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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....
 

Questions and Answers Moisture and Mold

November 1, 2019

I posted a question from "T" about mold. Here was her question,

This is from "T" that lives in a corner of Michigan that gets lots of lake effect rain.

Question; I was hoping you or your readers might have some tips on dealing with indoor humidity, without running an air conditioner or electric dehumidifier.

The dehumidifier is my biggest user of electricity and I would really like to
eliminate it, but don't want to risk the resulting mold problems.

Things like moisture absorption packets don't really seem like a
whole-house solution, considering the dehumidifier is removing about
six gallons of water a day.

Opening windows for ventilation is rarely helpful where I live because the air outside is generally very damp.

Sometimes in the summer it gets hot and humid, but more often our

weather is cold and damp. My house is also located in the middle of
20 acres of dense woods, and the shade makes it even harder for the
area around my house to ever dry out. The only time it is "dry" here
is in the winter, when the air is too cold to hold much moisture.

In the summer, the house cools off overnight, then in the daytime if
warm humid air gets in from outside, it condenses on all cold
surfaces, sometimes to the point of literally trickling down my walls. "T"

This is Grandma Donna, I received several reply's and some sent back messages that they re-read the question and realized that "T" was wanting to know other ways to stop the moisture besides using a dehumidifier or the moisture absorbing packets.  All the answers were good because after I posted the question many people wrote, I do not have an answer but am interested in all the answers because we have a moisture problem. Some people may have not realized how many people use a dehumidifier or the packets and have never tried them. This all depends on where one lives. 

This is Grandma Donna, this photo above is my window this morning as we went from 80 degrees yesterday to 34 degrees this morning here at our house. The sun is shining brightly but it is very cold for here at this time of year.


This is from June, she lives in Michigan

Dear Donna,

Here are my thoughts on eliminating the dehumidifier.
We have this problem as well in Michigan.
Cold and humid. 46 degrees in the morning and 86% humidity.
We have a very heavy dew that does not dry up until afternoon. In my opinion this is one of those areas where it is impossible to live like the past, because of the way our houses are built. In the past houses were not sealed up tight the way they are now. Now there is no airflow. 

Also in the past there were no basements or perhaps only like we have here in older houses called a Michigan basement. More like a cellar with a dirt floor. Some people kept coal in bins there or used it as a root cellar or a place to store homemade wine or beer. They were made of stone and stayed dry. If was a particularly wet year, and the Michigan basement did get water in it, it was no big deal because it just dried up and went back out the dirt floor. 

Nowadays, people have block basements and sump pumps and dehumidifiers trying to keep their basements dry so they can use it for storage or as extra living space and they have their hot water heaters, furnaces, and water softeners in them. Also, in the past people cooked with wood ranges even in the summer. 

Wood heat is a very dry heat, and it does help eliminate excessive moisture in the house. I too have this big problem, and I don't have a great solution. Unfortunately, I have not been able to eliminate my dehumidifier, but I did purchase an energy efficient one, and this saves me a lot on my electric bill. I used an old one for a long time, and the new one paid for itself in two months of savings. I was told to cover all my pipes with foam tubing to eliminate condensation. This works great. 

The toilet tank can also be covered with a custom made (by you)foam box which helps. Bathroom ceiling fans help take the moisture up and out of the house. For food storage, I buy in bulk and store dry goods in plastic food grade buckets with sealing lids.

I use pickle buckets that I buy at the Mennonite store for two dollars. This has always been enough to keep my food dry, but you can buy mylar bags and oxygen absorbers in addition to the buckets if you need to.
I hope this helps a little. June

Alice, also from Michigan

I could have written the post myself regarding the lady from Michigan with all the condensation problems. We moved from a big house to a little house 6 years ago and this is the exact same problem we have/had. 

It is mostly air flow problems within the house. One day in early spring we had the furnace turned off, it was cool outside, and cool inside. The ceiling and walls started to have condensation. The windows also had condensation on the inside and the first winter that moisture froze.I just about had a panic attack. 

We called someone but they couldn't come for weeks. When they finally did, he said the eavestrough and soffit were blocked in the inside of the house so he cleared those out from the attic inside, he added a vent to the roof (we thought we had a leak because the corner in the bedroom was dripping condensation) and then we replaced the windows. Needless to say, the problems were still there and I started to do a lot of internet searching. 

Mostly we found out that it is air flow inside the house that wasn't happening as it should especially during the fall, winter, and spring. We use a dehumidifier in the basement all summer to keep it from smelling moldy and turn it off during the cool months. We have a function on our furnace/AC dial that is called "fan". When we see moisture inside the house we turn that function on and the fan will be on all the time. THAT ALONE has kept the moisture down to almost zero. I have a lot of moisture on the windows when I cook so just flipping the function to "fan" clears it right up. 

We have "fixed" the problem about 98% all due to a function called "fan"! Air flow is the key it seems especially during fall, winter and spring. In the summer I like my windows open but the humidity makes things "sticky" with moisture. I don't like paying the expense of running an AC all summer so we use our attic fan and ceiling fans. I'm not as concerned about cost because I don't really see a spike in winter but I do see a spike in summer. But for a moisture free home, I'll take the spike.  Alice

From Vivian,

A possible answer for "T" maybe to read about Himalayan salt lamps. We have several in our home for the benefits of health we read about but they also do help with humidity. They may seem expensive to some, about $17. but you never have to replace them and they use a 7 watt bulb. low electric. We have had ours only a week, but the articles we read, we believe they will be very beneficial. Vivian

Kelley writes,

Grandma Donna,

I live on Guam where we have two seasons: hot and hotter. While we get the ocean breezes, our humidity stays around 80-90% all year-round unless we're in drought, which is usually during the U.S. mainland's fall and winter months.

