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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    12
    Thanks, in advance, for bearing with this long post. I moved into an old (new for me) house recently with pretty ugly air quality. I thought the cause of the smell was just that the house was dirty and sitting empty for a long time. A couple of months later and a lot of cleaning, including having the ducts cleaned, the house still smells bad--kind of like a mix of old house/sheep farm/gas leak (although there is no gas leak.) I've tried Ozone and it doesn't help at all.

    The house seems to smell a lot better when the air has been running a lot. When the air is on, the the air coming out of the vents smells fresh. When the air is off but the fan is on, the air coming out of the vents smells funky. The basement is partially finished and it is humid (~70% RH) but doesn't smell at all mildewey or moldy. I just started to run a dehumidifier. The AC seems oversized to me--5 ton and the house is only 1900 SF. It doesn't take long to cool down and then the AC shuts off. The house was built in '62 and has galvanized ducts with partially lined returns. There appear to remnants of a radiant heat system in the basement.

    And now my question. Does this sound like an AC/Dehimidification problem that can be solved? My big worry is that I spend a lot of money rectifying the oversized AC and adding a good dehimidifier and still end up with a house that smells like a goat ranch.

    Thanks, again, for any help.




  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,432
    70% RH brings out many odors. Urine in carpeting and mold are the most noticable. Get the %RH to <50%Rh and operate the fan in "on" mode. Add 50-100 cfm of fresh air. Clean all damp corners. Odor should slowly decrease. You will need a very good dehu. Dehus are available that ventilate with fresh air and provide <50%RH. Crawlspaces and wall cavities with mouse/rat dropping or cats urinating in the basement are common sources. Check out Ultra-Aire for ventilating dehus. TB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    12
    tb, thanks for the reply,

    I've been looking at the Santa Fe/Ultra-Aire as a possible solution. It's kind of my reason for posting here--to verify my thinking that it is a viable solution.

    Can I purchase an Ultra-Aire and install myself? Or is there another product that I could duct into the Santa Fe to add the 50-100 cfm of fresh/filtered air to the Santa Fe.

    Will a Santa Fe/Ultra-Aire in the basement dehimidify the whole house even if the AC is oversized?





  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    where you at?
    Posts
    3,359
    if there's mold...you've got some tough sledding ahead of you.

    then again, you could always knock it down.
    did somebody say 'insurance job'...anyone...Bueller...anyone?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    535
    Goat ranch... Dirty Sock bin... same thing here, I can't get rid of it (for 10 years now). Smells "OK" when compressor is on, really bad when fan is running (even during the 90 second ramp up period). I believe it's a property of the AC coil in a basement. My house is 100% finish out on the bottom floor and only one wall is what I would call a basement, but the floor is ceramic tile. I think the "basement air" somehow contaminates the coil, and the smell never goes away. My supply plenum is 3 stories, straight up, A/C at bottom. All the cold air in the ducts "settles" in the unit and keeps it very cold and wet. My filter often feels damp, although have not seen mold growth on it or in the unit.

    I've been through 3 A/C units in 10 years, 2 new. Both had the same problem within 3 months of install date. The last unit is a Carrier 2 speed, and I also have a Sante Fe and keep the house at 50%RH. I don't run the 50CFM make up air full time, it gets much worse when I do. Mold grows easily inside the Sante Fe, must be cleaned at least yearly. I can not find any damp spots anywhere. I have given up, until a proven technology appears. (UV, coil coating, photo-whatever, Oust for coils...???)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    12
    tc,

    10 years? Not the encouraging "yes, a good dehimidifier will fix your problem" answer I was looking for.

    The funny thing is I can smell mold a mile away and this doesn't smell like mold, but the smell is definitely a function of the humidity and the AC running/fan running.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,944
    You guys need to talk to Diceman. He is this forum'f formost expert on anything that has to do with goats.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Madison, WI/Cape Coral, FL
    Posts
    6,432
    Yes, mold can grow in dehumidifiers and a/c air handlers if allowed to stand with water loaded coils. To avoid this problem, you must dry the coil and ducts a couple hours everyday. We have not documented mold growing in a air handle or dehumidifier that gets to dryout a couple hours everyday. We suggest operating the fan continuously on the dehumidifier if mold is of concern. This slowly dries all the coil and connected ducts. Mold needs continuous high humidity to reproduce. TB

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    535
    TB, I know you like the idea of the dehumidifier fan running full time, but I find it actually makes mine wetter and it never dries out. It brings in more humid air, causing it to cycle every 30-60 minutes (rather than every 8-10 hours). So with the fan on, the compressor is almost constantly running, with it off it kicks on 2 or 3 times a day. I think it has a better chance of drying out in 6 hours (fan off) than in 30 minutes (fan on).

    I guess what I need is an outdoor damper that shuts outside intake, and a timer that kicks the fan on while shutting the damper, for maybe an hour a day. Any off the shelf products to do this?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    17,941

    Talking

    Originally posted by RoBoTeq
    You guys need to talk to Diceman. He is this forum'f formost expert on anything that has to do with goats.


    I new that was coming. LOL
    Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

    Theodore Roosevelt

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    283
    Originally posted by RoBoTeq
    You guys need to talk to Diceman. He is this forum'f formost expert on anything that has to do with goats.
    I new that was coming. LOL [/B]
    And call roboteq then if you want to know how to get your money's worth at an all you can eat buffet.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    12

    TC, have you looked at UV light...

    look at:
    http://www.acdirect.com/shop/index.p...on=item&id=791
    They claim you put this light in with your ac coil and it will kill mold & other stuff. It's not super-expensive, may be worth a shot.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    2,410
    I would suggest sealing supply and return ducts wtih mastic. If they are not sealed you will get basement air pulled into the living space. It aslo sounds like you unit is fairly well oversized. It is hard to say that a correctly sized unit would make you funky smell go away, but it can easily be said the smaller unit would dehumidify better. I would definately seal the ducts as this is not expensive and should help.

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