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Old 11-01-2015, 08:38 AM   #21
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For those talking about A/C units optimized to dehumidify, IIRC, T-Al doesn't use A/C at all. His climate is cool year round. I think he uses his wood burning stove something like 10 months/year.

That's why I keep talking about a dedicated central dehumidifier, maybe coupled with some kind of air exchange unit.

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...
Perhaps some ceiling fans might help in the smaller rooms. At low speeds they consume much less electricity than a dehumidifier, you can leave them on for extended periods.
With the kind of humidity levels T-Al is talking about (80% plus), I really don't think a little air movement (just moving around the same wet air) is going to do the trick. He needs to dry that air out.

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Old 11-01-2015, 08:53 AM   #22
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Yes, this thread's main purpose is to see if we should put in a whole-house dehumidifier.

>Being that close to the beach it's a surprise you don't have more issues with salt.

We do. Rust. Everything here rusts at an alarming rate.

I'll try a few more things, then look into the whole-house. One option is to have the entire interior repainted with mold-proof paint. I did that many years ago in the shower, and it's worked great.

Thanks for the ideas.
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:32 AM   #23
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Yes, this thread's main purpose is to see if we should put in a whole-house dehumidifier.

.... One option is to have the entire interior repainted with mold-proof paint. I did that many years ago in the shower, and it's worked great.

....
Mold proof paint sounds like another band-aid.

The root problem is humidity, the paint might knock out the mold on those surfaces, but what about inside drawers and everywhere else you've talked about over the years?

I'll bet that this will be one of those things that, once you fix the problem, you are going to kick yourself for not doing it years ago, and wasting all your time on ineffective band-aids.

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We do. Rust. Everything here rusts at an alarming rate.
Rust isn't just a function of salt. Humidity plays a big part. My basement will get very humid in summer, and if I let it go, everything will start rusting down there (no salt water around here). But before it gets that humid (which normally is in sync with our hot weather), I'll run the A/C with vents open in the basement to dry it out. Sometimes, I do this even if we maybe could get by upstairs w/o the AC on. It's worth it.

So fixing the problem will also help your rust problems. Paint on the walls won't do that.

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Old 11-01-2015, 09:55 AM   #24
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My rough estimate is that if I run the whole-house heating and dehumidifying system enough to keep things under control, it could cost $6,000 per year as oppose to about $500 now. Propane is expensive here and so is electricity.

The fans alone for the propane furnace suck 500 watts. As we get into the higher tiers, the electricity costs more. We would be paying to heat rooms we rarely visit.

That's why I want to consider alternatives before going to a whole-house system. Maybe I'll run the heat for a month, and see how much that would cost.

>So fixing the problem will also help your rust problems.

The rust issues are in the garage (tools, etc.) which is not heated.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:11 AM   #25
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I'm not understanding how propane fits into this?

A whole-house dehumidifier (as opposed to using AC to dehumidify) would add heat to the house w/o any propane use - they would have both the cooling and the heating coils in the duct, basically the same as a stand-alone dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers aren't moving the heat away (which is what the AC units do), so you gain heat by whatever energy the unit uses.

Sounds like it might only need to run a few hours a day to bring the humidity down - would it really cost that much? I know our AC unit will bring the humidity down from high 70%'s to ~ 55% in just an hour or two. And it is not fully optimized for dehumidifying, it is balanced between cooling and dehumidifying.

And someone mentioned they run the fan on a very low speed for this purpose, so likely less than 500W running (the fan that is, the dehumidifier compressor will take more).

And I really don't think running the heat will dehumidify anywhere near as much as an actual dehumidifier. The lower humidity is just a minor secondary effect of heating. Raising the air temperature allows the air to absorb more water, so relative humidity goes down, but you have not actually removed any water. The dehumidifier removes the water. Big, big, difference!

Rust only in the garage? I seem to recall a photo you posted of nails rusting right through the drywall in the house (maybe that was a bathroom)?

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Old 11-01-2015, 10:49 AM   #26
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What do your neighbors do? Is a whole house dehumidifier common in your area?

How is a whole house dehumidifier different than whole house A/C?
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Old 11-01-2015, 12:23 PM   #27
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One example:

Ultra-Aire 70H 70-Pint Ventilating Dehumidifier - Free Shipping | Sylvane

Draws 580W max, includes it's own 150 CFM fan (which I assume is enough to circulate the drier air slowly through the house). Connects to your existing ductwork, 110V. Fan runs only when unit is triggered to run by the humidistat.

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The Ultra-Aire 70H Dehumidifier is rated to remove 70 pints of damaging moisture per day under AHAM conditions and is designed to handle up to 1,800 square feet.
Sounds like a lot of water in a day. I'd think it certainly would not run 24/7, at least once it's pulled the % down and only needs to maintain it. $1,300, not cheap, but it seems like good insurance to me, and would save a lot of hassle with all the other work-arounds.

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Old 11-01-2015, 04:16 PM   #28
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I wonder if those new super-efficient mini-split heat pump systems might be something to consider. They would be great for heating and cooling.

Heat Pump Systems | Department of Energy

IIRC the current generation can function down to 0F or lower.
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Old 11-01-2015, 04:52 PM   #29
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I wonder if those new super-efficient mini-split heat pump systems might be something to consider. They would be great for heating and cooling.

