Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Humidity in Hong Kong

This morning I woke up to fog settling over the harbour. The sun was trying to peak over the eastern edge of the island and I had hopes it would all burn off. But as I drank my coffee and waited for the morning paper to arrive I could see the sun diminishing and the fog growing more dense. Kowloon was gone and one by one the landmark buildings were disappearing before my very eyes. I poured my second cup of coffee, walked out of the kitchen and found myself in the clouds. It’s time I thought to myself. Time to break out those dehumidifiers and put them to work. 

Yesterday was sunny and warm, yet also humid. The temperature reached 26.5 C and the humidity peaked at 90%. Direct sunshine seems much more intense here because of the longitude. I was happy for the sunshine although I was perspiring and my clothes were sticking to me. When I entered a building the air conditioning made me feel cold with my wet clothes clinging to me. 

Since Hong Kong is a sub-tropical climate it’s always humid. The humidity varies from 50% to 95% and of course the temperature can make that humidity feel much worse. The high humidity also causes mold. Mold on walls, clothes, books, curtains, anything in your apartment. Mold removal is often a topic of conversation. Chemicals to use and how to use them are openly discussed while the benefits and effects are compared. Ex-pats are known to take expensive winter clothing items home during the summer so they are safe from mold. I’m actually considering during that myself.

How to prevent mold is another discussion entirely. Dehumidifiers are a must. How many you have in your flat is analyzed by friends and strangers alike. Brands of dehumidifiers are discussed with the same knowledge and passion most Americans possess for automobiles. The noise factor is also extremely important to some. On the advice of many we purchased one large unit for the living room/dining room, one medium sized unit for the master bedroom and another medium sized unit that we plan to rotate between the study and the guest room. We may move that unit into the kitchen periodically if needed or we may just have to buy another one. 

Another mold prevention is to purchase plastic boxes of dehumidifier crystals and place them in each closet. They come in different scents such as jasmine, lavender and lemon. When the crystals have absorbed the moisture they become gel like and then they’re thrown out. You know those little packets that are in boxes of just about everything you purchase? You probably toss them out and wonder what good they are. Well almost everything you buy is made in Asia and it’s very humid here so they actually are very important. Those packets really do help to keep new items fresh. We haven’t tried the boxes of crystals yet, but they are on my list of things for Rusty to help schlep home one Saturday.

So this morning I did it. I pried open the boxes and pulled out the dehumidifiers all the while hoping that “some assembly required” did not mean anything more than a hammer or scissors because that is the extent of my tool collection. The directions did say I might need a pliers, but thank goodness I was able to attach the wheels on my own. (There really was no assembly just a few minor pulls and shoves.) The set-up directions were simple and before I knew it all three were up and running. 

I set them on high as directed. It’s essential to get all of the humidity out of the air for the dehumidifiers to work steadily and properly. Then they can be turned to low and left on for the rest of the summer. Some people run them all year. Even on high I don’t think they’re too loud. It’s sort of like white noise. I am amazed how very quickly they are filling up. I didn’t realize how humid it was in our apartment. Although I must confess, I knew it was getting bad when my slippers were sticking to the marble and wood floors the other evening! Okay, maybe I really should have done this sooner.

1 comment:

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