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Mold mold and more mold 😱


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Hello, please help. I bought my 1st narrowboat/home last year and issues have been somewhat challenging to say the least. The current one and a massive problem is mold. I had a leak months ago, took up the lino and dried it out but there is now this brown sandy looking stuff on the floor in the bedroom. There is also a blanket of black mold above and in the engine bay which I've just discovered (I'm currently in a marina so haven't run my engine or checked my levels in over a month to notice it), and a lot of moisture. The inside of the rear hatch also has black mold over it and what looks like mold moles on it in places. There is also black mold all over the roof outside and inside the cratch cover. All mushroom vents are open a gap and I always open windows when I have the stove on or am in for a period of time. Has anyone experienced similar or know why this is soo bad? I also have moisture capture bags and devices all over the place and try not to let the humidity get too high. Any assistance/advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

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Mould says high humidity/condensation .....which says you have a leak,poor ventilation,,and substantial standing water surface inside the hull.......poor ventilation is probably the easiest to tackle.

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To amplify John.k's message. Have you ensured the bilge under the cabin floor has no water in it and is as dry as possible. Water under the floor will produce horrendous volumes of damp air and thus condensation.

 

Have you blocked any vents? What you describe screams poor ventilation, do you have an windows open when the stove is running well?

 

Unless you have an all in one bilge, like many older boats, the back bulkhead forms a sealed bilge under the cabin floor. Somewhere close to the rear bulkhead you should have an inspection trap cut in the floor. Possibly under the rear steps or in the bottom of a cupboard built against the back bulkhead. If you don't have one then unless it is an all in one bilge you would do well to cut one.

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30 minutes ago, blackrose said:

What are mould moles? 

 

I take it that the OP means dark mould rings or discs that are forming where a mould spore lands on a damp surface and the starts to breed and expand the mould area.

 

I would think  a good start would be to wash down with strong diluted bleach to kill all the spores on the surface but unless the damp can be cured It will only be a very temporary cure.

 

I wonder if the OP has a wooden top boat or one with no insulation under the cabin linings and ceiling.

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Once you have fixed the ventilation problem, ordinary cheap  household bleach, diluted as per instructions,  is far more effective than expensive mould-removing stuff for cleaning the mould off. When we visited a friend who had rented her house to someone while working abroad, we found she had a terrible mould problem.in a room which had been used to dry wet clothing without having a window open. She had spent pounds on the special stuff, none of which  had worked. Scrubbing with cheap supermarket bleach and drying with a fan heater removed the mould, which has never returned after more than  4 years.

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9 hours ago, john.k said:

Mould says high humidity/condensation .....which says you have a leak,poor ventilation,,and substantial standing water surface inside the hull.......poor ventilation is probably the easiest to tackle.

I regularly check under the inspection hatch since the leak and it appears dry (though the hole is only aprx 20cm x 20cm, so visibility is limited). I keep the windows closed when I'm out but always open them when the stove is on (they are all portholes so only tilt open about an inch and a half). I work nights so have 2 oil filled radiators on timers to stop the boat going below zero with the windows closed, would that cause problems? They are not that high wattage and just keep the chill off. I have the windows cracked open in the bedroom while I'm sleeping also.

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4 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

To amplify John.k's message. Have you ensured the bilge under the cabin floor has no water in it and is as dry as possible. Water under the floor will produce horrendous volumes of damp air and thus condensation.

 

Have you blocked any vents? What you describe screams poor ventilation, do you have an windows open when the stove is running well?

 

Unless you have an all in one bilge, like many older boats, the back bulkhead forms a sealed bilge under the cabin floor. Somewhere close to the rear bulkhead you should have an inspection trap cut in the floor. Possibly under the rear steps or in the bottom of a cupboard built against the back bulkhead. If you don't have one then unless it is an all in one bilge you would do well to cut one.

I regularly check under the inspection hatch since the leak and it appears dry (though the hole is only aprx 20cm x 20cm, so visibility is limited). I keep the windows closed when I'm out but always open them when the stove is on (they are all portholes so only tilt open about an inch and a half) and I've not blocked any vents. I work nights so have 2 oil filled radiators on timers to stop the boat going below zero with the windows closed, would that cause problems? They are not that high wattage and just keep the chill off. I have the windows cracked open in the bedroom while I'm sleeping also. 

4 hours ago, blackrose said:

What are mould moles? 

Things that look like a giant mole but are made up of mold (no idea what the correct terminology is 🤦‍♀️ )

4 hours ago, Murflynn said:

Mold is in North Wales, close to the border with Cheshire. 

🤦‍♀️

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3 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

I take it that the OP means dark mould rings or discs that are forming where a mould spore lands on a damp surface and the starts to breed and expand the mould area.

 

I would think  a good start would be to wash down with strong diluted bleach to kill all the spores on the surface but unless the damp can be cured It will only be a very temporary cure.

 

I wonder if the OP has a wooden top boat or one with no insulation under the cabin linings and ceiling.

I have a hazmat suit, goggles and a mask at the ready and am off to tackle it now. I am armed with a cheap 2nd hand hoover, a brush, and a ton of vinegar so 🤞🤞🤞

Ps. All steal and alleged spray foam insulation.

3 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Mould on the inside of the rear hatch and cratch cover is because these are poorly/uninsulated, so any water vapour below is going to condense out on them.

