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Late night ordering - humidifier and mask

Ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking you've hit a solution, and that there's something you absolutely have to have to make it happen?

Well, I live in an old damp stone house. Old as in it predates the United States. Old as in Ming Dynasty. Possibly even old as in Battle of Agincourt.

There's a lot of evidence of building work from the 17xx and 18xx centuries, however the older part of the house dates to maybe 14xx and possibly back towards 12xx (the living room has weird angles as it was constructed prior to builders fully understanding right angles. It's also laid out in the typical style of a building that was inhabited by humans and livestock, being essentially a large room with a door at either side, and a fireplace to one end. The fireplace is brick, so it's clearly a later contruction. Given the pitch off the roof, and the angle change of the final metre, I would imagine it was likely thatched with a hearth in the middle of the room.
Unfortunately, pretty much the entire front wall is fake (modern brick and a massive concrete covered RSJ over top of the doors/windows, and if you look at the stonework, you'll not see any coursing rows.
My guess is that it suffered damage during the second world war. Off across the field there's a large water filled hole in a place that doesn't make a lot of sense. It's probably a bomb crater.

There used to be a fancy building (almost a mini-chateau) hidden in the forest to the north of town. Sadly, the Americans understood that it was being inhabited by the Germans so they bombed the hell out of it. Whether it was a Nazi secret lair or not seems rather clouded in mystery. Older people around here generally do not talk about the war. The only thing that a neighbour (the one mom used to refer to as "maman française" (because her own mother was...not very nice)) said regarding the subject was that she never understood why the Germans came and slaughtered all of the livestock, destroyed the crops, and stole the horses... but didn't kill the people.
In hindsigh, it is obvious, if rather cruel. They basically took away people's food. They would either die on their own of starvation (so the invading army could have a clean conscience as they didn't actually directly kill anybody) or the people would go to the Germans to beg for food, which would be offered in return for information. There's nothing like a little bit of desperation to get people to turn on each other. And there's probably no better way to find out who is a part of the Resistance than to wait for somebody to offer up a list of names in return for food. You don't need to put much effort into running intelligence operations if you can get the resident populace into a position where they'll dob each other in return for their own survival.
Of course, it isn't a perfect system. I'm sure more than a few people offered up disliked neighbours when they didn't have any actual information. Witness the sham that was the Witch Trials for plenty of examples of this.

Anyway, back on topic. The house is old. And damp. We have both toyed with dehumidifiers, but they are rather nasty things. A little plastic box with a bag that sits on top. The bag is full of some sort of chemical (usually calcium chloride) that attracts water. As it does so, and sort of melts, the resulting wet passes through the bag and into the box.
Cheap, simple, and effective. Except that what is inside the box is not water. It's a noxious chemical concoction that shouldn't be touched. And when it's done absorbing, you then have to figure out what to do with it. In my case, carry it out into the field, dig a hole, tip it in, cover it, throw the used bag and plastic box out. Unpleasant.

So, I wondered, is there such a thing as an electric dehumidifier. Or rather, is there such a thing as a domestic electric dehumidifier? With a price tag that won't make one gasp?

Turns out that there is. While it is possible to get big powerful dehumidifiers that can extract litres per day, I wanted to try something smaller and cheaper to see if it made a useful difference. So I got myself this:

Dehumidifier advert.
Dehumidifier - publicity image.

It is a small appliance that runs off a 9V (or was it 12V? I forget...) power brick, and claims to extract around 300ml per day from an area of up to 25m2. A collection reservoir of 600ml capacity means that, in theory, I only need to empty it every other day. Assuming it is capable of actually achieving these sorts of results.

The device works by using the Peltier effect. It's basically a solid state device that gets hot on one side and cold on the other. A fan draws air over the cold side which ought to be attached to some fins of a heatsink (to increase the surface area) which will cause the moisture to condense, and then fall down into the collection tank. It's not that different from how car battery powered mini cool boxes work, only this is intended to extract moisture, not keep cake cold.

Ordered from Amazon themselves, they say it'll be here on Tuesday, and if it should not work correctly or whatever, I can return it to them... which should be a lot simpler than dealing with a third party based in China.

It cost €30, apparently marked down from something like €80. I don't believe that for a moment, I think you're supposed to think "holy crap, fifty euros off!". I would imagine if I looked elsewhere (eBay?), the going price of these things is probably around €25-45. So it will suffice as an experiment, to see if it can make any difference.

I'll let you know how it behaves in the future.

 

While I was there, I got a washable fabric face mask. There were lots with pictures of different celestial things, but it was way too late to get my brain in gear to identify any specific nebula or constellation. So I went for a generic picture of the night sky. This wasn't supplied by Amazon, so it'll be here in n weeks. Probably some time in October.

Star mask.
Star mask.
Anyway, if I'm going to have to amble around wearing a mask, I might as well wear one that looks interesting. My current (supplied by the local mayor) is functional but boring white. To be honest, I'm surprised that I can't buy masks in various colours and patterns from the supermarket. It seems as if they're missing a trick here...

 

What I'm listening to

I have noticed that since last September, I don't listen to perky J-Pop any more. My tastes in music have shifted somewhat.

I trust that you're dressed in shades of black.

Here's a playlist. Enjoy!


Black make-up is optional.

 

Some photos of Anna

As you contemplate the above playlist, I shall provide you with some hard dissonance in the form of more kitten pictures.

Anna climbing a ladder.
"Where my human goes, I shall follow."

Anna looking down.
"Oo-eck, that's a long way down"

Anna playing with a stick.
"Marco Hietala is my hero!"

 

 

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John, 6th September 2020, 17:01
> So, I wondered, is there such a thing as an electric dehumidifier. Or rather, 
> is there such a thing as a domestic electric dehumidifier? 
 
I believe it's called an air-conditioning unit, and can even provide warmth in winter! 
 
They may even be available d'occasion!
John Nelson, 7th September 2020, 10:53
Hi Rick, 
 
I wonder if the de-humidifier would be good for a basement/cave? We have a damp problem, not a serious one, but enough to make the rooms a bit smelly. 
 
Looks like we are all investing in PPE just lately, probably the only sector making money in these times? I've had to buy visors, an electric hand gel distributor and various cleaning things. 
I teach English one ot one from home, so Saturday was my first day doing face to face lessons again. So not only a financial cost for carrying on "as normal" but a time cost, as I have to leave a space between appointments to be able to clean and prepare things for the next student! 
 
Anything to get back to normal eh? 
 
John (the Essonne bloke on Youtube).
David Pilling, 9th September 2020, 00:15
Dehumidifiers have been a way of life here for a very long time. There are long established brands like Ebac. Here by the seaside it is very damp. Typically 70% indoors. That's another thing get something that can measure humidity - see what effect your dehumidifer is having. Like my previous answer condensation takes place on the coldest object. 
I have the impression Peltier devices are not very efficient. The Ebac style dehumidifiers are noisy and I'd guess power hungry - basically a fridge with a fan. Some days I turn the dehumidifier on to warm up the room - obviously to extract water too, but warmth is a useful side effect. Peltiers turn cold on one side of the junction and warm on the other. 
Most interesting thing I found is that there are daily variations in humidity here. Goes down in the day and up at night (I think). 
Probably dehumidifier is best in closed space, like cellar, otherwise you're trying to dry out the world. 
Cars with air con have small cooling unit. 
D, 10th September 2020, 14:50
Dude, you're a Goth.

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Last read at 08:17 on 2020/11/30.

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