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View Full Version : Too much humidity is a bad thing?


Lionne
09-28-2007, 11:52 PM
I live in Florida. Moved here a couple of years ago and I love it. I love the heat and the humidity. Currently, my abode is a 710 square foot, second-floor apartment. The only time I turn my air conditioning on is when I have company, which is sporadic.
I keep my windows closed. I'd like to have them open, but only one of three has a screen because the management company is too cheap to replace the screens blown off by the 2004 hurricane season. Yeah.

A few weeks ago, I had a bout of allergies, I wasn't sleeping well. I figured it was poor air quality due to my dusty birds and purchased a small air purifier for my bedroom.
3 days ago, I grab a leather purse from the closet only to find it covered with mold. I blame the material and my not having used it in months and toss it (sadly..it was my favourite).
Tonight, I was cleaning up my desk and I spy my passport on the top shelf, looking suspiciously dusty. I pick it up and confirm that, yes, mold apparently wants to take a trip. I check out other items on the shelf...two photo albums and a cloth makeup bag are also spotted with mold.

I realize that musty smell that I've been noticing recently is not, in fact, due to my cat tossing around the dirt in my houseplants, but to mold taking over my apartment.

I call my uncle, who has lived in FL a long time. His advice is to start running the AC unit, leaving the thermostat at 80 if I prefer, surmising that the circulation will cut down the humidity. He also nixed my idea of getting a window fan to help circulation, saying it'd just draw outside humidity in.
I've pored over 4 pages of Dope search results on humidifiers, and I'm still unclear as to whether it would be better, financially as well as health-wise, for me to get one of those, or to just run the AC at 75-80 degrees. I'm poor! I like paying only $25 a month for electric!

If I put the AC on 'off' rather than cool or heat, and run the fan on constantly, will that accomplish the same thing?

Stupid mold. Just wait until tomorrow...I'm buying a giant bottle of vinegar and wiping you off the face of the earth.

RedRosesForMe
09-29-2007, 12:04 AM
AC units remove the humidity in addition to cooling the air- that's why ACs have a drain line to get rid of the excess moisture. If you're comfortable with no AC (seriously, where in FL do you live, it's hot and humid as hell here!) I'd suggest running it with the thermostat set to 78-80. It'll cool it a little, and remove some humidity. Running it on fan mode will do nothing for the excess moisture. I don't think it's air circulation that's the problem.

They also make a variety of anti-mold products. My parents have a mold problem in their bedroom, due to a flat roof combined with a large shady tree over it. They have these buckets of crystals that they keep in their closet, I guess that absorb moisture to prevent mold growth. You might want to look into those as well.

Running the AC at 80 will of course mean a higher energy bill, but not a hugely expensive one. You can also set the thermostat up to 82 or even 85 when you're not in the house, to keep it from getting too expensive but still removing some humidity.

Johnny L.A.
09-29-2007, 12:09 AM
They have these buckets of crystals that they keep in their closet, I guess that absorb moisture to prevent mold growth. You might want to look into those as well.
Are you talking about Dri-Z-Air (http://amazon.com/RP-2000-LLC-RAINER-PERCISION-Dri-Z/dp/B000ARPJN6/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/102-7942387-6584122?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1191038868&sr=8-2)? IIRC the crystals are calcium choride.

RedRosesForMe
09-29-2007, 12:12 AM
Are you talking about Dri-Z-Air (http://amazon.com/RP-2000-LLC-RAINER-PERCISION-Dri-Z/dp/B000ARPJN6/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2/102-7942387-6584122?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1191038868&sr=8-2)? IIRC the crystals are calcium choride.

It's not that exactly- it's pretty much just a bucket with crystals in it. Could be calcium chloride. Same premise, anyway.

Miss Purl McKnittington
09-29-2007, 12:54 AM
I've pored over 4 pages of Dope search results on humidifiers, and I'm still unclear as to whether it would be better, financially as well as health-wise, for me to get one of those, or to just run the AC at 75-80 degrees.

Just an FYI, if you end up buying something in addition to the AC: You want a de-humidifier. If you buy something that's solely a humidifier (for putting moisture into the air), it's only going to make the problem worse.

Gary T
09-29-2007, 12:56 AM
I've pored over 4 pages of Dope search results on humidifiers...
I hope this is a typo, as what you need is a dehumidifier.

A dehumidifier can be very effective in removing moisture from the air in a room, but you must either run a hose to a drain (quite difficult in most rooms) or empty the water collector periodically. A/C units or systems are positioned so that they drain (or drip) outside. The point is you want to get the water out of the air and then out of the building.

