Yes, it’s that magical time of year, winter. Which means heat is on and the windows are closed. In a micro-home this means one thing: excessive moisture. On Saturday, we got invited to our friends’ micro-home. They aren’t quite moved in, but their place is adorable (sourced on their land Xmas tree included!). However, they revealed they dealt with the same issue. Water, water everywhere! So in that spirit, I decided to do a very exciting, seasonal post. Here’s some advice on how to deal with moisture in a micro-home.
First of all, it really is a problem. In the summer, with windows and vents open, things have a chance to dry out. In the winter, without intervention, everything will stay wet. Water will collect on the walls, ceiling, windows and all clothes and shoes. It’s equal parts uncomfortable and gross! But when you think about it, two adult humans breathing, bathing and cooking over propane in 200 sq feet is bound to cause some humidity. The assorted pets don’t help either. We knew we had to do something, so we researched the issue and here are the things we tried, along with what worked.
Damp rid- boat dehumidifier
Everybody swears by this stuff, but my reaction is a bit ho-hum. The beads change colors and lift in the container as they gather water from the air, and that did happen. Clearly this product was working, but it wasn’t making a difference. We had one in the bedroom, one in the living room and eventually we put them in the closets. They appeared to work, but did not make a perceivable difference. We’ve also tried the off-brand and the DIY rice in a box. Again, I could see the product working, but I think we’d need 20 of them to actually notice anything, and at $8-10 a piece, they are not really frugal. They’re also single use, so throwing a big hunk of plastic (and who knows what else) in the garbage every two weeks isn’t so great.
This one was a no-brainer, but we had very specific requirements. We needed something that was low energy and had a very small footprint. We checked out our local Lowes and Walmart and there was nothing like it. So we went to Amazon, and bought the smallest one available. It made a dramatic difference. We have to empty the cup and a half container at least once a week- it really does its job. We decided to place it in the bathroom, since the steam from the shower is a big part of the problem. We tried taking showers with the vent open, but when it dips below 32 it’s just too hard. This little machine does the trick and it was a noticeable improvement.
If you’re frugal, you might be wondering, why on earth you’d spend money on a rag. After all, that’s what those old tshirts are for! Stay with me here- what do you do with your rag after you use it. If the answer is “hang it out to dry”… WRONG ANSWER. It will not dry. Remember, everything is wet always. This amazing product absorbs an insane amount of water for its weight and squeezes dry. It’s perfect for wiping condensation off of the windows or surfaces and is great for spills as well. We keep it on the windowsill and do a wipe down once every day or two. We don’t really use it for anything else, but I imagine you could.
Three other helpful tidbits. Things got better when we switched from heating with propane to electric heat. We currently have two small electric heaters and don’t use our central heat at all. It’s cheaper, easier and as an added bonus- drier. Wrapping clothes in plastic, or lining your closets in plastic is also really helpful Mr. SS keeps his underwear in gallon size Ziplock bags and I lined my closet with painters plastic after sealing all of the cracks with silicone. It’s not the most elegant of solutions, but it does work. Lastly, whenever you can, crack open a window. Even a few minutes of air flow can make a difference.
We currently feel like we have the situation mostly under control. We could stop showering in the house, or cooking less, but we don’t want to go to those extremes. With the right tools, humidity is certainly something one can manage. With that in mind- it might be time to wipe those windows again!
Do you have any other tips?
Wishing you all happy (and dry) holidays!