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Jeanne
Help with Mom's basement
Jeanne

I went to visit my 86-year-old mom over the holidays. She is a widow and lives in Nebraska. She is a pristine housekeeper, but she has been ill with one thing or another since July. She has an iron absorption problem and it is slowing her down while the doctors try to fix it. She and my dad built the home in 1994. It is a ranch with a finished basement – not a walk out.

I visit a few times a year and stay in the basement bedroom. A few years ago I had noticed a little mildew on some books on a bookshelf in the basement. My mom noticed it too and I helped her buy a dehumidifier. I never noticed more than a small problem in all these years – even before the dehumidifier. However, on this visit I discovered mildew/mold growing all over the place in the basement:eek:. Every wooden piece of wood had some including the headboard of my bed:eek::eek:. A table and set of 6 chairs were particularly bad.

There are two storage areas. The one with the furnace looked all right, but I noticed the steel beam and one of the supports was rusty. The other storage area had mold/mildew on everything – fortunately there isn’t much in there. I bought Clorox wipes, mold killing/preventative spray, mask, disposable gloves etc and set to work. I cleaned everything but some of the storage room which my sisters are going to clean. My sinus were killing me before I discovered the mold, but fine after I cleaned it up.

Mom had not run the dehumidifier this past summer because she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to go down and empty the water. Still – there was never mildew like that before. Mom said she got a new furnace last year – I don’t know the size or brand. I connected a hose to the dehumidifier and ran it to the drain and turned it on.

I could see no sign of water leaking into the basement except I was unsure of the storage room wall (see pic). The drywall was fine and carpet looked OK. I told my sisters to check it out after any big rains this spring and to check for mildew / mold re-growth. There is a sump pit, but no pump (at least I didn’t see one), but also no sign of overflow. There are cracks in the floor, but no sign of water intrusion. The walls look good but outer corners show peeling paint and possible rust.

My questions are: 1) Is there any other cleaning that needs to be done in the basement (other than the storage room)? The carpet looked fine but I’m not sure. Air vents cleaned? Other? 2) Any ideas as to why this suddenly became such a huge problem – the new furnace maybe?

A few pictures:

Furnace room – rusty beam:
http://s514.photobucket.com/user/jhmoy/media/Mom%20Basement/DSCN0059_zps6752425d.jpg.html?sort=3&o=5

Wall in storage room. Is that dampness?
http://s514.photobucket.com/user/jhmoy/media/Mom%20Basement/DSCN0062_zps5e04d558.jpg.html?sort=3&o=3

Not very pretty mold/mildew:
http://s514.photobucket.com/user/jhmoy/media/Mom%20Basement/DSCN0065_zps0639bef0.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1

Wall corner. The peeling rusty area is at the outer corner next to a short wall (which looks a lighter color – a little deceiving in the pic.
http://s514.photobucket.com/user/jhmoy/media/Mom%20Basement/DSCN0058_zpsc94ed10f.jpg.html?sort=3&o=6

ed21
Re: Help with Mom's basement
ed21

Running the dehumidifyer to a drain is good so it can be run easily.
One pic of the wall looked damp. Check down spouts and grade outside to be sure everything drains well.
It looked like a humidifier on the furnace. Make sure it's not operating in the summer or leaking.

ordjen
Re: Help with Mom's basement
ordjen

Chek out this website for a product that is environmentally friendly, yet removes and represses mold from returing:
WWW.Concrobium.com. It is a colorless,odorless product which kills mold and stops it from returning. Helps get rid of musty odors too. There is also a miser for general spraying of the the area.

ordjen
Re: Help with Mom's basement
ordjen

Check out this website for a product that is environmentally friendly, yet removes and represses mold from returning:
WWW.Concrobium.com. It is a colorless,odorless product which kills mold and stops it from returning. Helps get rid of musty odors too. There is also a miser for general spraying of the the area.

keith3267
Re: Help with Mom's basement
keith3267

Does the heater have AC as well. If so, there is a drain for the evaporator and over time, this drain can get clogged up. When the AC runs, moisture in the air condenses on the evaporator and is supposed to go down the drain. These drains are famous for getting clogged up by molds, mildew, and slime because they are always wet. They are the main source of Legionnaires disease.

If you mother has a contract with a heat/air company to periodically service her system, they should clean this drain out and put a mildewcide in it. Check under the water heater for a leak as well.

Jeanne
Re: Help with Mom's basement
Jeanne

Thanks for the great suggestions. I suspect ed might be right. Mom is usually very good about having her furnace/AC checked seasonally but I bet she didn't last spring and I bet the humidifier was on all summer while the dehumidifier wasn't. I will also check out the mold remover/preventer. I used a similar eco friendly product found at Lowes. I will tell my sisters to check out the AC drain and look over the gutters, downspouts and grading also. Perhaps some settling over the years has changes the pitch around the house.

sissy
Re: Help with Mom's basement
sissy

I bought an automatic dehumidifier and it runs to a drain and is well worth the extra cost .I also have it plugged into a switched outlet which I had put in my living room upstairs .I don't have inside access to my basement .I did not want any access .I do not like the ones connected to the heaters ,had one in on my house in NJ and hated having to remember to clean the filter of calcium build up and remember when to turn it off and on .

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