health issues now. I was out of the house this morning for about 4 hours. I opened the windows before I left to air out the house. When I came home there was a strong musty odor. Eyes & nose immediately started bothering me & within the hour I had hives all over my upper body..... The wind had picked up while I was gone & apparently blew the odor up into the house, I am assuming through the heat pump into the duct work. I turned the portable air cleaner on high, opened front & back doors & put a fan in one window. Checked in the crawl space & odor was stronger than ever. I put on my mask, went in & cut away the plastic from the 6 vents. Put a huge fan in the opening to pull the air from underneath & turned off the dehumidifier....I caulked the holes around the pipes underneath the kitchen sink where the odor was as bad as underneath the house. I stayed outside for about 3 hours & odor seems to have lessened alot. I am sitting here with only a couple of hives now............................ I thought the previous things that we had done had taken care of the problem & it did for a few months. To recap, we installed a sump pump (water goes underneath the plastic into the sump pump), put plastic on the foundation walls & ground that we could reach, closed all the vents & put plastic over them, put in a dehumidifier & set it at 50%.. Before doing that condensation on the air return duct was so bad that when I poked a hole in one part, water came pouring out of it......................... teddy bear regarding your following comment I am assuming this pertains to any piece of equipment such as the Humidex? Using any exhaust device to remove moist air sucks in more moist air from outside into the home/crawl and must be avoided... If so, then how am I suppose to keep the crawl space conditioned?... What I had done, dried it out but will cleaning the mold now take care of the smell? From what the inspector is saying I NEED the Humidex to dehumidify & take the moist air to the outside then a flow of drier fresh air will be drawn downward from the upper level of the home (after remediation & duct cleaning)............. Anyway thanks again. Guess I will call someone tomorrow for a second opinion as well as make a doctors appointment to see what it has done to my body................. I need this taken care of before May as my daughter is having a C section & needs to come here for awile. This air is not healthy for a new baby.

    [Edited by bedazzle on 03-29-2005 at 07:11 PM]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    Bed you can do what teddy said their is nothing wrong with that approach! But you will have to condition it. I look at it this way why by a jag when a Toyota will work just fine. Yes with vent's open humidity will be about the same as outside but with a fan making the craw a negative you will always have air moving and with your mold guy spraying an antimicrobial inhibitor on the wood you should not have anymore problems.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    drk--why would you want to put an exhaust fan in the crawl to pull moist air from outside into the crawl and moist air into the living areas of the home? How will moving air lower the relative humidity of the crawl? Bedazzeled---you need to do what is correct and cost effective. That is: 1. prevent all sources of moisture from entering the crawl--rain water off roof--water vapor from ground--moisture in the air. Since we know that doing these things will not prevent 100% of the moisture from entering, (preventing moist air is the hardest) we need to put a dehumidifyer in the crawl. 2. Seal ducts in the crawl (The return is critical). 3. Seal all the holes from the crawl to the living areas.

    What I have described here will solve your problem and can be done at minimum cost. Sealing the ducts will save energy also.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,229
    Most agree that the crawlspace must be <50%RH to avoid growing mold in the crawl, condensation between the floor/insulation and on the ducts. Place a good %RH meter in the crawl and monitor. When the %RH is +60%RH for a day, your solution is not working. Recap, I prefer totally covering the earth with plastic, enough gravel to get the plastic lay flat on the earth, close the outside vents, enough dehumidification to maintain <50%RH throughout the crawl and home during the damp times of the year. This may require 80-100 pints per day for +2,000 sqft. home.

    For monitoring, Radio Shack has a remote %RH meter that transmits %RH from the crawl to the main meter in the home. $53 for both meters. When you eliminate the wet spots the odor will subside. If you are super sensitive, remove the insulation on the bottom of the floor and remove the mold. Insulate with foam on inside of exterior walls.
    Check EPA "Energy Star" for capacity and efficiency.
    http://www.energystar.gov/ia/product..._prod_list.xls

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    Uktra, The occasional water source is from a spring during long hard rains on one side of the house only about half way back.. The water is channeled underneath the plastic into the sump pump.. We already have a dehumidifier in the crawl set at 50% & I check it often especially during high outside humidity. It always showed 50% & the water is drained into the sump pump container.................................. teddy bear- we will be taking out the existing plastic & replacing 100% with 6 mil. Will also use foam board on the foundation walls. Will tear out floor insulation & insulation around duct work & air return & will close foundation vents up tight again. Will monitor in house humidity & get a dehumidifier for living space................. After researching more I am not going with the Humidex.............. Do you folks know if it is necessary to test to see WHAT KIND of mold we have. Just talked to someone & they said it is necessary so they will know what kind of chemicals to use. They use a vacuuming, sanding & sealer process...... Very windy here today so getting the house aired out. I put plastic around the heat pump to stop the air from being forced up into the house through the smelly duct work.

    [Edited by bedazzle on 03-30-2005 at 12:55 PM]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    626
    Bedazzled--If you have an underground spring, you must cover all the earth with poly and run it up wall 12 inches and seal to wall. Also seal any piers in crawl. No need to insulate walls if floor already insulated. Just air seal crawl, crawl to living areas, and ducts as said before.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    997
    uktra If you look at the post above it will say for the bed's mold guy to able an antimicrobial inhibitor!!!! Bed testing will not tell you anything you don't already know. He is just trying to make more money. The chemicals don't care what type of mold you have and nether should you. You know you have it so spend the money to get read of the mold and not testing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    SMAC---The water source cannot be stopped (spring that pops up during heavy & long rains) - best we can do is put a solid sheet of heavy poly as stated for the water to run under - Have already been thinking of a way to run the plastic up over the sump pump area also & I plan to leave the dehumidifier in place............. Am going to replace the heat pump & all the duct work for sure -$7,600........... Getting another estimate on the mold clean up tomorrow......... Having a hard time trying to determine who is qualified & will do it properly...... Plan on making a doctors appointment asap for health issues.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    13
    Smac it is only a small stream of water. It is only on one side of the house near the foundation wall. We made a slight trench for the water to flow directly into the sump which it does totally under the plastic..I will ask about tiles/ drain pipe? to hold the plastic up off the ground in the area where the water is so the water can flow faster into the sump pump. ... The crawl is dry now............. When I first noticed, it was after a very hard long rain. The water was about 10 inches deep in one corner of the crawl. It had no where to go except gradually soak into the ground which took days. The dehumidifier is set at 50% & every time I check it, it is working & crawl is dry.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event