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Old 03-29-2014, 08:40 AM   #1
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


Hello all, I was unsure the best forum to ask this so I figured I would just make the thread here.

I am a prospective homebuyer and found a house I really liked. I was as far as had an agreed price and signed contract, but during the home inspection found what appeared to be mold in the attic (along with a few other minor issues). Being that the house was already at the high end of my price range, I ended up killing the contract.

A few months have passed and the home owner hired a contractor to address and fix everything that came up during my home inspection. He examined the discoloration in the attic and claims that it is not mold.

The contractor says that the discoloration is the result of frost occasionally appearing in the attic and melting. He claims that the attic area is meant to be as cold as the outdoors, as the insulation is in the attic floor rafters. He also said its not unusual for frost to form on the underside of the plywood under certain conditions.

I guess this also raises the question of if what the contractor says is true, does this mean there's an insulation issue with the attic if condensation is building up there? For what its worth, the woman who lived there previously was constantly running an unvented standalone propane fireplace in the winter. I'm wondering if this could cause the condensation?


Attached are a couple of pictures I have from my home inspection. They are small size and not so great quality, so I apologize in advance but its all I have.




I realize its probably very difficult to tell, but do you think there could be any truth to what this contractor is saying? I've asked a few people and posted this on another message board and got wildly different answers, most people saying they wouldn't let it kill the deal, but had someone saying the entire roof down to the framing needs to be replaced. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:04 AM   #2
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


I would say only believe an industrial hygienist about mold.

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Old 03-29-2014, 09:13 AM   #3
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


Do what wingnut suggested and have the area tested by an approved testing facility. Also if moisture is causing the areas to form frost, there must be insufficient ventilation. From the photos it is difficult to see it there is ridge vents or not.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


And what he says could also be 100% true, propane is a very moist heat and could cause condensation. Now having said that a properly vented roof should be able to handle it unless the heater was vented directly into the attic. And yes the moisture from this could cause darking or the wood. As far as mold you will always wonder so get someone competent to inspect and test.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:46 AM   #5
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


An attic is exposed to the outdoors, and generally air from the attic is not intermingling with air inside the house any more so than outdoor air is mixed with indoor air. Aside from not actually being precipitated on, the attic is "outdoors" where molds flourish everywhere. Since an attic, when vented properly could not possibly be less humid than the outdoor humidity, mold can grow when the conditions are right. I say, let it.
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Old 03-29-2014, 09:48 AM   #6
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


Just a FYI, all homes have mold in them. they were built out side in the rain have dust and dirt in them the spores are there and ar waiting for the right conditions to burts forth.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:34 AM   #7
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


No it's not normal to have frost in an attic.
Attic not air sealed.
Lack of proper insulation.
Lack of enough soffit venting and roof venting.
Are all reason for it to form.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:57 AM   #8
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


I agree with what joe says. Frost is forming because moist (warm) air is getting into the attic space which, if properly insulated, should be the same temperature as outside. Proper ventilation can handle normal moisture before frost forms.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:36 PM   #9
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


Quote:
Originally Posted by ToolSeeker View Post
propane is a very moist heat and could cause condensation.
What is your source for this information? Moist heat? What is moist heat?
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:41 PM   #10
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


If there is frost on the roof and we take that same air into the attic in a well insulated and sealed house via baffles or whatever and expose it to the sheathing that's the same temperature as the roof we will probably have frost on the bottom side of the sheathing also. That's just a WELL DUH.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:16 PM   #11
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


I dont think a propane fireplace is the problem either. I have read unvented propane fireplace gives off humidity but in winter that is not really a bad thing. You can not these fireplaces as your only heat it is only for supplemental heat. So a little moisture in the air in winter is not a bad thing. I don't notice a rise in humidity when running on my humidistat.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:56 PM   #12
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


Quote:
Originally Posted by fairview View Post
what is your source for this information? Moist heat? What is moist heat?
(c3h8) + 5(o2) = 3(co2) + 4(h20)

Last edited by Anti-wingnut; 03-29-2014 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Felt like a freshman, and finally correctly balanced the equation
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:31 PM   #13
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post
(C3H8) + 7(O2) = x(CO2) + y(H20)
Thanks. I'm familiar with the combustion results of various fuels and if comparing propane to NG in an un-vented heater the two are so near equal it isn't worth discussing. Reason being it takes about 2.5 times the cubic ft. of NG to produce the same heat as propane.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:38 PM   #14
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Found possible mold during home inspection, owner says its not mold


That would be dependent on the pressure. NG has the greatest BTU content per unit mass. So a volume of propane gas at the same pressure as the equal volume of NG would have less heat

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