You need to check the specs on dehumidifiers to see how many you'd need to cover the whole apartment. Running one would be cheaper than running the A/C, but buying and running 2 or 3 might not be.

A/C off will not dehumidify. "Air conditioning" = "cooling plus dehumidifying." Running just the fan will not help.

For surfaces that can take it, bleach is probably the most effective mold-killer. Denatured alcohol also seems to help.

Lionne
09-29-2007, 01:28 AM
Yes, that was a typo. I meant a dehumidifier. (The mold! I blame the mold!)

Gary, I've been looking online. A 40- or 50-pint would do perfectly for my small apartment.
As for mold-killing...I swabbed my passport and one album with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Let's see if they sprout again.

back before irony
09-29-2007, 12:57 PM
I love the dry climate just because there's no screens on the windows and I don't have to close the doors to keep bugs out. I do get the occasional geckos that wander in, but they soon meet the cat.

ZipperJJ
09-29-2007, 01:01 PM
It's not that exactly- it's pretty much just a bucket with crystals in it. Could be calcium chloride. Same premise, anyway.

Probably DampRid (http://damprid.dsiwebbuilder.com/index.asp?cat=40019) - which is very useful in damp closets, I've found.

Harmonious Discord
09-29-2007, 01:32 PM
Your apartment will be hotter when you use a dehumidifier. The air conditioner dumps the heat outside, while the excess heat from a dehumidifier goes back into the room. Your using power, so the cooling will never equal the heating occurring from a dehumidifier. You will have to empty the dehumidifier frequently.

Johnny L.A.
09-29-2007, 01:39 PM
I've been thinking about getting a dehumidifyer. My house was built in 1934, and it's in the damp Pacific Northwest. I haven't seen any mildew, but the Dri-Z-Airs do remove a remarkable amount of water. And if it adds heat, then so much the better.

Harmonious Discord
09-29-2007, 02:22 PM
I've been thinking about getting a dehumidifyer. My house was built in 1934, and it's in the damp Pacific Northwest. I haven't seen any mildew, but the Dri-Z-Airs do remove a remarkable amount of water. And if it adds heat, then so much the better.

A dehumidifier is what to use when you need additional heat. It's not the thing to use when you're already too hot. Remember that hotter air can hold more moisture too.

Johnny L.A.
09-29-2007, 02:29 PM
A dehumidifier is what to use when you need additional heat. It's not the thing to use when you're already too hot.
No worries about being too hot up here! According to one website, the 'record temperature' was 89 in July. (I'm sure it's been hotter, so I don't know what they mean. Although the record wind -- 82mph last November -- is accurate.) More heat here in the winter is definitely a good thing. So if I can reduce the humidity a little and use the waste heat at the same time, then so much the better.

The situation might be different in Floridarrrrrrr.

Lionne
09-30-2007, 01:07 AM
I bought a 50 pint dehumidifier (http://lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=5386-46-AD50USS&lpage=none) today and I was amazed at the amount of water it pulled in just 2 hours - something like 4 cups. It has an automatic shutoff when the desired level (I chose normal) was reached, and that was all it took. I can definitely feel the difference in the air, too.

I also did lots of cleaning today. Laundered my winter blankets, rearranged my closet to get stuff off the floor, double-checked the walls and corners for mold...all is good. I discovered that my desk, a particleboard beauty from Staples, has mold growing on the underside, where the wood is untreated. So I'll be buying a new desk....a nice glass one.

I went out for about 5 hours, and when i came home, there was a definite improvement in the qulity of the air - no more musty smell. After my new desk arrives, I should be in the clear.
I plan to alternate moving my dehumidifier from the living room to the bedroom every few days or so. I hope that my electric bill doesn't skyrocket.

ZipperJJ
09-30-2007, 01:20 PM
Another tip about closets - if you have stuff on shelves, like cardboard boxes, that are shoved up against an outside wall...consider putting that stuff in plastic boxes and/or moving it away from the walls.

My closet in my midwestern home (not Florida hot and humid, but hot and humid enough) was stuffed to the gills with cardboard boxes up on shelves. The boxes would be warm from the inside and cool from the outside wall. Condensation would form and then mold. When I pulled the boxes off the shelves, the parts that touched the walls were nothing but mold.

So, give yourself some room for air circulation in the closets. Moisture + paper = mold.

FWIW I was able to clear up the problem by switching to plastic containers for my junk, leaving some space around the containers, putting up a hanging bag of DampRid, and adding a simple vent to the closet door.

Johnny L.A.
09-30-2007, 04:12 PM
I bought a 50 pint dehumidifier (http://lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=5386-46-AD50USS&lpage=none) today and I was amazed at the amount of water it pulled in just 2 hours - something like 4 cups.
I went down and bought one of those today. Your link has a local price of $189. Unfortunately they were out of stock -- except for the display. I got the one on display for $20 off. It's been running less than an hour, and already there's water in the bucket.

