Something in my house is irritating me and others
Climate zone 7, Prairie
I’m concerned about the indoor air quality in my old house. My nasal passages etc are irritated every time I’m in the house. Some visitor’s noses start running within a few mins of entering the house. (One woman had a strong allergic reaction within 10 mins and had to leave the house and use her puffer! Very upsetting to see.)
Facts and Observations:
-The second story of the 1.5 story house was gutted and all old insulation (fibreglass and wood chips) removed. A lot of dust had accumulated on the insulation over the 60+years.
-The second story is currently being put back together: EPS foam on attic side of kneewall and roxul mineral wool. 45s of roof, and walls of shed dormer were sprayed with closed cell spray foam. (Sadly people seemed to be having allergic reactions prior to the demolition starting.)
-The house does not have insulation in the walls on the main floor – just heavy felt like paper with silver paper attached and thick plaster board.
-There is no musty smell in the house to speak of – with the exception of the basement in the high humidity summer months. I think the musty smell is from moisture wicking up through the concrete basement floor or from warm air hitting the basement walls. There is no visible signs of water entry. Floors are all concrete – no carpet, no cardboard boxes on floors. Basement spring humidity right how is approx. 20-30% depending on the day.
-Main floor humidity right now is approx. 20-38% depending on the day. It went to 38% one day when we had quite a bit of precipitation.
-The shingles were recently replaced and a synthetic runner was used as underlayment. There was previously no underlayment. The wood on the roof is original – long pieces with small gaps between each piece. There were some leaks on the shed dormer. I had all the old wood removed and replaced it with fir plywood. A few of the rafters were dark with mold – not the fuzzy kind of mold. They must have experienced the brunt of the leaks. They are not rotten. I’ve washed them with soap and water and sprayed them with concrobium. I’ve also rented a concrobium mister and misted the upstairs.
-And in general the house does not have a “fresh” feel about it like well constructed new assemblies do. I attribute that to the lack of insulation and age of the house.
I hope I’m not biasing the discussion by seeming to point to mold as the culprit.
Should I hire a professional mold remediation company to come in and spray the upstairs whatever they use on the off chance there are mold spores in the air?
Could it be something other than mold, mold spores? Obviously dust may be an issue.
Is there a way to purify the air? My old furnace is about to be replaced too. Should I be considering something special on the new furnace to better filter the air?
Any thoughts / suggestions?
It’s upsetting not to be able to diagnose the problem. It’s also upsetting that I’m remodelling a house that I may not be able to be comfortable in.