It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

After all the travel drama, I finally settled in at home to clean up and re-organize post-wedding. With lots of gifts from our gracious friends and family, boxes and packages strewn everywhere from pre-wedding planning and decorations, and the general accumulation of mail and whatnot after a couple of weeks away, our house was in need of some cleaning and organization.

This was perfect timing, as it would allow me to actually start to organize our basement. We moved in to our new house in November, and a lot of things went straight into the basement and have been there ever since, waiting to be unpacked, recycles, or tossed.

As I walked into the basement, I was hit with a horrible smell and felt like I’d walked into a sauna.

Shit.

Our basement was more humid than you could possibly believe. As I walked around to find the worst of it, I started seeing some of our cardboard moving boxes had mold on the outside. Then I found an old bookcase that looked more like a mold colony than a bookcase at this point.

Action was necessary.

In the short-term, I trashed the moldy bookcase and anything else I could find that was compromised. I bleached and Lysol’d any surface that looked suspect. I ripped open boxes and started transferring everything we were going to keep (and no, I’m not getting rid of my cassettes or VHS tapes … not yet, at least) to plastic bins for better storage.

And I ordered a dehumidifier.

Two days later, the dehumidifier arrived.

It was 75% humidity in my basement. It took about 24 hours to get it down under 60%, and another day to get it down into the 40s.

Meanwhile, I was emptying the dehumidifier’s tank every 6–8 hours, which wasn’t sustainable. With no sink or drain[1] in the basement, I resorted to running a hose into a large bucket, so at least I could let it run for 24 hours before I had to empty the bucket.

It took me a few days, but I finally found myself a manageable solution. I would run the dehumidifier into a bucket that has a spigot (sorry beer bucket). Every day or so, I’d empty the spigot into a watering can. Our plants get some water, and the bucket gets emptied. And, the basement stays dry with no mold.[2]

With the humidity under control, I’ve gone full steam into putting everything into sustainable bins, so they’ll survive the heat and humidity of a Boston summer, and then the cold, wet winter. And accelerating my plan to empty my basement of stuff we probably (definitely) don’t need anymore.

Anybody want a 46" rear projection HDTV?


  1. I think I could probably find a way to run the dehumidifier into the washing machine drain, but I’m not a plumber and haven’t figured out exactly how to do that. In the meantime, my plants are looking mighty healthy.  ↩
  2. There’s a $40 pump on Amazon that I can use to pump the water out into the yard. I may look into that, though it’d require me drilling a hole in my window (or leaving a window open) to fit the hose out. Or, it’ll require me finding where to drain that water in my basement.  ↩

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