Is your cratch area well ventilated?

It has the built in decent sized side vent. I'm thinking that once it's sorted, I need to leave the doors open more frequently to vent it a little more.

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3 hours ago, Ronaldo47 said:

Once you have fixed the ventilation problem, ordinary cheap  household bleach, diluted as per instructions,  is far more effective than expensive mould-removing stuff for cleaning the mould off. When we visited a friend who had rented her house to someone while working abroad, we found she had a terrible mould problem.in a room which had been used to dry wet clothing without having a window open. She had spent pounds on the special stuff, none of which  had worked. Scrubbing with cheap supermarket bleach and drying with a fan heater removed the mould, which has never returned after more than  4 years.

Thank you. I read a lot about it last night and I'm going to try vinegar on the hatch because apparently bleach forces the mold deeper into the wood but is really good on other surfaces.

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Check for leaking windows,and mushroom vents.

As Tony says a wet bilge will also condense moisture into the cabin.

It may be a good idea to cut a rather larger inspection trap in the floor.

Dilute bleach should kill the mould spores,and I have used Cillit Bang Black Mould Remover and found it very effective.

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3 minutes ago, Mad Harold said:

Check for leaking windows,and mushroom vents.

As Tony says a wet bilge will also condense moisture into the cabin.

It may be a good idea to cut a rather larger inspection trap in the floor.

Dilute bleach should kill the mould spores,and I have used Cillit Bang Black Mould Remover and found it very effective.

Thank you. Yes, definitely need a bigger viewing hatch. It is on my list. No visible sign of leakage around windows or vents. 

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31 minutes ago, wibbly wobbler said:

Thank you. Yes, definitely need a bigger viewing hatch. It is on my list. No visible sign of leakage around windows or vents. 

 

There often is not because it runs down the inside of the cabin side and eventually finds its way into the bilge. You probably have a horizontal piece of board under the gunwale and tis is where to look for damp patches from window leaks etc, but damp may not show there but still get into the bilge.

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Mold and the damp that causes it is a real swine. As I'm sure you know poor ventilation means that the damp cannot dry out, poor insulation will make cold surfaces and poor heating finishes the job. The rear hatch is probably just a piece of 3/4" ply with no insulation so that is hard to solve.  If I was you I would swap the oil filled rads for fan heaters and move them around the boat whilst opening doors and windows all over the place and get the stove (is it solid fuel?) going. Hopefully this will drive warm, wet air out of the boat. You will be wasting a lot of heat but you really need to dry the thing out. Open all the mushroom vents wide and everything else permanently and leave as much open as you can.I would not leave fan heaters on whilst you are away from the boat but the oil filled rads will help if you you can place them under an open window or something so that convection draws the wet air out. This is a marathon and not a sprint. I guess the insulation is not great either so you might need to get to grips with that - I'd leave it to spring. Don't be tempted to put carpet on the walls in damp places - condensation will form on that too! Better cool and dry (ish) than warm and soggy. Good Luck

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On 19/01/2022 at 16:56, Bee said:

Mold and the damp that causes it is a real swine. As I'm sure you know poor ventilation means that the damp cannot dry out, poor insulation will make cold surfaces and poor heating finishes the job. The rear hatch is probably just a piece of 3/4" ply with no insulation so that is hard to solve.  If I was you I would swap the oil filled rads for fan heaters and move them around the boat whilst opening doors and windows all over the place and get the stove (is it solid fuel?) going. Hopefully this will drive warm, wet air out of the boat. You will be wasting a lot of heat but you really need to dry the thing out. Open all the mushroom vents wide and everything else permanently and leave as much open as you can.I would not leave fan heaters on whilst you are away from the boat but the oil filled rads will help if you you can place them under an open window or something so that convection draws the wet air out. This is a marathon and not a sprint. I guess the insulation is not great either so you might need to get to grips with that - I'd leave it to spring. Don't be tempted to put carpet on the walls in damp places - condensation will form on that too! Better cool and dry (ish) than warm and soggy. Good Luck

It's a nightmare in all honesty and seems to be spreading all over the shop.  I'm paranoid It's in the stern gland and around engine which cannot be cleaned so easily. I have no idea of the best way to remove it from the roof as everything seems to take paint off and I need to be careful of what rinses off into the canal. I only use the radiators to keep the chill off when I'm out, I have a convector/radiator for the bedroom and have the stove on for the rest of the boat. I do have a fan heater for occasional use but it canes the electric so I try not to use it too much.  Thank you for your help, much appreciated 🙂

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1 hour ago, wibbly wobbler said:

I have bought a dehumidifier and a cheap air purifier (it catches mold spores) to put in there. Thank you

 

Sounds promising. Fingers crossed that it works OK for you.

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i've only briefly scanned the thread but no-one has asked if you have a solid fuel stove. If you have, LIGHT IT and keep it going 24/7 until the warm weather arrives.

 

This is probably all that is required. The flue will draw plenty of fresh air in to ventilate, and the heat will dry out the dampness. virtually all liveaboard boaters keep the stove alight all winter.If you don't, this could well be the cause of the problem for you.

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Id be a bit careful with bleach ,as its got a similar action to concentrated salt water......in other words,spilt bleach will rust the crap out of your steel hull......Vinegar may be just as bad.

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