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Dehumidifier


The_Ghan

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I've had a humidity problem in my train room, which is actually a granny flat under my Beachcomber styled house.  The image isn't my house, btw, I'm just using it as an example.  Basically one end was enclosed as a granny flat for the previous owner's father.  Anyway, there is an on-going damp problem possibly caused by no building plastic under the concrete slab.  I've noticed some white-coloured mould appearing on my nicely painted (black) MDF base boards.  So I went out and bought a dehumidifier and plugged it in today.  With just 2 hours operation it removed about 2-3 cups of water from the air.

 

I was wondering if anyone else experiences such problems and how you deal with them.  I would imagine that some of those basements in the US get pretty damp at times.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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Hobby Dreamer

Hi..

 

We (Ottawa, Canada) have high humidity here in the summer but 2010 was quite bad so got a dehumidifier for the basement that I had to drain once/day - 45 pints..

 

The white stuff is called: Efflorescence (white, chalky stains).

 

Here is a link that may help:

http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/yohoyohe/momo/momo_001.cfm

also

 

http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/renoho/refash/refash_012.cfm

or

 

http://www.google.ca/search?q=humidity+in+basements&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

 

Air conditioning, a dehumidifier and dry heat (forced air furnace, for example) can help but I suspect you are in a hot humid area.. and near/sub ground is always the worst.

 

Cheers

Rick

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ohh with the mold yes do, it can really create health problems as well. once it gets well established its really hard to stop.

 

you might think of an epoxy paint on the cement floor if you have easy access to it to help prevent moisture from coming thru.

 

the amount of water you produce from the dehumidifier also relates to how powerful the dehumidifier is check out the rated max output on the unit to see if you are getting the max output then you know how bad it is. also a cheap digital humidity meter might be good to see what the min/max is (ebay less than $5)

 

here in dc we are in a swamp basically, so for half the year its pretty sticky. luckily the new hvac system does a good job of dehumidifying even though we dont turn it very cold. with the old hvac i had to run a dehumidifier in the basement in the summer and it could suck a few gallons a day easily (i used a hose down the drain). luckily no big mold problems there. i sealed the cinder block walls when we moved in with epoxy cement paint and we had a french drain installed as we thought there was some seepage coming into the lower level, but it turned out to be a drain issue! but now the basement is nice and dry. dont have to run the dehumidifier anymore since the hvac seems to do it pretty well. when the layout starts down there though ill probably go back to using it to make sure though!

 

we even get the mold in the winters around the window frames as condensation can happen on the cold windows and it keeps the edge of the frame moist. tsp/bleach cleaner gets it cleaned, then the concrobium to help prevent it from coming back. seems to work well as it takes like 2-3 years to start again.

 

one issue with the dehumidifier use is that you then may need to think about keeping it as stable as possible as larger swings of humidity can wreak havoc on the layout unless things are very carefully sealed up (even more an issue if only partially sealed).

 

cheers

 

jeff

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I run a dehumidifier in my basement train room in the summers here in the Philadelphia area, where we take great pride in thinking we invented the weatherperson's term "hazy, hot and humid." I have to empty out its bucket once or twice a day.

 

In the interest of multicultural international understanding, "granny flat" in Australia = "mother-in-law apartment" in the USA.  :cheesy

 

Rich K.

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Mudkip Orange

When I took urban planning courses in Portland we called 'em "granny flats" there too, although usually in reference to detached units (over garages, etc).

 

I tend to stick to upper-level apartments but my folks have a very, very large dehumidifier in the basement/train room. Thing stands about four feet tall, plastic tube drains directly to a floor drain. When it's humid the thing has to run constantly just to keep the humidity at about 50%...

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Thanks for the replies.  Here is an image of what the mould looks like.  This is not my door, but just an example of what I'm getting.

 

OK, I've just called the professionals, Damp Solutions Australia.  I also found some State Government fact sheets on mould in the home.  Apparently, I'm getting humidity levels of around 70% in order for the mould to colonise.  DSA suggested I bring that down to around 50-55%, so I'll try that.  I've also got to clean off the mould this weekend.

 

One problem is that the base boards are about the only thing I have with a matt paint finish in the room.  It is good advice to paint your train boards in gloss paint.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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My basement gets a bit humid in the summer (and never really dries out until mid-heating season) and cardboard boxes left on the floor tend to get a bit musty.  Not large-scale mold like you have, but not what I'd want.

