Posted by: scribe9 | May 23, 2010

The dank season

When we returned from two weeks away, one sign of the change of seasons was the lack of leaves on the sweet gum down the street. Another was the dankness of our uninsulated house.

I’ve lived without central heating before, but in a warmer, drier climate. Here I’m concerned not only with the cold, but with the damp. How will I fend off mildew? Our house has been retrofitted with a ventilation system to help get rid of moisture, but I’m concerned about the clothes closets in our bedroom, the coolest room in the house. And our towels and washcloths didn’t dry in the bathroom during the summer; it’s a sure bet they won’t outside during the winter.

While it’s tempting to take non-navy showers to warm up in the morning, that means that more moisture will come into the house, so that’s out. And although we have a small clothes dryer, I tend to use it only for emergencies and air-fluffing to remove wrinkles, because it vents inside–yet more water vapor. We’re seriously considering the purchase of a dehumidifier.

We have a large and a small space heater. The large one we keep in the living room. It’s on trial from the landlord, who suggested trying it instead of hooking up the original gas heater back to the meter. (Some earlier owner disconnected it, not wanting to pay the line charges during the summer when heat isn’t needed; there’s no other gas appliance here.) The smaller one I can use in my office on dark days, in the dining room to keep our guests from suffering chilblains, and in our bedroom to get it really dried out once in a while.

So we try to heat only the space we’re using, and we’re back to keeping the laundry rack in the living room.

It feels like camping out. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be a pioneer woman in a damp climate dealing with diapers. I still have it quite easy.



  1. We used a dehumidifer in our basement in LO. I never realized how much water you could suck out of a dank basement. An added bonus was much nicer smelling air. I highly recommend a dehumidifier.

    • We got one–and because we’re still on water-saving because of the ongoing effects of the drought (recent rainstorms have helped, but not enough), we use the water for our houseplants and plants on the deck.

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