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May 17, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Mould

Winter in Wellington: sounds like fun, right? Oh and how it is, the wind, the cold, the rain, the terrible greyness of everything. And right up there with the best of these features is mould. It’s wonderful. It creeps along the walls, hides behind your mirror, and can be hard to get rid of if you’re not on top of your game. This winter, learn your shit, and your lungs and heating bills will be stoked.

A damp flat isn’t just from too much water vapour. Insulation, heating and ventilation are factors too. So rather than treat the symptom, beat the source to the ground and kick it while it’s down. A dehumidifier is choice, but it costs money and energy to run, so follow some of these tips to keep your power bill down.

Ya know that noisy fan in your bathroom, and the one above your oven? Yeah, the ones that drive you insane. Use them. They take the moisture out of the house, and are one of the easiest ways to keep away mould.

Try your darndest not to dry clothes inside. They hold heaps of moisture (five litres per load) and as they dry, all that moisture has to go somewhere. Don’t let it feed the mould. Use the line outside as much as possible, put the wee clothes horse in the man shed (or in the bedroom of that annoying flatmate while she’s at uni), or go see mum.

Put lids on pots. Not only will you save heaps of that pesky water vapour escaping, you can turn the element down and save just a squidgim of energy. Every penny helps.

Choose when you do it, but leave the windows and doors open every now and again. It’s cold outside, but it’s an easy way to ventilate your place.

I know the lounge is already tiny, but move the furniture 10cm away from the wall. Putting big objects right next to a poorly insulated external wall is the perfect place for mould to attack, so move the furniture away from the wall and let that air circulate.

For the same reasons, keep your mattress off the freezing wooden floor, and get a bed base (non-squeaky for your neighbours perhaps).

Remove all mould you find, don’t give it time to grow and form its own vital organs.

If you have serious problems that my 400 word limit can’t fix, go visit energywise.govt.nz for surprisingly good advice. Your landlord should be providing a house in a reasonable state though, so call ‘em up and have a yarn if there’s more mould than house. Thanks to the Home Energy Advice Centre for helping with this article, good people they are.

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