Me against the mold

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, December 14, 2021, 5:38 PM | comments: 0

I wish the title of this were a metaphor, like it was about me not conforming to an oppressive world, but I need to talk about actual mold. You know, the black stuff that grows in dark places that you shouldn't breathe in.

The weekend before last, Diana and I were battling some serious sinus pressure. I recall having this problem last winter, and by Monday, I was feeling pretty crappy. Also last year, I cleaned the coils in the HVAC blowers to make sure nothing was growing there. Figuring it has been almost a year, and it smelled funny as we oscillated between heat and cooling, I would do it again. So I bust the units open and find the coils don't have anything visible on them, but the filters are growing black mold in a most serious and health-averse way. Normally, I change these whenever the Nest app tells me to, since it appears to calculate the timing based on system run time. The upstairs unit runs more than the downstairs, so that makes sense. The problem is that, at some point, Nest updated the app, and it turned the notifications off without telling me. Those filters had been in there for almost a year. Yikes.

That night, the sinus pressure went away, though I've still been recovering with some sniffles and a nagging cough since then. I'm pissed at myself for neglecting the filters, as a homeowner of more than 20 years. I should know better.

The bigger problem is that mold is a far more serious problem here than it was living in the Midwest or Pacific Northwest. It's everywhere. In fact, I noticed in my first week here, in an extended-stay, that three days in my toilet started to develop a ring of pink slime. We've been able to mitigate that to an extent (in toilets and the shower) by having a whole-house water filter, but it will appear before you know it. Grout is even harder to keep clean. And the weirdest thing is the black mold growth on toilet seats. We have a bathroom that we don't typically use, unless we have a guest (which we haven't had in almost two years), and Diana discovered today that the top of the seat was covered in mold. It was pretty gross. We've actually replaced all of the standard wood seats with plastic because of this.

And don't forget the sidewalks. You have to pressure wash those at least once a year. Our HOA has a guy do the public areas even more often, and to an extent the curbs. The places in the shade basically turn black. And these fun pavers in the driveways get particularly discolored if you don't clean them periodically.

I guess the mold is #floridalife, so I'll roll with it. But it's funny how in Cleveland I pressure washed my driveway once in ten years, and now it's an annual affair.


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