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Richard Moore

Mold patterns

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I guess I can count myself lucky that I don’t get to see mold like this very often.

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This was a 1962 duplex. Side by side (front and back) 2br/1ba bungalow units with shared attic and crawl. Baseboard heat only. One unit was occupied and was in very clean condition. The other was newly vacant (with the last 2-weeks according to the client) and was a mess-o-mold. I don’t know any more about the previous tenants.

The heaviest mold was mostly at the corners and closets of the two bedrooms (some exterior walls, some interior). Some also at window surrounds and one area at the ceiling/wall juncture. There were a few lighter patches in the living room and kitchen. None of these gave any unusual moisture meter readings, all were dry. In fact, the place didn’t even smell that musty.

Stuff that might be related(?)…

Both units’ bathroom exhaust fans were not connected to the exterior and were actually buried in added loose-fill insulation.

Both units’ kitchen range hoods had ducts that terminated above the attic insulation, but were also venting into the attic.

Attic ventilation was good (high) to adequate (low) and no signs of any moisture problems or mold on the exposed lumber or decking, despite the stuff mentioned above.

Crawl moisture barrier coverage was probably 95%. Dryer ducting of both units ran through the crawl to exterior dampers. There was a lot of lint under the dryer area, but it looked like newer repairs had addressed that. Oh...and under-floor “insulationâ€

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So…anyone want to interpret the mold patterns?

They remind me of my childhood............(?)......

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Yes, peeing in the corner can cause mold to grow there, but isn't it usually a kind of green algae? At least that's what I remember seeing out behind the shed. [:)]

Lack of heat and poor air circulation would be my guess. The moisture levels are probably close to equal in the two units, but the old lady keeps her heat on and the dry electric heat keeps her walls from getting damp.

Someone could write a book - a study of air quality comparisons in duplex housing.

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Had a client from a few years ago call me to help figure out the mold problem in their house. Come to find out that money is tight, so 5 family members are sleeping in one bedroom, and turning the heat off in the rest of the house. The mold issue was only in that bedroom............

Some may be interested in this: Mold

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Do you have any info on the previous resident? They could have had dirty damp laundry piled against the wall. Stored items, fish tanks, humidifiers, etc. The walls would have dried out in a short time after all the stuff was carted off. The board in the last picture does not have any mold on it, was it the result of some kind of repair, or access panel?

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Unvented gas space heaters can put a lot of water in the air. So can kerosene heaters.

That's not a bad guess.

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