Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Musty Clothes & Green Leather Shoes - Our Life in Costa Rica

Do you recall the lyrics in the song by Tony! Toni! Tone!..."It Never Rains (in Southern California)?"

Well, it's official - it definitely rains in most of Costa Rica!
and if you live here (even where we live), you'll probably have at least some humidity problems during the rainy season. The wettest time is Aug - Oct/Nov so problems are more likely to occur then.

What happens if your home gets too humid?

Well for one thing, your leather items (such as shoes and bags) will turn green!
Your clothes will smell musty and a residue can build up on them.
Antiques, papers, expensive artwork and pianos can be ruined. 
If you live at the beach, appliances can rust-out and have to be replaced sooner than usual.

What can you do?

Some people purchase heavy duty plastic zip lock bags to put all photo's and important documents.
Some people create a 'dry room' in their home.
You can keep a light bulb burning in a closet if it tends to get damp.
Many people use plastic storage containers which is also good for keeping insects out.
Some of those who have closets, leave off the doors to allow airflow.
You can also try small plastic containers with holes in the lid, and fill them with non-clumping cat litter and put them in closets, drawers etc.
We use Damp Rid  products which can be used to reduce humidity levels.

Downtown Grecia, Costa Rica
Some choose to run the A/C and others choose dehumidifiers (which are cheaper to run).

A dehumidifier is used to lower the relative humidity (RH) in your home. 

The ideal RH for a domestic house is around 40%-55%. Given that mold starts to grow at around 65% RH, it is a must that you maintain RH levels well below the mold producing level.

There is also no set limit for how long to run the dehumidifier. 
Once the RH is below 60% you can then experiment with using the dehumidifier during day light hours and leaving the dehumidifier off during the night.

Once it stops collecting water the set humidity level has been reached.

Typically dehumidifiers have different settings for different RH levels. So, it is a good practice to run the dehumidifier continuously until the RH falls below the 60% mark.

Since we had some issues with mold last year we chose to purchase a dehumidifier for this rainy season.  

We looked into getting one at PriceSmart, but a small one costs over $300. So we made our way to Ekono - a local dept store (and as close to a Target as we will get in downtown Grecia) where we bought a mini dehumidifier (no presets and no automation). 

The Best Automated Dehumidifiers

The best dehumidifiers can sense RH levels and have the ability to toggle between settings.
These types of dehumidifiers are called automated dehumidifiers. The other types are manual dehumidifiers, for these the operator has to change the operational settings.
The Meaco DD8L Desiccant Dehumidifier and the EcoAir DD122MK5 are both excellent automated dehumidifiers.

Here's a short video of me shopping for the dehumidifier @ Ekono
Shopping in Grecia, Costa Rica from Devon on Vimeo.

I will be sure to report back on our progress!
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