Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Rest of the mold story

11 comments
Alright, the architect and his pal are gone, so here is the rest. After the kip lecture he said he thought we were just getting regular moisture in the room and not letting it back out, and he had his hand twitching over his "how to air out your apartment chart" like he was about to whip it out and show us how to care for our ever-so-fragile German apartment, but he decided to do a couple more moisture readings first. And, it turns out that although most of the room is dry enough, the corner where the mold was, right next to the floor, is WAY moister than the rest of the room. So, he decided he wasn't going to turn around and blame it all on us after all, but that maybe the heat is leaking water into the wall/floor or maybe the wall needs to be torn out (!?). Well, hopefully the wall won't need to be torn out, but we'll find out more soon.

In the meanwhile, he wants us to run the heat in the bedroom all the time and open both our windows (haha, we have two in the whole apartment) wide open four times a day. He didn't specify how long. Having the heat on is going to hurt because we use it very sparingly and never in the bedroom - I might have to start sleeping in the living room, because I sleep best in winter because the bedroom is nice and cool and conducive to the big blanket piles I love. But, at least we are on the road to having it figured out after months of no response! YAY!

11 comments:

  1. Wow, what a nightmare! I hope it all get solves very speedily. I really wish there was a better way to combat mold, but it seems to be a constant battle. :(

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  2. It really is - in Germany.
    I never had so much as a dime-sized patch of mold in the US. It really amazes me the difference in buildings. I never really noticed how drafty my apartments in the US were - or at least, must have been, since I had the windows closed all winter there. Actually, I can think of a lot of Americans who don't open their windows year-round because their houses are totally temperature controlled...whoa.

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  3. It's not that- you probably had more air circulation in the US. We tend to have forced air and when we don't (as in NYC), it gets so hot we open our better placed more windows and get some circulation going.
    Here, with open floor drains in the bathroom!- the best answer our landlord had with a problem was to cement a lucite cover over the floor drain!

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  4. I don't think I ever had forced air heat in the US, just radiators. (Except growing up, but I don't really think of that as my house. :) )

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  5. Now see if I had known you were leaving your windows on tilt, I would have given you the speech (but my speech would have less scoldy and more informative - or not :) ). The experts usially talk about "Stossluften" for about 10-15 minutes, but you just wnat to get some air exchange, and you can probably tell just by temperature. You want cold air in, but ideally not have the windows open so long that the walls get cold. (As dumb as it sounds, would some kind of fan help you let the air moving while the windows are open.) Really glad that there was some hint of a deeper problem so you guys won't be on the hook.

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  6. Frankly I am not sure why windows would have a kip ability if we are never supposed to use it. ??

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  7. I kip every day and my husband's parents kip their windows every day (for the last 40 years since they built their house) and we have no mold: it's a deeper problem.
    We do need to wipe the precipitation from the window frames in winter, but that's true in the US as well (I googled it) with metal frames or single panes in cold climates.And it's true whether we kip or not. So I think that's another German "thing", like draftphobia.

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  8. I actually wouldn't be surprised if the wood used in US housing is generally pre-treated with some sort of heavy biocide. Should be rather effective against mold.

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  9. They might treat the wood with something creepy nowadays (although I have no idea really), but I doubt they did 100 years ago when most of the places I've lived were built! I really think it's just that the houses aren't as well-sealed. It is less efficient for heating, but better for avoiding mold.
    There are houses that get mold in the US. I think it's just less widespread. There's definitely no Body of Common Knowledge about how to air out buildngs there like there is here.

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  10. There is! When we insulated our attic, there was quite a lot of information about making certain that moisture barriers were correct (people often reverse them by accident) and making certain that there was adequate airflow to prevent mold and allow houses to "breathe". There are lots of articles about modern houses being made too "tight" and causing moisture build up problems. That's why all the houses I have lived in have openings in the attic to allow the moisture to breathe out (you see the louvres in pictures of most older houses: they look like decorative elements). It's handled completely differently in my mother's stone house in FL, though.
    This is an interesting topic:).

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  11. For apartments too? I never owned a house. I never heard any mold lore in my apartment-dwelling life!

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