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Old 11-20-2008, 11:56 PM   #1
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Default Black Mold vs Starsan?

I noticed I had some black mold spots on the underside of my carboy. I guess it was left wet and moisture got trapped inside the bubble. Since I freaked actually seeing the spots, I went and checked my other empty vessels. I then noticed my 1 gallon jugs that got left in the basement had a few black spots inside them! If I scrub them down with hot water then scrub with starsan will it kill the black mold? I wasn't sure what things starsan kills, and this is the typical mold you get in dark wet areas.

Thanks, now I gotta wonder WHY mold is popping up so damn fast down there... My basement is dry. Do you guys ever have this kind of problem?

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Old 11-21-2008, 08:52 AM   #2
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Can't chime in about having the same issue- I would suggest milk crates though. If carboys are empty, turn the crate upside down and set it on top so it is elevated, has air underneath it and won't build up moisture. If they're full, they make great carriers for carboys and still offer a little space underneath with vents.

Give them a good scrubbing/rinse with hot water and toss some starsan mix in them for awhile, should be good. I would sanitize right before use to be safe, to cut back on contamination.

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Old 11-21-2008, 01:36 PM   #3
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I would suggest milk crates though. If carboys are empty, turn the crate upside down and set it on top so it is elevated, has air underneath it and won't build up moisture. If they're full, they make great carriers for carboys and still offer a little space underneath with vents.
+1 to milk crates, I use them incessantly. They're such nice things to have around the brewery for carboys, bottles, equipment, etc.I never turn mine upside down in a milk crate though, I was always afraid they would get jostled and break.

Here's an idea though. Seeing as how you live in a similar climate as mine, let me ask you a few questions. Now that it's cold outside, do you notice your windows fogging up a lot? Not just in the kitchen when you're cooking pasta or something, but in other rooms of your house? Nighttime is most common, but it could happen during the day as well. I just recently had a problem where the humidistat on my furnace was not working, so my humidifier was just running wide open all the time. I had something like 60% humidity going in the house. While this is nice for the sinuses in the winter time, it's bad for everything else. I would go buy a little humidistat at Big Lots or something, and set it in different rooms of the house and see what you're humidity levels are running.
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Old 11-21-2008, 01:54 PM   #4
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I do have milk crates, however I didn't use them past helping take them downstairs. Thats a good idea though to help with air flow.

I always use starsan before filling anything, I am pretty anal about it. I just wasn't sure if it kills mold on contact as its always tough to get rid of.

Terapin: I don't have a humidifier built into my furnace system. I should check the levels, although my house seems fairly dry. The basement is a typical basement though and I only have the framing up to finish it. But it does stay dry, it just seems whenever water is left about mold shows up pretty fast?

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Old 11-21-2008, 02:52 PM   #5
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I'm interested: Will StarSan kill black mold on other materials? Like, perhaps, the little spot of wall beneath my shower head? Or is that where a 10% bleach mixture comes in?

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Old 11-21-2008, 02:53 PM   #6
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The basement is a typical basement though and I only have the framing up to finish it. But it does stay dry, it just seems whenever water is left about mold shows up pretty fast?
This tells me you have a significant amount of mold spores in the air and on surfaces in your basement. It's not unlikely that there is an actual mold source somewhere providing these spores. Is there a mold-like odor in your basement? There are a couple things I would consider doing... if there's a lot of mold spores in your basement, there's got to be a mold source and, therefore, a water/moisture source. You'll need to find this source and repair it so that water/moisture intrusion is reduced. You should also get a dehumidifier in the basement. I know you say your basement is dry, but if you have a problem with mold growth like that, there has to be a source. Do you know what the relative humidity is in your basement? You could also consider getting a HEPA air scrubber to "clean" the air. It will help to finish finishing your basement, but I would make sure to find and repair any potential water/moisture intrusion areas before putting up drywall, etc.
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Old 11-21-2008, 03:23 PM   #7
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You'll need to find this source and repair it so that water/moisture intrusion is reduced.

You should also get a dehumidifier in the basement.

Do you know what the relative humidity is in your basement?

I would make sure to find and repair any potential water/moisture intrusion areas before putting up drywall, etc.

Excellent ideas. I would find a cheap little humidistat first, see what the humidity actually is. It's much harder to notice when it's cold outside (if your basement is as cool as mine in the wintertime) This shouldn't run you more than $5 or so. A good search of the basement wouldn't hurt either. This could be in your floor drains, corners, where the wood meets the concrete, or anywhere really. Sounds like you should just spray down your whole basement with StarSan, kill all the baddies

...i'm picturing John Goodman in Arachnaphobia, in your basement with a corny keg full of starsan...
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Old 11-21-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
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I would find a cheap little humidistat first, see what the humidity actually is.
Also, remember to compare to the relative humidity outside... and even to the rest of the house. In the average house, air is exchanged at a rate of 3X per hour. This would probably be reduced a bit in a basement, but the point is, if it's raining or has recently rained outside, your basement is going to be more humid than normal. If your basement is significantly higher in relative humidity than the outside (with no recent weather changes) and the rest of your house, a moisture problem is likely.

However, in addition to relative humidity, the best thing to use is humidity ratio (calculated from temperature and relative humidity) and compare that to the outside and other areas in the house. Relative humidity is partially a function of temperature. Humidity ratio takes temperature out of the factor. I posted the calculation for this here.
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Old 11-21-2008, 04:23 PM   #9
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I have never seen any leaks, or mold on any surfaces. I also don't smell mold down there, but I know your right. Is there a way to have someone come out to "detect" mold with some kind of instrument to pin point where its coming from?

I don't want to finish it up without finding the source, and visually I can't.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 11-21-2008, 04:58 PM   #10
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I have never seen any leaks, or mold on any surfaces. I also don't smell mold down there, but I know your right. Is there a way to have someone come out to "detect" mold with some kind of instrument to pin point where its coming from?

I don't want to finish it up without finding the source, and visually I can't.

Thanks for the help!
Yeah, there are "mold" people out there, but be careful... there's a lot of voodoo in the residential mold business. This is one of the things I do at my consulting firm, but we're more building science-based than we are mold-based.

What you don't want (it seems) is for someone to come out and "test" for mold. And it's expensive to send samples to the lab. All that will do is tell you something you already know (you have mold in your basement). You want someone to come out with, primarily, a moisture meter, an infrared camera, and a hygrometer. We also use air particulate testing (measures quantities of particulates in the air in specific size ranges, and can show possible areas of biological contamination), but not many in the industry do because the instruments are expensive and most people in this field don't know how to interpret the data.

You also want a company that has the experience and knowledge-base to tell you how to fix it. And there is usually more than one option on how to fix it (cheap to expensive). Whatever the water source, remember this... caulk is, at best, a band-aid.
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