July 3, 2015 at 4:53 pm #42274
Well, the best laid plans of mice and men…
Backstory: I grew up here in Kentucky. Sparsely populated, rich earth, decent weather. When I separated from the military, I brought my family back here. We live in the Piedmont just to the West of the mountains proper. More arable land, more wild game, not “tornado alley”, no earthquakes, it rarely floods. It’s a nice little place.
Thing is, the weather is important to me – I don’t mind rain. I actually love it. The mountains are actually a rain forest – they create their own weather. Cool air comes out of the north, warm moist air comes out of the Gulf – they slam together and then head East – passing right over our little farm. Having enough water is almost never a problem. It’s like a conveyer belt of rain… you can bet on a 3 day cycle in summer. 3 days sun, then thunderstorms, then 3 more days of sun… you can almost set your watch by it. We take advantage of the rains heading for the mountains just to our East.
But this year has been a banner year for us as far as rain is concerned. We’ve had days and days of nothing but rain… weeks, in fact.
How this ties in with Mr. Murphy paying us a visit is the following-
We bought this place 5 years ago. It has a poured-concrete basement and on the disclosure agreement, it said that the basement sometimes collects water. We sought out the advice of a specialist and he said that the underground spring that feeds our fish pond is pushing upwards on the floor and walls of the basement. Nothing can withstand that for 100 years, so the water has figured out how to get into our basement over the last century. Before we had the problem taken care of, the basement floor would be damp with water. When it would rain, we’d get 4 inches of water in the basement.
We had that fixed. Or at least mitigated. The floor was jackhammered and drainage put in, as well as a sump-pump. The walls were coated and it has kept our basement fairly dry. Dry and stable enough for us to stash all our preps down there.
But this rain – we haven’t had any standing water in the basement, but the increased humidity has played merry hell with us. I was downstairs yesterday and despite all our efforts, mold has started to take hold in the basement. The air has been almost tropical for weeks – rain, fog, thick mists… The basement is cooler by about 30 to 40 degrees. Warm moist air meets cool dry air? Condensation forms. Condensation means mold. And mold we have… in fact, as soon as I am done typing this, my wife and I are heading downstairs armed with cleaning supplies and masks and we are going to GI the entire basement and everything in it. Then we’re going to fire up a dehumidifier and run it directly to the sump pump…
This is a completely unforseen circumstance – literally, Mr. Murphy paying us a visit and showing us that no matter how well you plan, Real Life has a way of kicking you square in the junk if you take your eye off it long enough….
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have our preps to rescue… will post a followup as to what the damage is and an After Action Report… lessons learned…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1July 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm #42276
Dehumidifier yes. Down the sump, no.
Parts of the midwest, especially in old houses with stacked rock foundations have similar issues, running the collected water to a tank to use for house plants or future filtration and drinking may be a consideration.
Parts of the year, we’d run two dehumidifiers, some years they were hard pressed to keep up. Sometimes they didn’t.
One year I remember 4′ of water, it was a very wet year though.
Some 25 years later, a proper basement has been poured, and most of the moisture issues are gone. Now just the usual 95% humidity and condensation.July 3, 2015 at 7:50 pm #42277
Sorry for your hell. I can understand the fight with mold for I live in the PNW. It is not an easy battle or one that you can ever let mold win a single skirmish.
Good luck with that and may your water wings never pop……
http://ageofdecadence.comJuly 3, 2015 at 8:52 pm #42280
For those of you planning on building a cellar , or are going to redo an existing one , there is a cement additive called xypex , it makes anything cement waterproof . It works , but i’m very allergic to it until it dries . With this stuff , it cant seep in from ground water , humidity is a different story , but at least you wont flood from a high water table .July 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm #42281
We broke for eats. The humidity level in the basement was over 95%. I have a long water line leading to the sump. The water line was – is – basically in a corkscrew shape thanks to its “memory”… which means I had to get creative so that the water flowed naturally down into the sump from the dehumidifier. It’s working, and the humidity is dropping nicely. When the sump is full, a pump kicks in and shoots everything out behind the house. It’s only about 10 gallons or so…
Had to go to the hardware store. Picked up some stuff called “Mold Armor”. Cleans mold and kills it for up to 3 months. Dude said if I used that stuff, then when the shelves were dry to paint them with a mold-inhibiting primer, I shouldn’t have any more issue with mold.