We have split air conditioners versus central air or window units. We only cool the room(s) we are in and always at a comfortable cool-warm setting, typically 24C degrees (75F degrees).

Our ceiling fans are on LOW 24/7. When we leave the island for long periods of time, we turn them to medium. Ceiling fans keep the air moving in the rooms of our home.

We also have one dehumidifier that we keep in the hall in the center of our 1500 sq ft home. We typically keep the humidity setting at 70%. Again, when we leave the island, we turn on a second dehumidifier. Each unit is then hooked up to a drain hose that drips the water into sinks so no one has to come empty the reservoir while we're away.

Hope this helps “T.”, Kelley

Darlene wrote ideas and sent links....

Donna,

I went ahead and did some more thinking and research so you could have it for this week ahead of time.

The largest size model electric air dryer only covers 1,000 cu.ft. area which would be good for a 10x10x10 room---very small area. Perhaps for a bedroom, etc. But she would need at least one for each room in the house. If a person has a big house they would have to have a lot to cover it all.

Or use the calcium crystals but they need to be replaced and can be messy. The largest size bucket lasts longer (6 months) and the smaller containers won't last as long, maybe a month or less (depends on the humidity). After the smaller Damprid containers are bought you can empty them and keep them and refill them when they are used up. I imagine she would need at least one container per room and a large size for the basement. Damprid sells the calcium chloride in small refill bags but still can get expensive. Or else buy the 50 lb. bag from a hardware store for under $20, like the man did in the trailer video, and it would be cheaper and last longer.

A large size bucket lasts 6 months and no electricity. But the electric one isn't supposed to use a lot of electricity and isn't messy and she wouldn't have to do anything but plug it in and keep it from anything falling on top of it and smothering it (if you know what I mean).

When it comes down to it, I think it would be good to use a combination of both. Use a large container for the basement, which she probably has a basement. Then use an electric one for wherever she doesn't want a container sitting around that could get knocked over and spill. Or only use one or the other.

So there you are. Hope these ideas help you and T. Hope someone else has something good to offer to add to these ideas.

Thanks for all of your entertaining and helpful blogs. They are a breath of fresh air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz14chHw7NU

and

https://www.vermontcountrystore.com/electric-air-dryer/product/33673

and

Darlene

Lana wrote,

We also live in heavy shade and in the humid southeast. We always use exhaust fans when showering and we use the exhaust fan for any steam producing pots on the stove. 

We do not have humility problems to the extent that you do even though we rarely run the dehumidifier. Do you have outside air coming in around windows and doors or leaky duct work that is pulling in humid air? 

Also if your A/C does not run long enough then it does not have a chance to pull out the humidity. I am thinking you may want to start with a service call with an HVAC company. It will cost you but they are likely the ones who could sort this out. 

The humidity here was very high all summer and we did not have a big problem with it and did not run the dehumidifier at all. 

That said, mold remediation is very expensive so running the dehumidifier would be best. If you have an old unit you may want to upgrade because they are much more energy efficient than they used to be. I hope this helps!

This is Grandma Donna, after reading the suggestions I am leaning toward the fans and exhaust fans etc. being quite helpful.

In the past I remember how houses had much better air flow and today houses are much tighter. Our older home was built with better ways for hot air to travel out of the house, air to flow through the house. Possibly it is the way homes are built today and what type of wood and sheet rock and carpet and type of fabrics and such as that hold on to moisture.

If you sent an answer that I did not post please let me know so I can add it to this post. My website server went down and I lost part of my post and I have tried to put it back but I could have missed some posts. 

All my email comes to one email so it gets embedded with all kinds of emails. My brain is slower now so I am slower to sort these things out. 

This photo above is an old farmstead home that is in one of our local parks. It is called Landmark Park, I did a blog post on this park a while ago.

I am going to share a link with you below.  This is a link to Art and Bri youtube channel. This is a couple that lives in North Carolina. They are experiencing a severe mold/moisture problem in their house and they live in an old farmhouse on a homestead. Art is a Husband, Father and Nurse and works outside the home as a nurse and all the things that go on living on a homestead. Bri is a Wife, Mother, Teacher (She homeschools their 5 children). She gardens and does a lot of work on the homestead as well. It is truly a team effort they have. They have recently had to move out of their farmhouse because the children were getting sick and the mold is a serious problem. 

They have just recently moved into a travel trailer that they purchased to live in while the farmhouse is being redone or torn down. I am following closely to see what they do to get rid of their mold issue. They have not said at this time if they are going to have to tear down the house or to repair the house. They are going through quite an adjustment to moving from a farmhouse to a travel trailer with children and one a baby.  The picture above is not their farmhouse. 

I have followed Art and Bri for quite awhile now and have been enjoying watching them garden and their children growing up and all the things that go on at their farm. It reminds me of long ago in the old homestead that I once lived. We had chickens and pigs and two horses and at one time a cow named Charlie Brown. 

Here is a fairly current link to their videos the first whole day in the travel trailer. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybRhohtnn8g

I hope you can take something helpful from this post. Grandma Donna

 
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