The Ghost in the Room

The Ghost in the Room

“Ghosting,” refers to unexplainable dark streaks or patches on walls, ceilings, and carpets. Ghosting is caused by the slow buildup of dust, soot, and sometimes mold, and there are several root causes behind the buildup. The buildup of ghost marks can be caused by a combination of moisture, cold spots, air currents, a supply of dust, soot and other particulates in the air and air ducts.

Why does Ghosting occur? A basic principle of science is the reason behind the ghost marks on your walls, heat is drawn to cold. Soot will be drawn to cold spots on your walls creating “ghost” marks. Cold spots are areas such as beams where insultation is missing, nail heads, and areas of no insultation. These areas are the main spots on your walls where ghosts will appear.

Where does all of the dust and soot come from? Soot and ash often are caused by smoking, woodstoves, fireplaces, candles, propane/gas logs, cooking on an unvented stove and may even be the result of a cracked heat exchanger. With the exception of a cracked heat exchanger which requires evaluation by a HVAC company, cutting back on the use of the other items will help reduce the soot in your home.

Additional ways to reduce dust and soot in the air includes; changing your air filter frequently on your furnace (many filters recommend every 30 days), increase frequency of vacuuming, wipe your feat upon entering your home, and keeping up on regular household chores. Additionally, cutting candle wicks shorter as well as keep the burning of candles, woodstoves, etc away from return vents. Burning near return vents will cause the soot to be distributed throughout the home. The use of free-standing air filters, air purifiers, and air duct cleaning can also help to remove particulates in the air that causes ghosting.

How to get rid of ghost marks? Do not paint over the ghost marks as this won’t work. First you need to clean the walls and ceiling to get rid of the soot. Using a heavy duty primer will seal the soot and prevent it from bleeding through the newly painted color. However, even using the proper primer will only be a band-aid, if the root cause of the problem is not addressed. You will still be living with those cold and damp spots, sooty drafts and dirty air ducts until you rectify the problem. Call Advanced Furnace today for your duct cleaning and mold removals 1-877-4-FRESHAIR.

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