Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unwanted guests

Notice the white streaks of MOLD

Boats live in a hostile environment, their job on the most simplistic level is to keep water out.  Water is cunning though, it always manages to find its way in in spite of our best defenses.  Whether through drips and leaks, trickles and droplets, or as we recently discovered... the air, water always finds its way in. As the temperature outside starts to fall, air's ability to hold moisture falls along with it.  This is what people are talking when they're referring to the dew point.  When living aboard, this becomes complex as the air inside of a boat is kept artificially warm for your comfort.  When that warm moisture laden air reaches the cooler sides of the hull, its temperature is forced down and the moisture is forced out, thus causing condensation.  Add to that, a restricted air flow in areas such as lockers, cabinets, anywhere where there is poor ventilation and you then have the preferred berth  for our newest crew member-Mold.  We were recently introduced when we begain digging out our winter clothes from our locker and discovered Mold and his friend Mildew hanging out in the back.  Frank had long forewarned of their coming, but I refused to believe that anyone could crash our party. Upon further investigation, it turns out they had the nerve to invite their whole extended family to stay in other parts of our boat as well.  It was time for action, we needed these freeloaders out before they forced US out.  So, out comes the computer and research on how to evict these unwanted guests.  We found a very good article that we thought we should share with anyone who finds themselves in the company of these free loading vagabonds.

Turns out the things they like least are Lysol (our strongest ally), Bleach water, and just good ol' Ventilation and Sunshine.  I emptied out all of the contents of each cabinet, locker, and pantry, wiped it down with bleach water and then sprayed thoroughly with Lysol.  With the clothes, I put them out on deck and let the Sun do its job.  Afterwards, I let the empty lockers air out before putting everything back in.  So far, it's been about a week and it doesn't seem to be coming back.  I've also been more weary of keeping things ventilated and opening the lockers up whenever I think of it.  As well we've invested in a dehumidifier which, to my surprise, has pulled at least 30 pints of water a day from the air inside the boat!  The dehumidifier was designed for the basements of 1000 sq ft homes, so you can compare that with the inside of a boat, and that's a lot of moisture.  It makes sense since we are living pretty much underwater, something we don't always think about.  The only down side to the dehumidifier is that it requires shore power, but for now we feel that it's a pretty good investment.  

Die, Mold, Die!

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