Battling the elements


Every season brings its challenges, and the challenges will vary depending on where you live and what kind of climate you enjoy (or loathe!).

Common elements we battle through the seasons


Battle the Elements

My friend lives in a home that was built like a ship. It doesn’t look like a ship, but it’s as tight as a drum. Without proper ventilation, they battle black mold almost year round. Whoever built the house did not put in fans, or air circulation vents. They have tried to remedy this problem by cutting holes in each room and venting to the outside air. Even the heating system provides little circulation, as there are only small electric cadet heaters in each room.

Mold of all kinds can be annoying to deal with, but some types of mold can be very dangerous for your health. Check out the US governements files on mold prevention if this is a problem in your home.

Dry air
In areas like mine where we do not have a lot of humidity in the air year round, winters can be brutal. We turn on our gas heaters and build fires in the wood stove, and all of this heat serves to dry out the air even more. Our hair gets staticky, and our skin cracks and bleeds.

Running humidifiers in our bedrooms to circulate more moisture through the air helps, but we still utilize a lot of lotions, creams, and lip balms during our driest winter months.

Humidity & damp weather
This is one I haven’t dealt with much, though I lived back east for a few years and got to experience that special heavy wet feeling prevalent in the air all summer long. I loved what all that moist air did for my skin and hair!

Lots of humidity in the air can provide the perfect environment for mold to grow, be sure to check out the aforelinked mold site, especially this section on finding hidden mold. That photo of mold lurking behind wallpaper is enough to make my skin crawl!

We definitely deal with condensation here in Idaho. During the coldest winter months, the warm air inside reacts with the cold air against all our windows outside Moisture beads up on the window panes and then freezes, forming ice crystals and even snow-like formations on the inside of the window. These melt and can cause damage to our window workings, the window sill, and even the walls.

The handyman has some great tips for finding and preventing condensation in your home.

Salt and rock

In Utah where I grew up, winter meant salting the streets to melt the ice. Great big trucks drove together with plows, scattering salt, and keeping our roads clear. They did a great job, but all that salt can corrode your cars wheels, undercarriage, and exposed (non-painted) metal. When we moved to Idaho, we found instead of salt, they scattered crushed lava rock on slippery areas. Crushed rock is the road-helper of choice up here, as the excess salt would severely damage the soil in the many farms in this area. The world needs their potatoes!

The only way to combat the salt corrosion if you live in an area that salts the roads during the winter, is to regularly and thoroughly wash your car. This can be tricky to do in cold weather. Some places will spray some protectant on your car’s undercarriage as well to help prevent corrosion.

Here in Idaho, we just deal with the muddy cars until it’s warm enough to wash. While the crushed rock can beat up a nice paint job, it’s worth the exchange to not go sliding out into the intersection and crash.

Snow and ice

In areas where humidity is high, ice can be a big problem. Icy roads are a struggle here, as well, even though our air is dry. The biggest danger is what we call ‘black ice’ – ice that is very hard to see against the blacktop of the roads. Sometimes we see big SUVs or trucks who feel they are safe driving in winter conditions because they have four wheel drive and snow tires or chains. None of these will help you much if you are driving too fast and get out of control on an icy patch.

We find putting snow tires on our minivan helps us keep better control during the winter, but exercise must be cautioned if you suspect there is ice on the roads. Drive slowly, and break tentatively, checking to see if you skid or slide. If you do, proceed slowly, and let those reckless drivers pass you.

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