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Old 09-09-2008, 08:40 AM   #1
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mold in well-ventilated attic?


Our attic/third floor has a really strong mold/mildew smell, and I'm not to sure what the next steps are or how this happened.

Relevant info:
The area is finished, and both windows have been open all summer for ventilation. The door to the third floor stairwell is closed most of the time. Floor is carpeted, and walls and ceiling are plaster. There are two little nooks, with doors, that are unfinished space (like, don't bang your head on the ceiling 'cause there's nails poking out unfinished). I took some boxes up there two weeks ago, and there were no problems at that time. It also hasn't rained since then. The smell is so terrible now that I can't go up there; when I did, I could feel it in my lungs for 15 minutes afterwards. The smell is REALLY strong now, but there was nothing two weeks ago.

Questions:
1) Is there a way to tell if this is in the house or in our stuff?
2) Assuming house, I presume we'll have to hire someone to take care of it. What can I expect?
3) Assuming it's our stuff in storage, can I take care of this problem myself?
4) How in the world could this have happened in a well ventilated space with no water? There's no pipes up there. Our roof is 15 years old; not exactly new, but our inspector said it was fine for several more years. We've also had no rain. So how does this happen?
5) Can mold occur that fast? Two weeks? Or has it been sitting up there for a long time?
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Old 09-10-2008, 05:39 PM   #2
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mold in well-ventilated attic?


It sounds like water has gotten in there, someplace, and is causing a problem. It could be from a window, the roof, a bathroom just below. etc.. I would start by opening some exploratory holes below where you smell the problem. to see what's going on. Pick areas under windows, walls behind water sources(such as the bathroom/shower area)
If you're not sure where to explore, call in someone who can help.
Just be sure it's a mold smell and not some rodent who died in the attic.
Ron
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Old 10-02-2008, 09:17 AM   #3
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mold in well-ventilated attic?


I put a horizonal flow furnace in my attic(roof trust
area). When the furnace comes on in the winter, heat is generated
in the cold attic area causing moisture. Plywood roof sheathing is black in the attic.
I assume it is mold. I could not run furnace ducts from the basement furnace because the interior walls did not line up, so I went with
a furnace in the attic. I put a new roof on last year with a
ridge vent. I have air coming in from the overhangs.
Anybody got any suggestions on what I should do next?
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:10 PM   #4
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mold in well-ventilated attic?


Quote:
Originally Posted by opnjim View Post
I put a horizonal flow furnace in my attic(roof trust
area). When the furnace comes on in the winter, heat is generated
in the cold attic area causing moisture. Plywood roof sheathing is black in the attic.
I assume it is mold. I could not run furnace ducts from the basement furnace because the interior walls did not line up, so I went with
a furnace in the attic. I put a new roof on last year with a
ridge vent. I have air coming in from the overhangs.
Anybody got any suggestions on what I should do next?
Call back the company that installed it and have them fix the problem.
Ron
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Old 10-02-2008, 07:25 PM   #5
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mold in well-ventilated attic?


There is definitely not enough ventilation in your attic to suppress mould growth, as witnessed by the black plywood. That area should be better ventilated somehow to make sure the relative humidity doesn't get to above 60% for long periods of time. Now whether you can open a window, put in ventilators, or a mechanical fan system will depnd on what you have, but there was a miscalculation somewhere. Not saying it was the installer's fault, but whoever oversaw the recommendations of the type and size of furnace.

Look at your insulation levels too; the area should be separated from your living space; I'm not saying it should be 'cold' but closer to 'cold' i.e. non-insulated than 'warm'. The floor should be well insulated and there should be IMO extra mechanical vents in the roof. Ridge vent may not do.

Either way, the plywood should go. What you have now will only get worse, not better with time.
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Old 10-06-2008, 05:27 PM   #6
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mold in well-ventilated attic?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ccarlisle View Post
Either way, the plywood should go. What you have now will only get worse, not better with time.
There is a lot of fear on mold that overpowers reason. In many situations a surface condition can be cleaned, treated and sealed with something like Bull's Eye or Killz and kept in service.

It goes without saying that the problem creating the mold should be dealt with first.

There are serious mold issues out there, but much of the hysteria has been debunked as the alarmist fiction of ambulance chasers.
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