Thursday, March 29, 2012

misty, moldy and mildewy

The past days of constant drizzle combined with the layers of enclosed scaffolding surrounding my building have yielded some scary results.  I have had to wipe down mold from the window sills and teak furniture in the house.  I would have thought that teak, being a tropical wood and used in boats, would be resistant to mold.  Even worse, mold is happily growing on the outer wall of my flat where I cannot reach it because the scaffolding doesn't allow me to open a single one of my windows more than a couple of inches.

I called SB and told him about the problems.  I told him about how I had been running the dehumidifier nonstop and how quickly it has been filling up, and how even more quickly the mildew has been trying to grow in our grout.  I am a single person bleach army right now.  He told me to also turn on the air conditioner.  Then finally the rain stopped.  I wondered if I could have a respite from the dehumidifier, which got me wondering about what is an acceptable level of indoor humidity.

I thought 65% wasn't too bad, especially considering that it has been in the 80's lately, but according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE)'s Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy, acceptable relative humidity levels should range from 20% to 60% throughout the year. Levels greater than 60 percent should be considered unacceptable because elevated relative humidity can promote the growth of mold, bacteria, and dust mites, which can aggravate allergies and asthma.  Hmmm, lately my face has felt itchy and irritated.  

Other sources in the UK and Australia state that it is advisable to keep humidity in the range 30% to 70%.  I think that I will aim for 60% humidity at home and see if things get easier.

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