I also picked up another DeLonghi (http://andersonappliance.com/_CGI/MODEL?KEY=DLG:EW6507L) oil-filled radiator heater to supplement the propane heater. I've found it's cheaper to use the combination of propane and electricity to keep the house comfortable than it is to use propane alone. (I have two others: One in the little bedroom, which I don't use but keep in case I have a guest; and one in my bedroom, which I don't use because I have an electric blanket. But you never know.)

Lionne
09-30-2007, 05:41 PM
I went down and bought one of those today. Your link has a local price of $189. Unfortunately they were out of stock -- except for the display. I got the one on display for $20 off. It's been running less than an hour, and already there's water in the bucket.Good deal! Can you feel the difference in the air yet? You will soon.
I never realized how humid it really was in here. My (wooden) bedroom door was always a little hard to close. It always took an extra nudge.
Now, if I so much as breathe on it hard, it closes instantly. :D

Johnny L.A.
09-30-2007, 05:48 PM
Good deal! Can you feel the difference in the air yet?
I was in the kitchen an hour ago, and the air 'smelled' drier. It was most noticable there, rather than near the dehumidifier. The heater is on too (the lower-power switch). The wall heater is turned off. It's quite comfortable in here. One thing I'm noticing is that my nose feels 'dry'.

The dehumidifier is set to Normal/Auto. It shut itself off for a while, and then turned on for about five minutes. It's sleeping now.

chrisk
09-30-2007, 05:56 PM
A dehumidifier can be very effective in removing moisture from the air in a room, but you must either run a hose to a drain (quite difficult in most rooms) or empty the water collector periodically. A/C units or systems are positioned so that they drain (or drip) outside. The point is you want to get the water out of the air and then out of the building.


You might want to qualify that as 'most AC units or systems are positioned so that they...'

I have an apartment with windows that are pretty hard to fit regular model AC units into, so I have a model that is rather like a dehumidifier with the addition of a hose that runs out to the window to force heated air out. It's not really as effective as the other model, but it does qualifier as an AC unit I'm pretty sure. :)

Harmonious Discord
09-30-2007, 08:18 PM
I used to do a lot of camping for years and I have a number of plastic coolers. The large rectangular ones. I haven't found a better storage unit than those for stuff that moisture ruins. They keep moisture out and you can stack them and they don't collapse.

Lionne
10-04-2007, 01:22 PM
I was in the kitchen an hour ago, and the air 'smelled' drier. It was most noticable there, rather than near the dehumidifier. The heater is on too (the lower-power switch). The wall heater is turned off. It's quite comfortable in here. One thing I'm noticing is that my nose feels 'dry'.

The dehumidifier is set to Normal/Auto. It shut itself off for a while, and then turned on for about five minutes. It's sleeping now.The drier air definitely reminds me of living in New England, where the heat is on 9 months out of the year.
I'm happy with how it's working, although I have yet to see my electric bill. I hope it's not too bad.

plnnr
10-04-2007, 01:29 PM
I
He also nixed my idea of getting a window fan to help circulation, saying it'd just draw outside humidity in.


You can turn the fan so it blows out and it will suck the air that's in the room to the outside (just make sure you don't have another window open somewhere elsle, or you will be pulling air in from outside through that window).

BTW, where in FL? My wife and I will be in Key West for Halloween and Miami for a few days afterwards. We've spent some time in Naples and Tampa and love, love, love the Gulf coast. My wife is already telling me, "No we cannot move to FL."

nashiitashii
10-04-2007, 02:00 PM
Probably DampRid (http://damprid.dsiwebbuilder.com/index.asp?cat=40019) - which is very useful in damp closets, I've found.

DampRid was my best friend when I was living in the dorms during college. Despite the fact that we had an air conditioning unit (window unit), we still had to keep the stuff around to keep the humidity levels reasonable. It was bad enough that there were weeks when the air wouldn't be on at all, especially during the summer when nobody lived in some of the rooms, so mold became a problem in a lot of the dorms. I remember a friend in sophomore year complained so much about the mold problem in her room that the university bought her a dehumidifier just to fix the problem temporarily; the next year, the dorm went into a remodeling overhaul and all the rooms were "upgraded." There were a lot of other problems with that dorm, including the ceiling caving in on some kids that lived on the top floor while they were asleep. That ended up being a huge issue, and resulted in 2-person rooms turning into 3-person rooms on that floor.

