Cottagers CAUTION!! Cold Weather Can Bring Mould

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Hello Friends,

Below is an actual email exchange I had with one of my wonderful clients who just completed his first season in his brand new cottage. He went up for a brief visit this weekend and was met with a serious problem. Thankfully, I was able to give him some simple suggestions that will work. I have changed the names to protect his privacy.

From: Carefree Cottager

Sent: Sunday December 2, 2012 6:21 PM

To: Joseph Simon

Subject: My cottage

Hi Joe. Hope you are doing well.  Without getting into too many details on an email, suffice it to say, Renata and I visited the cottage Saturday evening and were horrified to find serious, active mold on all the windows, clothes in the Master closet etc. I know Monty mentioned this and you provided a suggestion. We cleaned to the best of our ability but there were many hard to get to areas. The moisture in the house was actually being controlled by a de-humidifier but that wasn’t sufficient. You provided me the name of a colleague of yours up north (forget his name and coordinates). Should I be consulting him, or can you assist me? I can also, if need be, use my own HVAC guy from my business. I need to know 2 things:

How to best control the moisture going forward and how to get rid of the mold in my house. I want to also understand the nature of the health risk as it stands and whether I should be avoiding further use of the cottage until it is resolved.

Monty is going tomorrow to have a look. Most of the readily apparent mold was removed as per your instruction to Monty.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks very much.

Concerned Cottager

Sent via BlackBerry on the Bell Mobility network

Hi Concerned,

I am assuming that your windows were dripping and that was the source of the moisture in your cottage. Monty mentioned to me that his windows were dripping as well.

Dripping on your windows is caused by the warm moist air in your home contacting the cold windows and the moisture in the air condenses on the windows similar to what happens to a can of cold soda when removed from the fridge.

There are two strategies to prevent this from happening.

Firstly, we must reduce the moisture level in your home.

Secondly, we must reduce the temperature in your home.

I suggest you employ both strategies.

The way to reduce the moisture level in your home is to admit dry outside air into your home. This can be accomplished simply by leaving a window open about 3″. (In my home, there is always a window open. It reduces excessive moisture and provides clean fresh ventilation air to keep my home healthy and fresh.) Leaving a window open will of course add cold air to your home and will increase your energy bill. Another problem is that there is no way to control this method since you will not be present most of the time. You can install an HRV, which is a heat recovery ventilator. This automatically brings in the right amount of fresh dry air, exhausts stale humid air and transfers much of the heat from the exiting air to the fresh air, thereby saving energy. This appliance will cost around $2,000 installed properly but will pay for itself over time in energy savings.

The second strategy is to keep your house at a cool temperature to reduce the contrast in temperature between your home and the surface of your windows. This will reduce the condensation of your windows.

You must make sure not to keep your house cooler than the minimum temperature that your furnace can safely operate. Typically this is around 60 deg. F but you must check the furnace manual for your specific model.

Regarding the mould, I would just spray the affected areas with bleach and wipe them down. It would also be a great idea to run a HEPA filter while you are up at the cottage to ensure the air you breathe is always safe and allergen free.

If it is impossible to wipe away the mould, you might have to employ the services of a mould remediation professional. I am pretty sure that Clayton from Link would know someone in your area.

I would recommend you contact Clayton at Link ClimateCare in Beaverton. He will be able to help you with these items and is also very familiar with the weather challenges and construction practices in your area. I have copied him on this email so he will be aware of the issue when you call him.

You can reach him at 1-877-426-7831.

Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to discuss this further. You can call me anytime.

Best Regards,

Joseph Simon

Please visit my Blog for great information on the latest HVAC issues Please check out our websites for the latest information on our products, services and specials.

www.premi-air.ca

www.airseal.ca

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