So, we’re letting the dehumidifier do its’ thing for now. Let the shelves dry, then tomorrow hit them with a coat or two or that primer, then reassemble everything.
We’re going to talk to an HVAC guy on Monday to see what we can do other than have the dehumidifier running during Spring and Summer…
More as it unfolds…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1July 4, 2015 at 12:48 am #42283
Magus, Sorry to hear about your difficulties. I would like make a suggestion that I believe will help you. Wash all the surfaces that you think are exposed to mold with a 50/50 solution of bleach & water. Add some detergent to the mix to act as an emulsifyer. Wear gloves and Goggles, expect to get it on you clothing. Use a scrub brush and slather the surfaces. If you depend on BIN or some other paint it will come back. Put a strong fan in the bsmt and get the air moving to dry it out. After its dry you can paint what ever needs it.July 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm #42475
I would think an ozone generator would help. If you spend a lot of time down there maybe not so much though, but they help control mold.July 14, 2015 at 6:17 pm #42480
Very sorry to hear about the situation. It’s always frustrating to have a place you love living in, but have something go considerably wrong. Wish I was nearby to come over and help with the bleach (be careful with your mucous membranes, especially your lungs – but it needs to be done). It may be a good idea to go to a medical supply house, or some other outlet that sells them, and get some of the much better masks that actually take care of chemicals. We were issued them in the military hospital where I used to work in case of some sort of CBRN incident. They used to test them on us by squirting a small amount of something that smelled like ether. If we could smell it, there was a problem with the fit. My sense of smell is far more sensitive than most people, and I could not even smell ether right in front of my nose, literally. (The official procedure is to use a saccharine spray, according to the CDC guidelines, but whatever….)
I consider these an essential prep item, by the way. What we got is available on Amazon for under $18 for 20 masks, at:
This is the “normal” size which fits most people. There is also a small size (the 1860S model) for roughly the same price (better for kids and some women in order to get a good seal). Though designed as a particulate filter that will even take care of viruses such as TB (and therefore will also obviously take care of protecting you against inhaling mold spores which can be a huge health issue), they also seem to significantly reduce odors as well. Just to check it with bleach before posting this, I went and put one on and then tried to smell chlorine from a gallon jug of bleach, squeezing the sides to force the chlorine smell out directly into the mask. It was there, but rather faint. These should just about eliminate mold spore intake altogether, and significantly help your lungs, nose, and sinuses with the bleach.
I HIGHLY recommend these, over the cheap white things sold in home improvement stores. Take care of yourselves!
Oh – and I fully agree with 74 on a fan. You need to be circulating the air from all floors in order to maintain reasonable humidity and keep mold down. Plus, you’ve got the natural air conditioning from the basement if you can safely bring it up (good air filter designed for allergens).July 14, 2015 at 10:35 pm #42487
Thank you all for your feedback and suggestions…
Here’s how it played out.
1. Room dehumidified/dried out.
2. Table set up in basement.
3. Stuff moved from shelves to table.
4. Stuff wiped down, en route.
5. Shelves pulled and wiped down with Mold Armor.
6. Shelves dried and then painted.
7. Shelves returned to original position and stuff moved from table to shelves.
8. Moved to next shelving unit.
9. Lather, rinse, repeat.
So, we were finally done and a day or two goes by – this wasn’t a small operation, given the stores we’ve been socking away for the last 5 years. It was, frankly, a PITA…
Then Murph – not being satisfied with only attempting to wreck our… stuff… he decided to double down on his efforts. We’ve been hit with about 6 weeks of rain by this point – it’s literally an every day event. But yesterday was special.