Florida is humid in most areas, especially during the summer. This means that there are a lot of hazards associated with moisture that you don't get in colder and drier areas. We keep the air conditioning on in our house at all times, so it reduces the issues that a lot of people may have with food spoiling and moisture issues. However, because of the rains and the way that the house we're living in is built, I get to scrub down the concrete driveway and front walkway with bleach water every few months to keep the mold/mildew stains at bay.

Lionne
10-04-2007, 02:22 PM
BTW, where in FL? My wife and I will be in Key West for Halloween and Miami for a few days afterwards. We've spent some time in Naples and Tampa and love, love, love the Gulf coast. My wife is already telling me, "No we cannot move to FL."Clearwater, right next to Tampa. 6 miles from the beach...
I love the Gulf side too. Ft. Myers is nice, if you haven't been there yet.

plnnr
10-04-2007, 02:27 PM
Clearwater, right next to Tampa. 6 miles from the beach...
I love the Gulf side too. Ft. Myers is nice, if you haven't been there yet.

Thanks.

I haven't, but my wife lived there for a while.

Zebra
10-04-2007, 02:40 PM
I have a dehumidifier and I love it.

When the towel I hang on the rack is still damp the next day, I know it's time to run it.

Euryphaessa
10-04-2007, 02:44 PM
Last winter I had a big problem with mold in my room. My bed was over the heat vent, so the heat couldn't circulate, and I had boxes of books piled in one corner. I did a Big Clean on my room and moved all this junk to find the baseboards black with mold. I moved my bed and used bleach on the walls, then bought two of those little closet dehumidifier buckets for the corners that were really bad. The problem has never returned, although we bought a dehumidifier in the summer that runs pretty much constantly and keeps the house nice and dry all over.

AskNott
10-04-2007, 05:37 PM
When I was nine, my folks had a new house custom-built, with a swimming pool in the lower level. Nobody around here had ever done that, and nearly all the builders declined to take on such an odd project. We didn't know what to expect. What we got was lots of humidity. In a few months, the humidity turned a piano and a television into junk. We got a dinky dehumidifier, and it filled up its bucket so quickly that we hooked on a hose instead. The hose ran back into the pool.

Mangetout
10-04-2007, 07:02 PM
Of course too much is a bad thing - that's precisely why they call it 'too much'.

Zebra
10-05-2007, 08:14 AM
I've got this one by Haier. (http://haieramerica.com/en/product/HDN655E?sessid=0f41184348140f6789bc5aa992109017)

I can move it from room to room and it does get the job done.

An Arky
10-05-2007, 09:24 AM
Hey, I know Florida is really humid, but that seems like a heck of a lot of moisture. You might want to make sure there's not another source of moisture, i.e. leaky pipes, leaky gutters/roof/window frames, etc. If your landlord won't replace screens, there's no telling what else he may be neglecting.

phall0106
10-05-2007, 09:26 AM
I went down and bought one of those today. Your link has a local price of $189. Unfortunately they were out of stock -- except for the display. I got the one on display for $20 off. It's been running less than an hour, and already there's water in the bucket.

I also picked up another DeLonghi (http://andersonappliance.com/_CGI/MODEL?KEY=DLG:EW6507L) oil-filled radiator heater to supplement the propane heater. I've found it's cheaper to use the combination of propane and electricity to keep the house comfortable than it is to use propane alone. (I have two others: One in the little bedroom, which I don't use but keep in case I have a guest; and one in my bedroom, which I don't use because I have an electric blanket. But you never know.)

Why use the electric radiator, as opposed to a portable electric heater that blows warm air? I have both, but never sure which is the "best" to use. (They're both used to suppliment the monstrosity of an oil burning steam radiator system I have.)

Johnny L.A.
10-05-2007, 10:50 AM
Why use the electric radiator, as opposed to a portable electric heater that blows warm air? I have both, but never sure which is the "best" to use. (They're both used to suppliment the monstrosity of an oil burning steam radiator system I have.)
The radiator is also portable, and I don't need a fan. The furnace has a blower on it so warm air is circulated. No fan is needed in the bedrooms, as the radiators heat them fairly quickly. It seems to me that if you're blowing air past a heating element then the element is on all the time. With the radiators the oil is heated and, sense it's dense, it stays warm a long time.

I started a thread on space heaters (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=435835) last month, specifically to ask about the efficiency of the ceramic heaters, but there were no replies.

The dehumidifier is working well. The bucket is 1/4 to 1/3 full when I empty it in the morning and when I get back from work. It's going to be difficult to gauge how much it costs to run though. I've been using the space heater, and I've been keeping the flood light on in the driveway (because of the thefts). Yesterday I left it on all day because I leave the house at literally oh-dark-thirty and get home after night has fallen.

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