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Old 04-13-2015, 04:04 PM   #1
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Mold in fridge vent

I removed the cap on the fridge vent with the intent of dropping a couple of wires down that space. I looked down the space and I have to say that I almost refused to accept what I was seeing. The whole baffle was covered in mold. I put my camera in the lower vent, pointed it upwards and took some shots which confirmed the whole baffle was contaminated.

We have often sat on the side of the trailer by the lower vent depending on sun/view etc. and the thought of sitting by a vent spewing mold spores by the thousands was not pleasant and there was no way that the trailer could be used without remediating the mold first.

Having had some training and experience with dealing with mold I dealt with the baffle mold and got it ready to remove it vertically. There is no way I would have removed it by the interior route as preventing any chance of spores reaching the interior was the number 1 priority. The last photo shows the baffle with the mold removed.

There was no mold on the two side pieces. It appears that the wood used for the baffle must have had something on it that acted as a growing medium for the mold. The trailer is just reaching 1 year old. My fear is that if the whole piece of plywood that my baffle was cut from was used for other baffles then some other trailers made last spring may also have the same problem and not know it.

This is Part 1, more to come.

Ron
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File Type: jpg 05-04-2015 2-41-02 PM3_resize.jpg (242.2 KB, 42 views)
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:16 PM   #2
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I began prying the "decontaminated" baffle loose and was surprised again. The whole other side was also covered in mold. This is the side facing the fiberglass shell. As well, the plywood partly delaminated from the force of prying it loose and you can see that even the mold penetrated to the interior.

It was removed, the area throughly cleaned, the back of the fridge was also cleaned as well as possible before removal. The interior of the trailer was tented off to prevent any contamination from errant spores.

I am insulating the cavity and replacing the wood baffle with a finned aluminum one that I'll post when completed.

Ron
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:34 PM   #3
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Yikes, not nice! Ron, given that your trailer is only one year old, was this baffle installed by the factory. If so, have you advised them of this, as I would guess that they are installing similar baffles as we speak.

Mark
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:00 PM   #4
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I too would make sure Escape was aware of this. It must have something to do with the material, as it seems strange that it is limited to just it.

I will have a look at mine when I get home.
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GerriJ View Post
Yikes, not nice! Ron, given that your trailer is only one year old, was this baffle installed by the factory. If so, have you advised them of this, as I would guess that they are installing similar baffles as we speak.

Mark
Yes, I sent photos and gave them a chance to reply before I did anything. I don't think the potential problem is the baffles they're installing today as the ones they installed, cut from the same plywood, in units produced last spring.

They said that they've not seen this before and asked if I could bring the trailer by in May or June so that they could see it.

Since I considered the trailer to be a rolling bio-hazard the way it was I elected to start remediating the situation sooner than later.

Yes, the trailer's not even quite a year old. The kicker is that a few weeks ago I convinced a friends offspring not to buy an old stickie because it's "probably full of mold that you can't see". Little did I realize...

Ron
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:20 PM   #6
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Yes let Reace know as there is obviously something feeding/promoting mold growth in the wood he used.

Doug
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:23 PM   #7
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Hi Ron,
I think yours and my trailer where shipped together on the same truck from ETI last year. I sure hope I don't have the same problem. I will be checking my trailer for mold the firsts thing tomorrow morning with a whole lot of other people I would imagine. Ron sorry to see you have this problem with mold. Life is busy enough without adding anything extra on your plate.
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:28 PM   #8
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Mark,

Ron is in North Vancouver, BC. so I don't think his was delivered
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:31 PM   #9
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We have an August 2014 19' and I saw no mold in that area. I was concerned the raw wood was exposed and clear coated it all prior to reinstalling our frig. I did find some mold spots below the rear window on the unfinished bed plywood. I coated any wood I could get to under the bed and dinette seats too. I think some moisture condensed on the window and dripped down.


Sorry to see how bad that is, to be on both sides it suggests it got wet before installation? It's so damp in the northwest the moisture level could be quite high and not noticed.


Fortunately you know what you are doing, thanks for your tips on doing it right.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:04 PM   #10
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Wow, I'm going to check mine, how hard is it to remove the refer vent cover?
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:05 PM   #11
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I just checked mine, and all is good.

Do you think it might have something to do with your location, Ron? Mold needs warmth and moisture to grow, both of which are lacking around here.

At least nobody can't say you lack culture, Ron.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:26 PM   #12
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It seems probable that the plywood was wet when the baffle was installed or water has infiltrated past the top vent and cap. Is this trailer stored outside ?


Jim does your trailer have the updated baffle installed ?
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:28 PM   #13
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It seems probable that the plywood was wet when the baffle was installed or water has infiltrated past the top vent and cap. Is this trailer stored outside ?
It can very damp where Ron lives, and I imagine that had something to do with it, though the material is obviously good food for the mold, and somehow the spores found the wood.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:45 PM   #14
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...
At least nobody can't say you lack culture, ...
Look out, Jim. They (whoever 'They' are) may require you to take cultural sensitivity training.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:11 PM   #15
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Look out, Jim. They (whoever 'They' are) may require you to take cultural sensitivity training.
Methinks it will be Ron that needs this training.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:17 PM   #16
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Mark,

Ron is in North Vancouver, BC. so I don't think his was delivered
Your are right the two other trailers that road on the same delivery truck went to Onario the last week in April of 2014.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:58 PM   #17
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Mold needs something to feed on. Just as Jim alludded too.. where is the trailer stored? Is there lots of pollen in the air? THAT may be enough to start mold. (Just ask folks that have it on the siding of their sticks 'n bricks homes.)
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:31 PM   #18
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Oh, man, Ron, sorry to hear this news. My 19 is a Sept '14. Rain/humidity down these parts is rare to absent but soon as I get off these crutches I'll be checking my vents. Best regards.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:45 PM   #19
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We're having ours worked on and will have them inspect it for mold as well (we picked ours up in March of last year). Since we're here in the CA desert, moisture certainly hasn't been a problem but that isn't to say something like this can't happen .... Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
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Old 04-13-2015, 10:03 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Wow, I'm going to check mine, how hard is it to remove the refer vent cover?
Donna, the trailer was stored with an Adco cover and heat all winter. The two sides of the vent at the same plywood as the moldy one and are free of mold. I think that it indicates the piece of wood used to make the baffle was contaminated before it went into the trailer. Also, there were many different types of molds of all colors. I've seen lots of mold in problem buildings and this was the worst I've ever seen.

So, my concern would be that several baffles were cut the same day from a sheet of problem plywood and several other trailers made the same week as mine might have the same problem and not know it. Or, my piece was contaminated after it was cut from the larger sheet, which I don't think is as likely.

Jim, you don't have to take the vent cap off to check the area. Either use a small mirror from the bottom vent or stick a camera in, point it up and take a photo. If there's a problem you'll see it.

Taking the vent cap off though is simple and you might want to do that because mine had the 4 screw recesses sealed with clear silicone. I was expecting to have to use a scriber and take the plugs out in pieces. However the silicone had shrunk, was loose in the hole, and lifted out easily as an intact plug. As you can see from the photo, the plugs weren't water tight and had leaked. I don't think that's related to my issue but I won't be using silicone to reseal them.

Ron
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