Storms in the morning and evening. But after midnight, we got pounded… Thunderous cannonades ricocheting around the sky, lighting flashing every second, and judging by the water that was on the underside of the porch roof – it was apparently raining up last night… it was coming down in buckets and sheets.
We had the basement waterproofed, as I said before, but Murph decided to make his presence known, and we had water puddled in the basement in two different places…. great… soooo, I called the company who did the work and said that we had standing water in our basement and that I was not happy, given the amount of money we gave them to “waterproof” the basement.
They said they would have someone out tomorrow ASAP, since we didn’t get ahold of them till after 4:30 PM….
So guess what we get to do?
That’s right! We get to unload all the shelves we just unloaded/loaded a couple days ago, move it all upstairs into the dining room and then move the shelving units aside so they can get to the area of the leak… which Murphy decided to have happen not only behind the shelving units, but also between two of them….
So, now if you all will excuse me, I’m going to organize us into a “bucket brigade” so we can get stuff from downstairs, up the basement stairs to the dining room with minimal effort…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1July 26, 2015 at 12:31 pm #42697
Malgus, haven’t seen you on the board lately (sorry if I missed something), and wondering how things are going for you with the basement. Hope you had enough help and that your contractor has done a good job of resolving the issues going forward. Let us know how you’re doing.July 26, 2015 at 11:05 pm #42701
Malthus ….Sounds like your area got hit with a 500 year storm. Like living inside a tropical storm for a week. They are saying its a super El Niño year. Nothing good about that.August 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm #43063
Our efforts were in a holding pattern for a few weeks. The company that waterproofed the basement was notified and, given the amount of rain we’ve been getting (you might have noticed the flood warnings and our Governor trying to get parts of the Commonwealth declared disaster areas), they were literally backlogged weeks.
Last week, they finally got downstairs and fixed the problem. Guy said it was literally one small pinhole that was exploited by the water. They fixed it. Then we had to let everything dry and cure. Which brings us to 3 days ago – we formed a bucket brigade again, only everything heading down the stairs instead of up. Which was a good thing, being as visitors to our home asked if we had been to Sam’s Club recently (we had food, ammo, boxes, etc, stacked anywhere we could find a space, with paths between them. Don’t know how many times I kicked a full 50 cal ammo can with bare feet, coming out of the bathroom at 2am. that gets old fast). Most of the issues have been addressed, things cleaned and repacked in plastic containers instead of boxes, etc, and ventilation installed to keep the whole mold thing from happening again…
If there is an upside to all this, is that the basement got a good cleaning, our stocks were noted and rotated, deficiencies noted with plans to fill those holes in our preps… so I guess it’s a net win. But it was a lot of work…
Still have a few minor piddly things to take care of, but those can be done at our leisure…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1August 13, 2015 at 2:20 pm #43065
Glad to hear you’re well over on the backside of that mess. I hope that in time the old saying is able to kick in for you, “Time + Tragedy = Humor.” But it’s still a shame that you had to endure it more than once, and for so long. Thanks for the update. It just reinforces the reminder we all need at times that today is just today – not the entire future – and that one day we’ll emerge out the other side as long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other.August 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm #43104
I am a Kung Fu Master at gallows humor. Nobody likes to hear anyone just b*tch for its’ own sake… so try I mix in a good portion of wry humor as best I can. Or sarcasm. Or whatever else I can muster. I pronounced the 50 cal. ammo cans “Better than a pot of coffee” as far as waking someone up in the morning…
This morning, we found 3 mules – not ours – standing in our driveway. (I immediately asked where Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine were…. nobody got the reference… oh well). Spent about half an hour running around in the pea-soup-thick fog and mist in my PJ’s and house shoes with our neighbor trying to round them up. It was like some weird version of Blind Man’s Bluff… me yelling “Marco!” every once in awhile.
Never a dull day…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1
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