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Donnie's Corner

Mold and Moisture?

Hi Friends,

There seems to be a lot of concern about moisture and mold especially in the South where the weather is very hot and humid. Molds are a part of our natural environment and they grow throughout our natural and built environment. On the outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees. On the other hand, when it comes to dealing with mold on the indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds are fungi and they reproduce by means of tiny spores; these spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions.

Mold may begin growing indoors when the mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. The key to controlling mold is to control moisture and wet conditions. It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. There are many types of mold, and none of them grow without water or moisture. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling the moisture indoors. Repair any leaks you may have to eliminate the water. To help with humidity and moisture you can use fans and dehumidifiers. We also suggest you eliminate any wet materials in your home and clean all areas where mold growth is present. If you clean up the mold, and don’t fix the water problem, then, most likely the mold problem will come back.

Mold/mildew and moisture problems may be present if you have some of the following symptoms:

  • Musky or suspicious odors
  • Leaking Roofs
  • Plumbing Leaks or standing moisture around tubs, sinks and toilets
  • Inadequate or improper venting of kitchen appliances and bathrooms (high humidity)
  • Poor drainage in crawlspace areas and basements
  • Standing water pooling around home
  • Condensate or wet Insulation under the home
  • Discoloration or stains on walls, ceilings and the floors from possible moisture
  • Movement in walls may indicate something else is going on.

If you are unsure or are suspicious of any mold, mildew, or of your indoor air quality in your home, the best way to determine any problem is to have a proper and professional full indoor air quality test conducted by a properly trained professional. Periodic inspections (at least annually) of the general conditions of the home can be very beneficial and can help prevent serious problems before they get too far. Be proactive and protect your investment by observing the conditions around your home or have a trained professional that can help you identify any problem areas.

Thermostats

Hi Friends,

Let′s talk about Thermostats.

Thermostats are the devices mounted to the wall to control your Heating/Ventilation/ and Air Conditioning systems or (HVAC). Thermostats are usually controlled manually or with newer digital systems and can be set up to activate systems automatically based on your needs by timers or room temperature settings. Programming a digital thermostat can be frustrating but usually you will find the instructions on the inside of the panel door.

Thermostats contain 2 meters. One for the actual temperature in the room and one for the temperature you desire or “Set” temperature.

Thermostat locations are critical and are usually located near the return air duct. False or ghost readings can cause unnecessary cycling if the thermostat is in the wrong location where a secondary heat or cold source is located like a fireplace, bright lights, electrical appliances or even windows. These conditions make the thermostat think it′s warmer or colder than the inside temperature is.

Even outside walls in the best insulated homes are susceptible to fluctuating temperatures due to outside weather conditions and are not good locations for a thermostat.

Common problems and solutions:

  • Loose wiring or t-stat not properly mounted to the wall can cause a number of problems. Loose t-stats with mercury switches are very unpredictable but are easy fixes. Properly secure the t-stat to the wall.
  • T-stats may not respond to room temperature changes. There is a hole behind the t-stat where air can pass over the sensor creating wrong readings at the thermostat. I have seen this in older homes where wall cavities are not properly sealed. Fix: Seal the hole.
  • The temperature on the thermostat is inaccurate. Some systems can be calibrated and instructions vary base on the manufacturer. You will need a second thermometer and tape it to the wall next to the thermostat. Wait 15 minutes and compare temperatures. Call your service technician for repairs.

Maintenance:

  • Clean thermostat by light dusting or canned air to blow off the dust. I don′t recommend putting your fingers in it, or using household cleaners.
  • Change the batteries on schedule if present.

Energy Savings:

  • Many believe that furnaces work harder than normal to warm an area back up to a comfortable temperature which will counteract energy savings gained from turning the thermostat down. This is a misconception that has been disproved by years of research. So... turn it down.
  • According to the U.S. Dept of Energy, consumers can save 10% on their utility bills by setting the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours or more. Programmable t-stats are great for this application.
  • Be careful during the winter so as not to create more problems by allowing pipes to freeze.
  • Also, setting thermostats at higher temperatures during the summer will cause the humidity to build up in the home, and this can cause more opportunities for mold issues.

For more information on thermostats this situation visit: www.nachi.org/articles

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