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The Boston Globe

Lifestyle

Handyman on Call

Are mold and mildew the same thing?

Q. I spoke with you recently about mold in my basement. We have not yet bleached the walls, but did ventilate per your suggestion by opening one of three screened windows (about to pick up new screens for the other two). All went well until we put on the AC the other day in the humid weather. Ducts in the basement condensed so we closed the window. (I forgot to tell you that we have central air.) I had hoped to keep windows open from April to October, but I guess that won’t work. Also, is presence of mildew the same as mold? HELEN, from Westwood

A. Not to worry. Moisture in the basement will always condense on cool metal or cool plastic ductwork. The simple solution is to insulate all ducts in the basement with 1-inch duct insulation (fiberglass covered by a vinyl cover). It is easily done by wrapping the insulation on the duct until the ends meet, and stapling the ends.

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