Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stupid house

Well, the flood god passed us over but the moisture afrit had taken up residence long ago. Apparently, the NE & NW corners of the house have moisture problems. A few months after we moved in, we found black mold growing on the walls. Both these rooms are unheated, and I guess there is no insulation in the walls either. 

Last year, we had all the windows replaced with energy efficient ones which was rather expensive but it has made a difference in our utility bills (as well as being a heck of lot more aesthetic) and which also managed to keep the moisture under control. There weren't any mold problems last year. 

But last night, I discovered a huge patch of mold growing on the bedroom wall behind the curtains. These are floor to ceiling heavy curtains (came with the house), and the drawstring broke awhile ago so they can't be opened. I had a big plastic bin in the corner (not snug up against the wall, I learned that bit all ready) which was used to store some yarn. I decided I needed that bin for the cleaned beer bottles so moved it away. I used to have another plastic bin stacked on top of that one, which has been since used for another purpose but its lid had fallen against the wall and was hidden by the curtain. 

Apparently, a forgotten lid to a 2'x3' Rubbermaid container leaning against an uninsulated wall in a very damp winter makes an excellent environment for growing a variety of different molds. I discovered this huge patch at about 11:30 last night and didn't bother to clean it because I knew it would take awhile, plus I figured one more night wouldn't make much difference. However, I did have several anxiety dreams of mold, and mold removal, and being unable to stop the mold, and shortages of bleach.

So today, I washed the inside and outside walls with the recommended bleach solution (1/2 cup bleach in one gallon tepid water). I washed the inside walls twice. I don't know if it was necessary or not but it made me feel better. Then I painted all the walls below the window with Kilz. I'm not going to bother painting the rest of the room because really, that sheetrock there should be replaced. My neighbor across the street is a sheetrock contractor so I'll ask him for some tips. Like, should I do it now or wait until it's warmer? (Don't laugh at me. I have no idea. I grew up in a desert and the apartment in Seattle didn't have these moisture problems.)

Oh, and speaking of moisture? I recently found out that those damn toilet cozies actually have a function. I always figured that they were just some other sort of ploy for marketers to create a new product for squeamish people who didn't actually want to see a toilet; you know, the same people who'd cover the spare roll of toilet paper. Well, given that our water is so cold right now, there's a lot of condensation on the toilet tank and bowl. It actually drips off and pools on the floor. This is annoying, but it's a lot better than a leaky toilet, which was my original suspicion. Wiping off the tank and bowl with a towel after every use has helped but I am *this* close to buying a toilet tank cozy, especially since I can't reach around to wipe off the back of the tank.

The NW corner of the house isn't so bad, mostly because there aren't any windows there plus there isn't much in that corner. I just noticed this bit after I started typing this entry, and it still needs to be cleaned with bleach and painted as well. 


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