Where the black powder comes from?

2-3 month ago, We noticed the AC filter was covered with black powder. In the past week we noticed the same black stuff by the base board every where on the second floor. We have a two story house and AC ducts are between the 2 floors.
What this black powder can be and what I can do it about it?
Thanks,
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Ed wrote:

mold?
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I'm thinking it's actually black powder. Obviously either the wife or the neighbors don't like the poster. I hope no one smokes around them...
Seriously, I can't think of anything else that it could be - except as you noted mold.
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Stachybotrys chartarum (atra) this is what it sounds like to me. You need to find and destroy all of this mold.
Searcher
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Thanks everyone for the responses.
We do burn candle. If it is soot, why we see it only around the baseboard of upstair?
Here are a few more facts:
- We changed upstair carpet about 1-2 years ago. Before that, we did not notice any problem. - The black powder does not go away with vacuum. - The door to one of the bedrooms upstair is closed. The only way the air can get out is from under the door. There a black strip just under the door which I am sure is the same material. This spot cannot be cleaned with carpet cleaning materials. Even a professional carpet cleaner that we hire for downstair count not get it out. - I can see the material even around the baseboard in small closet in the bedroom. I assume the closet does not have much circulation.
Do you think the material come from the space between 1st and 2nd floor from the baseboard, from under the carpet, or from candle burning?
What should my next step be?
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I don't know what your next step should be, but it certainly isn't from a candle burning and producing soot - unless your house resembles a Catholic Church!
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You would be amazed how much crap candles put into the air.
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Ed wrote:

Have you tried looking it under a magnifying glass?
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Ed,
Lowe's and Home Depot carry a mold detection kit. I'd suggest getting one and finding out if this is the problem. If not, then that is one less thing it could be.
JD
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Thanks, JD. Very good suggestion. I was not aware of such a kit.
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I followed JD suggestion. After 4 days, there was one spot with a green circle surrounded with white circle. I thought that should be fine and one is normal. Then I took some of black substance from the air filter and put in the mold detection kit and after 2 days they have started growing. So there is mold in the house.
I changed the filter about 7-10 days ago (I use EnergyAire MERV 7 filter from WalMart) and put the A/C fan on On (not auto). I checked about 4 days ago and the filters were fine. I changed the A/C fan to auto yesterday. Today I checked the filter and there were black. I am sure the Auto/On was by accident.
So, I still have mold. Whom should I call? Is there a good national company or should I find a local one? How do I look for one and what I should look for?
Sorry for these many questions. I am not familiar with this situation and I want to take care of this ASAP. I think my wife's daily headache is due to the mold.
TIA
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ED,
I dont' know of any company in particular, I'm sure they'll be listed under the yellow pages. Another option would be to contact your local fire department. Many times after they've saved a house from fire, someone has to come in and take care of cleaning up and removing the smells and water from the house. Your local health department might also be of some assistance in this case.
JD
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Darren wrote:

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm
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Ed wrote:

Could also be soot and not mold. Do you burn candles, incense or smoke in the house? Just burning candles can do this actually. Clean it up with a vacuum and see if it returns.
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Ed,
<<I changed the filter about 7-10 days ago (I use EnergyAire MERV 7 filter from WalMart)>>
EnergyAire filters are designed to be energy-efficient, low-restriction filters and don't do a very good job of removing mold spores from the air. I would suggest using filters with a higher MERV rating. The higher the rating, the better it filters the air.
I would suggest either the 3M Filtrete Ultra Allergen Reduction Filter (MERV 11), a Lysol Elite Filter (MERV 12), or an Accumulair Diamond filter (MERV 12).
Look at the Filters-now website for more information. Here's the link:
FILTERS-NOW.com, Inc
If that link doesn't work with your browser, type filters-now.com in a search engine and you should be able to find it.
I hope this helps. Ron
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