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What the heck is this about?

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David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Can anyone tell me what is going on here? 17 year old Class D brick veneer house has what appears to be a dark, almost black mold around all the eave vents. Same dusty mold around HVAC vents inside the house. Homeowner says the cleanable air return filter runs black when cleaned with water. There appears to be a light stain over all interior walls, really visible when you remove a picture from the wall. Fresh & slimy neon green mold on the front porch columns, different from the stuff around the rest of the house. All this started happening two years ago. There is adequate drainage around the house (slopes to the front of the lot). Neither house on either side of the Subject has these problems (I looked; neighbors are friendly). This is not a swampy area. There are trees at the front of the house, but none at the rear. Eave vents in both places have equal amounts of this residue. The crawl space does show evidence of previous moisture, but again there is a good solpe to the lot. Why is this stuff coming out both the attic (eave vents) and the HVAC? What the heck is this about?
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
David,

Are you sure that it is mold and not evidence of a cracked plenum in the FWA heater? Does it have oil heat-cause that would be the dead give away????

My electronic air cleaner always has black gunk on it when I clean it so that would be typical.

I'm voting for the cracked plenum...

Ben
 

airphoto

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Yeah, Ben ..

Almost guarantee you're correct .. or poorly operating fireplace, if not oil-heated. Have seen it more than once, and even rented for a short time a house with that problem (was HWBB, but furnace was in garage and was terrible!) Other possibility is using inside, unvented kerosun/kerosene heaters that are in need of cleaning .. have that now in my garage where my son's been working ..

Would definitely recommend a carbon monoxide detector, or two immediately!
 

Terry Russell

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Professional Status
Appraiser Trainee
State
Montana
I think the house has a very sick furnace. I am guessing it is forced air and probably a condensing type gas fired with high output.
I would have someone HVAC tech (expert)check it out. I hope no one lives there. It sounds like deadly conditions.

that's my guess, don.t take any chances, Terry
 

David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
The house has a heat pump. No gas on site. No fireplace or flue. What about the black stuff around the attic vents and the green mold on the porch columns?
 

David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Back up for heat pump is electric coil. Nothing is burned in the heating of this house. I'm impressed with the link. It might explain the interior, but what about the eave vents & the slimy green mold on the porch columns?
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Call for an environmental inspection. A determination of what the substances are will go a long way to figuring out the source (assuming they're not cooking meth in the attic). I agree that the fact that you are seeing the same stuff around the vents and in the filter as well as eve vents indicates a hole in the AC system. There's obviously a moisture problem (green mold) but that may be a separate issue. You are not an expert in environmental problems - disclose, disclaim and get outside opinions.
 

Ben Vukicevich SRA

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
New Jersey
David,

The black stains by the eave vents would be just following the natural flow of air out of the house. If it's blowing through the interior heating vents and staining the areas around the interior vents, it's probably doing the same thing when the air exits out the eaves due to pressure/heat loss air flow patterns.

The green mold maybe algae?? Are the wood porch columns in direct contact with the porch floor and holding mositure underneath them? Usually porch columns are set on aluminum bases...

Post back.

Ben
 

David S. Roberson

Senior Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Tennessee
Ben;

I just called the homeowner. The HVAC ducts are not in the attic, but as you say that may not matter. The porch columns are in direct contact with the porch floor, and this is on the north side of the house, not as much sun and also the side of the house with alot of trees. So maybe the green porch mold is just that: regular old mold. The HVAC problem is beginning to sound like the answer.
 
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