Over the past week or so, I've been diligently reporting on the work I have been doing in my house. Others have also been diligently working on my house. The next few blog posts will chronicle our experiences following an unhappy discovery about our whole house humidifier.
As with most folks whose houses sit on crawl spaces (or slabs), we have our furnace in a closet (albeit a closet built just to house the furnace and water heater). The Real Estate People call such closets "Utility Closets". Our Utility Closet is in the laundry room.
Our Utility Closet is a lonely closet. We only open its doors to change the furnace filter. And we're frankly not as diligent about that as we should be. Thus, we didn't notice when something went awry sometime in December or so. (I'm guessing December, because I'm pretty sure I changed the furnace filter at the beginning of the month, and I'm positive I didn't change it at the beginning of January.)
We have this whole house humidifier you see. It sits, rather like a parasite, on the side of our furnace. When the furnace is on, the humidifier ensures that the hot air blowing into the vents blows over a certain small amount of water, so that the water evaporates into that air, and the house doesn't dry out to the point that touching anything creates static electricity. I find this to be a good plan, because my sinuses don't dry out, my plants don't dry out as fast, and the piano's environment doesn't change radically.
Alas, something in that little humidifier experienced technical difficulties. At some point (likely in December), it began dripping, thus redirecting at least some of the water that should have been pulled into our air onto the floor. It wasn't a massive leak. Maybe a couple of gallons of water a day.... But it went unchecked for a long time.
Eventually, the water seeped under the flooring and thence under the wall, and found its way into the TV room, where it got the carpet wet (and stained it).
Alas, it didn't soak the carpet, so the carpet would be dry sometimes and damp sometimes, and we spent a while thinking that someone had spilled something before we finally realized the truth. In the man time, bookcases sat against the wall, keeping that part of the carpet damp, so mold could start to grow there.
Eventually we discovered the problem, and cleaned up most of the water in the Utility Room (where we once stored some oak boards against the wall.
The walls there are toast on the bottom.
So, while I'm poring over carpet samples, the wonderful folks at our Remediation Company have been doing things like cutting out sections of the wall
Spraying the inside of that wall with some fun mold killing stuff, verifying that the other side of the wall is nice and dry and mold free, and then replacing the drywall with nice fresh clean DRY drywall.
By the time we see this wall again, it will look like new, all freshly painted and stuff.
All of this is lovely, of course. And we'll be replacing the carpet too. But the scary stuff happens UNDER that floor in the crawl space. We'll be going there next.
Lucky for me, my Remediation Company man took lots of pictures of the world under my house (a place I've never been). And luckier still, he is generous with them.