Mold behind bedroom cupboard

45 posts in this topic

Remove the back, take it's size, throw it away, go to the next DYO and buy a new one. Will take you 5-20€ depending on the size. Don't mess around with sandpaper. You will inhale the spores. It's not worth it.

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the mold is real, and us expats have to deal with it. But what's up? I lived in Chicago, NYC, Boston, and plenty of other places and never heard of or saw mold due to a failure to air a room or because furniture was (gasp) too close to a wall. But it really happens here, I've seen it myself... What is so different here compared to North America?

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Yes, Germans seem to have trouble understanding that we don't have these "normal" mold issues in NA. Having lived in FL and in La, where mold can actually be a problem, I think the major issues are that Germans: don't put in ceiling fans or move air around, that they use radiators and turn them off constantly so that the walls go from warm to cold and there is a temperature gradient, that they generally don't insulate their stone walls and that they frequently/always wallpaper and may begin the issue with trapped mold spores in the glue/paste.

On the other hand, I do luft every day, I place my furniture away from the wall, I put in ceiling fans and I live on the third floor, so I'm taming the mold issue (we wacked the heck out of it when we moved it, with bleach, just as we did when we moved into an old plaster house in NY).

That said, I'm allergic to mold and would never sand moldy crap inside or "fix" a back: costs very little to replace at DIY, where they could also sand the shelves for you if they aren't too infiltrated. If they are, throw them away and have new ones cut (or buy if standard size).

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Another reason for the increasing problem with mold are new -leak tight- windows in old buildings. The old windows were not tight. So there was a constant ventilation keeping the humidity down. To save energy, new better insulated, leak tight windows were installed. By this measure the humidity was not removed and suddenly the walls became the coldest part of the room. With the old windows the humidity was condensing on the windows and could be removed easily. Now the water is condensing on the coldest parts of the outer walls behind the shelves -mold.

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What is so different here compared to North America?

 

The climate obviously! Mould is only a problem in areas with a high relative humidity, which includes (southern) Germany in the summertime. Opening a window doesn't really help much when it's 70% outside as well.

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But, STB, we don't (normally) have these issues with stone buildings in Florida, where heat can be 40C and humidity 100% for days. And we have mold issues in the north as well. So the issues are, I think, the ones I cited. Not the simple fact of humidity existing.

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AC units work in a similar way to dehumidifiers so if you have air-conditioning then that will keep the indoor humidity in check.

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True. But we never had AC in Cape Cod, with high humidity and heat in the day time. We had cross-ventilation.And friends in FL (northern) also don't have AC: they have cross-ventilation and fans. Ditto for many friends in Atlanta (even more humid).

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Another reason for the increasing problem with mold are new -leak tight- windows in old buildings. The old windows were not tight. So there was a constant ventilation keeping the humidity down.

This is so true. Our house was built in 1969, we moved in in 1995 and several years later replaced all the windows. Since then we've had mold problems on the damp north and west facing sides of the house. No amount of airing out or moving of furniture has prevented it.

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That's why, in the US, when you add insulation they calculate airflow and discuss not making the house too tight— I remember there is a certain amount of airvolume that should be completely replaced ever hour and why I had a roof vent that sucked air up and out.

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If you can't get the humidity down, I would suggest an ventilation system with heat recovery. Something like this: http://www.meltem.com/waermerueckgewinnung/produkte/produktfamilie-m-wrg/

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Just wanted to post an update. We still don't know who will pay for what, but we are having the "wallpaper" removed tomorrow and replaced. Hopefully it doesn't go any deeper than that. We can't change anything now so we'll just have to roll with it.

 

I wanted to let people know what I discovered about 100% correct airing out procedures, because it's not really common sense and many Germans themselves don't seem to know what's correct. We got false advice from several different people. Although in our case I think the cupboard was the culprit, but after researching this online apparently our airing-out wasn't 100% correct either. Maybe someone else can prevent mold with this info.

 

Very important is: NEVER leave your windows open from the top (offengekippt). Germans love to do this and we were advised from others to do it in the spring, but it's wrong. In the winter it wastes energy, and it can lead to mold at any time of year. At the most only do this for a short time in the kitchen while cooking.

 

SUMMER: open all windows and doors all the way big like a door (= Querlueften) only early in the morning and late in the evening for around 15 minutes to an hour at most. Especially on hot and humid days keep everything closed otherwise.

 

WINTER: heat every room always, even at night, albeit at a lower temperature. "Querlueft" as above 4 times a day, and turn off the heaters when you do this. One of these sessions should be right after waking up. When there's frost air out for 2-3 minutes each time; when the temp is above zero for 5-10 minutes each time.

 

SPRING and FALL: "Querlueft" as above 4 times a day for 10-15 minutes each time.

 

Also: optimally air out the BEDROOM right after getting up, and again after an hour.

 

Showers and cooking: air out right away as well as 30 minutes after that.

 

Buy a hygrometer and keep the humidity between 40-60%.

 

NEVER put a large piece of furniture on an outer wall, and if you can't get around it, make sure it's at least 10 cm away from the wall.

 

For Americans, this is so not common sense. We were doing pretty good, but in the spring we often had the windows open at the top, because our neighbors actually advised us to do this and we thought it was correct.

 

BTW, I got this from: (in german) http://www.lichtenfels-city.de/index.php?id=2586,233

The info was also on other official sites about correct airing-out procedures.

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I just bought a dehumidifier from Amazon and used it for the first time yesterday in my 30 sqm apartment.

The outside humidity was about 70% and the humidity inside was in the low 60s (62-63%)

I turned on the dehumidifier in the evening and ran it all night. The next morning it collected 100ml of water, but the humidity in my apartment, according to my hygrometer, remained the same. Also I noticed that the air was actually more "musty" than before. It had a slight smell of garbage. :huh:

 

Anyone know what the reason could be that despite all the water that was removed from the air, the humidity levels in the apartment still remained unchanged?

 

I live in a ground floor apartment in an altbauwohnung in central Munich. I read that such apartments always have problems with humidity, but I expected this could be solved by a dehumidifier.

 

Any ideas?

Thanks.

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aries6 during the night you already sweat 0.5l of water.

The tank should have been full.

I read the comments at amazon. People complain that the dehumidifier did not work efficiently.

You need a bigger guy.

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When it comes to dehumidifiers, you really get what you pay for. We have one of these and it has been very useful in dealing with mold issues (and dust mites) in our living room. They are often rated for the room volume and this one often condenses >5 liters of water per day in our 35 m2 altbau living room (ground floor with a garden in front of the windows). We caught the mold problem early on and this device has been the single most useful thing in fighting mold in our apartment. It has, however, caused problems like dry skin etc.

 

If you are trying to control humidity in your living space you have to pay attention to all sources of water you may have in the apartment. Several things to watch out for: after taking a shower don't let the steam from the bathroom escape to other rooms, same goes for cooking in the kitchen, don't keep plants in the apartment because they increase humidity and will probably not do well in dry space anyway, try not to exercise in the apartment (you'd be amazed how much sweat/steam an average human produces).

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