Heat Pump Systems | Department of Energy

IIRC the current generation can function down to 0F or lower.
I think T-Al needs to heat and dehumidify at the same time. IIRC, he gets temps in the 60's much of the year, I don't think it ever gets below freezing? Northern CA. Think temperate rain forest.

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Old 11-01-2015, 05:50 PM   #30
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We do. Rust. Everything here rusts at an alarming rate.
Our houses are near the ocean (one about 150 yards away). We always joke that, in both places, even glass rusts!
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Old 11-01-2015, 05:59 PM   #31
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I remember coworkers with oceanside condos or houses with serious rust problems - yes, even the glass. Nothing lasted. They never had any mold problems, though. This was in the tropics, much hotter that what T-Al is dealing with, and air conditioning was not a good option due to excessive energy costs. My guess is construction materials are different, less wood / clapboard / drywall and more concrete / stucco.

$6K in energy costs to dehumidify is pretty steep. You'll probably need better and more expensive dehumidifiers if you want to run them continuously, all year long.
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:22 PM   #32
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The portable dehumidifiers dump heat of compression back into the room, a benefit if you need heat, and a detriment in warm climates , so in your case, you are killing almost 2 birds with one stone.

Reducing humidity will not kill mold, just makes it dormant. You have to remove every trace of the spores at a particular spot to kill it , not an easy thing, except on non-porous surfaces ( Metal. glass, some plastics). Even if you could kill (remove) all the current spores, mold is in the air everywhere , and can be found in virtually every house. If you test for mold in a house, chances are you will find it.

I would look into asking a HVAC contractor to design a system to constantly supply dry make up air to slightly pressurize the house. This would be of no use if you like the windows open , or keep the fireplace flue damper open. If you are trying to heat with a fireplace, and don't have a dedicated make up air for it, you are drawing a lot of damp air into the house.

PS Just saw the post from pb4uski , about an air exchanger w/ dehumidifier core, one of those +
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:13 AM   #33
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.........If you are trying to heat with a fireplace, and don't have a dedicated make up air for it, you are drawing a lot of damp air into the house..............
+1 . My experience with houses in the PNW is that they seem drafty by Midwestern standards, so make up air for wood stoves just streams in.
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:18 AM   #34
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I wonder to what extent that problematic aspect of fireplaces is mitigated by direct-vent gas fireplaces. (By the same token, I wonder to what extent the benefit of fireplaces, in terms of drying the air, is mitigated by direct-vent gas fireplaces.)
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:28 AM   #35
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>Mold proof paint sounds like another band-aid.

Almost all the mold is limited to the walls. If I eliminate mold on the walls, I've eliminated the problem.

>I really don't think a little air movement (just moving around the same wet air) is going to do the trick.

From my research, mold needs stagnant air.

>What do your neighbors do? Is a whole house dehumidifier common in your area?

I have one neighbor who should be in the same fix, but he's not. His house had been vacant for a while, and had major mold when he moved in. He cleaned it up, and sprayed the surfaces with Mold Armor, which he thinks is the key.

I looked into it, and today I'm trying this product. If it works 10% as well as the mold-proof paint, I'll be set.

>I think T-Al needs to heat and dehumidify at the same time. IIRC, he gets temps in the 60's much of the year, I don't think it ever gets below freezing? Northern CA.

Exactly true. I always laugh at sites that say "Keep temps below seventy two to help prevent mold." I'm guessing that some molds prefer the colder temps.

>Reducing humidity will not kill mold, just makes it dormant.

Good info, thanks.
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Old 11-09-2015, 01:55 PM   #36
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So let's take the discussion a little further, if you don't mind. What do folks think about this?

http://platinumiaq.com/assets/pl-pco-broc2.pdf

Our HVAC guy was just in to do the routine maintenance and suggested it.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:08 PM   #37
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I thought it was called an air conditioner.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:09 PM   #38
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I thought it was called an air conditioner.
An attempt to make what is actually a "heat reducer" sound like something more than it really is.
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Old 11-09-2015, 02:30 PM   #39
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So let's take the discussion a little further, if you don't mind. What do folks think about this?

http://platinumiaq.com/assets/pl-pco-broc2.pdf

Our HVAC guy was just in to do the routine maintenance and suggested it.
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I thought it was called an air conditioner.
The device you linked looks to me to be an air purifier only. It does not appear to do any heating/cooling and/or humidifying/dehumidifying on its own. It looks like an add-on to your existing HVAC system. Am I mistaken?

That said, it might still be useful, if you think you have an airborne mold/odor problem that isn't resolved by more basic means. UV light is used to kill airborne molds, etc. But I have no idea f this particular unit is effective or not.

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Old 11-09-2015, 02:33 PM   #40
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The device you linked looks to me to be an air purifier only. It does not appear to do any heating/cooling and/or humidifying/dehumidifying on its own. It looks like an add-on to your existing HVAC system. Am I mistaken?
That is correct. I suppose the question is whether adding this device to your HVAC system will adequately eliminate and then prevent the resurgence of mold growth in the home.

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But I have no idea f this particular unit is effective or not.
That's key: It would suck to pay $1500 or thereabouts to install something like this only to find out it address all the mold spores in the world except the ones that you have.
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