 

I bought a dehumidifier a number of years ago (and it wore out and was replaced about the time I started the current N-scale layout).  That's mounted up high with a hose leading into the washing machine drain, and it runs nearly continuously in the warm months and fights to keep humidity below 60%.  Things are much drier now, typically under 50% humidity except during a rain storm, and dropping below the 40% cut-off at times.  Come January, it will probably stop running until March brings warmer weather outside.

 

If I had a larger basement, I think I'd have two of them if opposite corners or something (I'd need to figure out drainage though; I don't want to be emptying a bin every couple of days, which I what I had to do originally).

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ghan,

 

if its damp it will go for smooth gloss or matte finish, ive seen it hit everything equally. stuff that can absorb moisture also is a favorite and it will go after exposed wood or cardboard much faster. ive cleaned stained white painted surfaces like window frames with a mix of 1 part TSP (tri sodium phosphate) 1 part bleach, and 4 parts water. yes tsp can add phosphates to the environment, but its been cut back soo much these days that a little now and then for something like this to really clean and kill mold is ok in my book.

 

humidity is the key!

 

the concrobium seems like really good stuff to try to keep it from coming back and is really benign stuff and seems to keep it from coming back for a long time, but doesnt do as great a job in removing it as its sposted to.

 

good luck!

 

jeff

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i guess its the brand name. its basically a solution you spray on an area susceptible to mold and it makes a crystal that does not allow the mold to attach and can also kill mold its applied to by encapsulating it and crushing it as it dries. its pretty safe stuff sodium carbonate.

 

still have to get rid of the humidity problem to solve things, but its worked well in a few places in the lower levels of the house where there was some mildew on walls behind things and also on the window frames near showers where there is lots of moisture and cool windows to cause that small amount of condensation to keep mold going...

 

http://www.concrobium.com/

 

it was the most benign stuff i could find that seems to work for the mild mold areas that are mostly dry.

 

jeff

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Just thought I'd let you all know that this is one of my best purchases ever.  Working very well and removing about 6-8 litres of water each day.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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wow i can only imagine how sweaty you would get in there on a hot summers day :D

 

I been getting so sweaty in my room i have to turn the pc off as it makes the room a furnace.

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I also run a dehumidifer in our basement in the summer.  It was recommended we do it by our home inspector when we first bought our house, because over a long period of time the constant humid/dry cycles caused by northeast winters can actually affect the structural integrity of a house.  Our house is built on a concrete foundation with a wood frame and a large main beam running centrally under the first floor, and that main beam is sagging from the humidity cycles and is now being held up by three metal support columns.  So to prevent further damage, we dehumidify.

 

We always have to empty our bucket at least twice a day.  I'm thinking to have a plumber install a permanent connection to our sewer line next summer, because it really is a pain in the ass (we already have a connection for our washing machine, so I'm thinking it should be pretty easy).  But we can definitely feel the difference pretty much immediately if we forget to do it and the dehumidifer switches off for any length of time.

 

Dehumidifying has also helped keep the bugs out... we have kind of a cricket problem here, and while we do still have them (they're just all over outside), it's not like it was in the house when we first got here.  We'd have crickets hopping all over our house the first couple years, whereas this year we didn't see one above the basement, and it took all year to fill up our traps whereas in earlier years we'd fill them up in a week.  Bugs really don't like dry buildings.

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Luckily my granny flat is above ground.  The room is about 45m3 or 1600cu.ft.  But we've had a really wet year here in Sydney.  I've been running the dehumidifier full time since I started this thread.  When I started the bucket would be full every evening when I came home from work and again every morning before I left for work.  It's a 3 litre bucket.  Now it is only half full each time I check it and I can get the humudity down to around 36%.  I thought I'd keep running it like this for another few weeks.  Perhaps at the end of January I might change the minimum setting back to 40%.

 

Given the investment we each have in N-scale, I would consider a dehumidifier a necessity, even for those of us lucky enough to have well-ventilated, above-ground train rooms.

 

Cheers

 

The_Ghan

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We always have to empty our bucket at least twice a day.  I'm thinking to have a plumber install a permanent connection to our sewer line next summer, because it really is a pain in the ass (we already have a connection for our washing machine, so I'm thinking it should be pretty easy). 

 

I built a shelf up high next to the washing machine, and ran a drain hose from my dehumidifier into the washer drain alongside the existing washer hose (I just used a 2' section cut from the end of an old garden hose; the dehumidifier already had a threaded fitting for one).  That works fine, and has never caused a problem with the washing machine.

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