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Old 12-03-2011, 11:54 PM  
BCrossan
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Default Big problems with humidity, condensation + others...

In a major financial pinch and about to lose my apartment I was living in, I was invited to stay at an online friends place in Arkansas (small Apt on his property). It use to be a garage for working on cars a few years back and the owner at some point converted it to 2 apartments.

The problems were evident when I first stepped foot into the place. Noticed excessive condensation on the windows (one small front window and one small window on the door) and also noticed the toilet tank excessively sweating and dripping on the floor. It only has 2 rooms and smelled very musty... had to pull up a carpet in the main living area as his wife tried to use a steam cleaner on it, but it never dried out and noticed lots of mold under it which I cleaned up with some bleach solution and also has what I believe to be black mold in the back room in a corner of a closet... also next to the sink on the wall above (and probably behind) and also outside the door that leads to a small crawl space between the 2 apartments where the hotwater heater is located.

The whole place is concrete and I have no clue if there is any kind of insulation or anything within the walls or the ceiling. Beings it was cold we turned the (non standard) heater on which is run by natural gas (this is what it is, just an older model) http://www.nbmc.com/vanguard_images/v20.jpg . I turned it on low which only fires up one of those 3 elements and when I woke up this morning I noticed the back room floor (which he also pulled the carpet up from), looked damp and lifted up the 3 cat carries and there were 3 dry areas in the shape of the carriers... leading me to believe the moisture was coming from the air and not up from the floor. The 2 windows were horribly dripping with sweat and so bad there was a puddle in front of the door (inside of course) and a puddle on the wooden sill. Oh and one other thing... the front inside wall and ceiling were also sweating.

He suggested using the electric oven (temporary) just for testing purposes as he said something about natural gas creating moisture or something like that and that the electric heat is a dry heat and should help with the humidity. Seemed to work for a bit, but then it got just way to hot and had to turn it off.

Im not sure what if anything would really help me out here, as I need carpet put down, but with the condensation/humidity so bad... it would just lead to a wet and moldy carpet again. Was thinking about possibly trying some electric oil radiators to see what if anything they would do... and also talked with my buddy and he suggested these options...

Strip off all the baseboards and clean the walls, ceiling and floor with borax to get rid of the mold... use some fans to help dry it up and then apply KILZ Masonry Waterproofing Paint (though aside from it helping with the mold, Im not sure what the waterproofing will do if the water isn't physically leaking into the house). Then from there once dry, paint everything with Zinsser Perma-White Mold and Mildew-Proof Interior Paint.

As you can see... its a real mess and my head is spinning trying to figure it all out... its like, should I get a dehumidifier and keep using the ventless gas heater or is this whats creating the condensation/humidity and should I instead opt for the oil heaters and do all the cleanup and painting/sealing.

Sure hope someone can help me out before I lose it mentally.



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Old 12-04-2011, 11:23 AM  
Perry525
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Burning natural gas produces water vapor and CO2, which will kill you.
Electric heat is dry.
There are two possibilities one is you are making the water vapor that is condensing on the walls, floor and ceiling.
Two, is the water is moving from the walls into the colder air and then condensing back onto the walls and floor when they become colder.
The way water vapor works is that it always moves to a cold surface to condense.
Every time you raise the temperature the air absorbs water vapor when the air temperature drops the water vapor turns to condensation on the nearest cold surface.
Water vapor in a home comes from washing, cooking, breathing, sweating.
As the indoor air is normally warmer and wetter and the outside air colder and drier, you can get rid of water vapor by opening a window or door, or you can use a dehumidifier or raise the air temperature.



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Old 12-04-2011, 01:32 PM  
BCrossan
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Appreciate the response and now I somewhat understand what is going on then. I noticed less humidity when I ran the stove overnight last night and less condensation. So do think my plan above is a good one?

1. Clean mold (just ordered a box of borax)
2. Paint floor, walls and ceiling with the Kilz waterproofing
3. Paint walls and ceiling with Zinsser Perma-White Mold and Mildew-Proof Interior Paint.
4. Use Oil radiator heater instead of the gas heater and run a dehumidifier

Oh and if you have any suggestions for heating I would appreciate that as well... its very small with 2 rooms. Rough size is around 30 x 15 with the main room about 20 x 15 and then the bathroom/dressing around around 10 x 15. So a whole 450 sq ft.

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Old 12-04-2011, 05:07 PM  
paul52446m
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Default Big problems with humidity, condensation + others...

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Originally Posted by BCrossan View Post
Appreciate the response and now I somewhat understand what is going on then. I noticed less humidity when I ran the stove overnight last night and less condensation. So do think my plan above is a good one?

1. Clean mold (just ordered a box of borax)
2. Paint floor, walls and ceiling with the Kilz waterproofing
3. Paint walls and ceiling with Zinsser Perma-White Mold and Mildew-Proof Interior Paint.
4. Use Oil radiator heater instead of the gas heater and run a dehumidifier

Oh and if you have any suggestions for heating I would appreciate that as well... its very small with 2 rooms. Rough size is around 30 x 15 with the main room about 20 x 15 and then the bathroom/dressing around around 10 x 15. So a whole 450 sq ft.
Never use one of those unvented heaters in a small area like you are heating.
You are getting gassed and it could kill you. That's where all the moisture is coming from. I am very serious about this. When you buy those heaters it will say use in a well ventilated area, Most living area are not well ventilated.
You need a through the wall heater that takes the burner air from out side and stacks the burned gas out. Paul
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Old 12-04-2011, 06:00 PM  
BCrossan
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Well the owner nor I have the finances to do a through the wall... thats why I was trying to figure out what other options would be best. Like I was looking at baseboard heaters, possibly oil filled though I havent had much luck finding any oil filled baseboards... mostly oil filled stand up units, which are fine... just rather be able to have them placed up against the wall and they all say to keep them 3 feet from anything. Maybe I should just look at standard electric baseboards... could place one on the front wall and one on the back wall.

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Old 12-05-2011, 02:03 AM  
sgeco
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Hi BCrossan,

I think improper ventilation is what causing your place to moist. Let your house breathe by opening your windows or you can try to install extraction fan, to pull out humidity inside your home

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:19 AM  
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Electric baseboards would be fine, just expencive to run and only if the building has a big enough wire feeding it, (not likly since it's a converted garage) and room in the breaker box to add more breakers.
Baseboard heat needs to be on it's own circut.

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Old 12-05-2011, 08:27 AM  
BCrossan
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Ok so what other options are there that would be viable and not expensive? Not exactly feeling safe sleeping with the electric oven on, which is what I have been using for 4 days now.



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