Mold in the home, have to deal with it for 2 months, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by c073186, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. c073186, Jan 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014

    c073186 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    I recently noticed that windows in 2 rooms of my house have been letting in some serious condensation (during the cold winter) and the bottoms of the windowsills were pretty thoroughly covered in mold. I read that if the area is less than 10 square feet, you can pretty much clean it up yourself without the need for professional remediation or more drastic measures. I still took the recommended precautions of a face mask, goggles, and gloves. But as I was about mid-way through the cleaning realized I didn't lay down any plastic sheeting or protection for the floors. Not much really fell directly on them, but I'm just worried that the cleaning process may have unsettled some mold spores that would then land on the carpet. I'm nervous about carpet mold because it goes undetected if it grows on the back side of the carpet. So of course I vacuumed the area thoroughly and I keep the carpets clean (vacuumed weekly), and further, they are not wet.

    Nonetheless, so many of the stories out there make it sound like mold will spread very easily in your home and now I'm concerned if I've made matters worse. Has anyone had to deal with mold... will it likely grow on a dry carpeted surface?
  2. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6


    Aug 17, 2007
    I think that you will be ok, however, you might want to get that section of carpet cleaned.
  3. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008
    Mold is insidious. Carpets are one of mankind's filthier inventions. Get rid of them if you can. A family member's guest bedroom (in Arizona!) had powdery mold covering several seldom-used mattresses-- it was all over, vacuuming notwithstanding.
  4. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    If you have a furnace and humidifier adjust the humidifer setting when the temperatures drop therefor you reduce the condensation, but not so much otherwise the air will be too dry due to the furnace (if you use one).
    Are you sure it is/was mold?
    There are some mold detection kits in Home Depot you can use to check.
    I think that the mold needs humidity in order to thrive, maybe using a hair dryer in the area could help?


    A good read about it:
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    When I first left home I lived in a two bedroom place with mould in the spare room. I never went in there much and didn't think about it much.
    When I had a friend staying over I went to vacuum and make up the spare bed. I noticed some mushrooms growing in the carpet (about 1" across). So I just gave it a quick clean.
    The day after he slept there he ended up in hospital as he had really bad asthma. I felt pretty guilty.
  6. c073186 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 2, 2007
    So as a follow up post... in regards to this situation, our windows are having some issues letting in moisture and as per my post, several of them have a mold growing on the bottom of the (wood) window sill. We've done some cleaning to try to remove the surface mold, and sprayed with mold killer, but I don't really feel like this will help too much since there is still a lot of moisture collecting during these cold weather months and until the moisture issue is resolved, mold will occur. We've had a consultation with the window company and our windows are defective (there was actually a class action suit against them for this reason, so they definitely need to be replaced) ... but anyhow, it's going to take another 4 weeks to get the service person out to take a look, and then takes another 4 weeks to actually get new ones installed. So at this point, really nothing can be done to remedy the moisture issue for about 2 months. This bothers me quite a bit because I don't like the idea of living with mold for 2 months so a few things have been doing through my head.... any one have experience with this and can offer a recommendation?

    - Firstly, for the relatively small amount of mold (just on window sill, not like it's covering an entire wall)... is this really a health risk for 8 weeks? No one in the house has asthma or respiratory problems, but I'd rather not develop any issues from something like this. I could keep the shades down to reduce airflow.

    - Clean on a weekly or biweekly basis any new growth. I don't particularly like this since it means regular/constant exposure and it's a hassle to go through the process.

    - Put up plastic window insulation over the windows, the kind that seals with a hair dryer. Would this effectively prevent any mold spores from entering and spreading through the room?

    Like I said earlier, the whole window piece is getting replaced, so I really don't care about the windows themselves at this point. I'm just concerned at limiting exposure and spread of any mold spores.

    Or am I just being paranoid?
  7. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    The mold needs humidity, no light and food to thrive.
    You can take measures like:
    Use a local a dehumidifier.
    Direct sunlight, or UV light to kill them.
    Local air purifier cleaner in the area.
    The chemicals should work to kill them.
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Seal windows to prevent more water leaks
    You can also rent a carpet cleaner with high heat and use anti-mold cleaners

    And call different companies.
  9. Gregg2, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014

    Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Your windows are not letting condensation in, nor is the condensation a result of water leaking in. The condensation comes from the temperature differential between the exterior and interior. It doesn't matter how "good" your windows are, if that differential is great enough for long enough, there will be condensation.

    If your house is of recent vintage, this problem is exacerbated by the tightness of the home. Newer houses are well insulated, and the opportunity for air changes is more limited. That is, air comes in wherever there is a crack. Air leaves via exhaust fans, primarily. Stagnant air will increase the chances of condensation on the windows when it's cold outside.

    We've had this condensation problem at our house. It has been greatly mitigated by installing an exhaust fan that runs 24/7 at a low speed. It's a quiet fan, made especially for this purpose. In fact, if we don't leave shades down (drapes closed) we get zero condensation. With the shades down, we'll get some condensation. With the shades left up just a few inches, the condensation is limited to the upper sash of the window. With vinyl windows, that's no big deal. You don't want wood windows or the wood stool (sill) getting wet. Our upper sash condensation can be "mopped up" in the morning, and with the shades up, as the sun warms the window, the condensation does not reappear. When it's really cold, we can bump up the fan speed for greater effectiveness.

    You can have your home assessed by a professional specializing in indoor air quality. The fan and switch we put in cost about $900 installed by a contractor. If you do it yourself, cut that in half. The assessment might run you $400 to $500.

    Edit: You can test me if you want. The next time you see condensation on the window, open it. Leave it cracked open an inch or so. As the temperature differential evens out, the condensation will disappear. Now, this is tantamount to throwing money out the window because your furnace will work harder to keep the room warm, but it will remove the condensation. For those in a warm climate, fill a glass with ice and a beverage of your choice. If it's warm enough, condensation will form on the outside of the glass. We've all experienced this. It obviously has nothing to do with air "leaking" anywhere or water coming in. It's a static situation. The reason for the condensation is the temperature differential.

    Of course, the air movement in the example of my own house is a factor as well. I overstated the effects of the temperature in the first paragraph. But, even with the air movement, if I leave my shades down, the air behind it is stagnant, and condensation forms.

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