Me again - mold lady, still deciding what to do about the mold
discovered in the finished basement of the house I'm selling.
No matter what I do I know I need to keep the basement from smelling
suspicious. With the house being vacant, the A/C and heater don't come
on as often, so it does develop a musty smell. One problem is the sump
pump which probably has water in it, but not enough to trigger it to
empty. I have an antique dehumidifier that I inherited (one remediator
said "oh I see you have your 1942 dehumidifier"). Apparently the newer
ones have better features.
I need one that I'm comfortable leaving on unattended in the vacant
house. And it needs a defroster or something, so that when it gets
cooler in the basement it doesn't frost over, or it at least needs to
function at lower temps, which apparently some of them do now. A timer
would be nice so that it would run a few hr a day, although I suppose I
could buy a timer to plug it into. I'll probably sit it in the shower
stall in the basement (how attractive is that!) and run an extension
cord to it. Or if I could find one that actually pumps water uphill, I
could have it empty into the washing machine's stand pipe, or the sink
in the wetbar.
If anyone has done any research on this, I'd appreciate hearing it. Oh
and I don't want to spend a fortune, since my current house doesn't even
have a basement, although I guess I could include it with the house as
an incentive (yeah, that would bed a good selling point). Seriously,
most people I know around here have dehumidifiers in their basements, so
I don't think people would think a whole lot of it. (I just wish I
hadn't let the realtor talk me into unplugging it and hiding it when I
was showing the house, even if it was ugly; I think that musty smell is
what prompted the people to ask for the mold test).
I had the same issue last year, I ended up buying a pair of LG
dehumidifiers. My only complaint is that the humidistat is wildly
inaccurate; I have them set at 70% RH to maintain a normal 50-55% RH.
They do power up after a power failure; I had reported before that there
was weirdness with that functionality but it only happened to me the
once, they've been fine since.
One of these days when I have disposable cash (heh) I do want to invest
in some condensate pumps, as in humid weather they fill up their
containers fairly quickly.
IF you are looking for something quiet, the LG is not it. It's about as
loud as my old, dead 70's vintage thing (when it still worked, that is)
that we inherited from the previous owners. The sound is less rattly
and more white noise/fan-like however, so as long as you are using it in
an unused or laundry room, hearing it from the next room is not overly
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Thanks to all for the recommendations. The LG does sound like it would
do what I want, but I can't find any locally. I found a Soleus on
iallergy.com that sound like it has what I need and free shipping. I've
also seen several online and on eBay (I think mostly remanufactured).
I'm leery of them if only because if they don't work, it'd cost so much
to return them. I swung by Sears and they have a Kenmore that does what
I want. It's about $12 more than the soleus, but ease of pickup and
return may offset that. I don't really care about noise since the house
is empty... and I figure I'll throw the dehumidifier in with the house
for good measure. My new house doesn't even have a basement.
BTW, I looked again and I don't have a floor drain. I think there used
to be one, but there is now a pipe going from the stand pipe where the
washing machine drains, that goes directly into the floor, so I'm
assuming that was the drain once upon a time. That's why running it into
the shower stall is tempting; otherwise I need a pump to drain it
uphill. (Unless I sit it on top of the bar, which would be tres
Mine only had one (count 'em one) dehumidifier in the place. I forget
what brand it was, but not a LG. When I mentioned I'd heard about LG,
the sales guy said they have some stuff from that manufacturer and could
likely order it. There is one other HD around here that I can check. Thanks.
We use a couple of dehumidifiers in our basement. From my experience,
it seems that the ones with electronic controls are able to deal with
colder conditions while the simpler mechanical humidistat is not.
The one with mechanical controls tries to run whenever the humidity is
high enough. If the air is relatively warm and humid (i.e. summer
conditions), the evaporator coil gets cold but not down to freezing
temperature, water condenses on it, and everything is fine no matter
how long it runs. But when the air is cooler to start with, the
evaporator gets below freezing, the humidity freezes on it, and it
eventually freezes solid and stops doing anything useful. There is
normally a thermostat on the evaporator that's supposed to shut down
the unit while it's iced up, and if that is working properly the ice
will eventually melt and the unit will start working again.
In comparison, the unit with electronic controls somehow knows that it
is collecting ice, and periodically shuts down the compressor and
switches the fan to "high" to melt the ice. So it continues working
in colder conditions.
No, you don't want a timer, you want a humidistat that runs the unit
whenever needed to keep the humidity below a particular level. When
it's cold and dry outside, that may mean not running at all. When it's
raining outside, the dehumidifier may run most of the time - but you
want it to be doing that to avoid any more mold. Fortunately, every
dehumidifier I've ever seen has a humidistat, though it may not be
calibrated. You may need an external humidity meter to set it.
That's a solution. Or park it over a floor drain. Some units have a
provision for attaching a drain hose. On our main unit, I've arranged
for its drain to feed into a small-diameter clear plastic hose which
runs under the door into the utility closet where the water heater is,
and it drains into the water heater overflow floor drain.
You can buy special condensate pumps that have a small tank for the
water to collect in, and a small pump operated by a float valve that
empties it whenever the level gets above a certain point. That would
certainly work, but they're relatively expensive ($50-70).
What you *really* should have done is have the dehumidifier there all
the time the house was unoccupied with the heat turned down. That might
have prevented the mold from forming in the first place. Now you've got
mold, and you know about it, so you probably have to disclose it to any
potential buyers. But given that the problem exists, having the house
not smell musty the next time a potential buyer comes through is a good
(Our house doesn't have any mold that I know of, and it doesn't smell
musty even without dehumidification, but I found that unprotected steel
started rusting in the winter. I have a lot of tools that are at risk,
so we just run dehumidifiers year round to keep the humidity below 50%.)
You've got one bad situation to deal with, obviously. Problem is mold
odors are produced when the organisms are busy consuming damp
wallboard paper and other edible (for them) materials. Equally
problematic is that access to these hidden lunch counters is limited
or impossible. There are professionals that deal with odor mitigation
from smoke after a fire, for example. One such is Serv Pro. Their
assessment, good or bad, could help you avoid throwing $$ at a
It might be interesting to see what would happen by running a high
powered ozone generator type air purifier. Read and follow directions
on these units as the ozone is a powerful oxidant. Good luck.
If you have mold, water is leaking in, its not the absence of heat as
I have a non moldy place unheated. Get a unit that runs at low temps,
most freeze at 65f -67f some can run to 40f. Forget a timer,
dehumidifier may not reset, mine has a timer-daily cycle, a sears.
dont put it in the shower there is no air circulation put it in the
room and run a drain hose to shower. Who knows about brands, all are
made in China and are crap as i see it, One year Sears is good, next
year a different china manufacturer gives them junk. My old sears is
fine the newer one lasted 6 months. You need a good warranty and
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