I live in a very hot humid climate and I have a large pantry about 10ftx10ft with an 8ft ceiling. When the house was built I positioned the pantry in the north west corner of the house. We do not have AC in the house and I have the pantry additionally insulated I designed to operate similar to the air exchange of a root cellar with a air intake pipe in the lowest corner of the room leading outside and another pipe to release the hot air in the opposite top corner of the room leading outside. When it was finished late last year late summer it seemed to work really well at keeping the room a lot cooler that the outside air and the rest of the house.
But this spring I have been battling the humidity I have mold growing on things and moisture ruining all of our salt. The temperature in the room has also seemingly stopped being cooler and now most of the time feels hotter. I have a tiny solar array that provides us with power so a electric dehumidifier is out of the question. I installed a inline fan in an attempt to better circulate the air but that doesn't seem to help and i am not sure how to get this under control. My only thought to help with temperature is burying a length of air intake pipe outside the house and tie it in to my air intake to the pantry to see if it would help the bring the temperature down of the air passing through but I am not sure what else to try. I have very limited money but I have lots of time so any suggestions would be helpful for either issue.
I had a temporary humidity problem in my food storage and now my unopened 25lb and 50lb sacks of cane juice crystals, wheat berries, beans, and oats are growing fuzzy mold on the outside of the bags. Are the contents ruined? Do I need to toss them😢? Is there any hope of saving these?
I honestly never solved my issue with humidity. I had the bag of wheat bran that grew similar fuzz on the outside but on the inside was fine. I did move it out of the pantry trying to get more air flow so it sat in my open living room and didn't grow any further mold.
I also live in a warm, humid climate. I am on-grid though, so I do keep two large dehumidifiers in the main part of my house, as well as a small one in my pantry.
Aside from the DampRid mentioned above (I have no idea what the contents of those are, though, so buyer beware and do your own research), I'd also suggest storing your food in air-tight containers as much as possible. Mylar bags and Food Saver vacuum sealer bags are all reusuable many, many times. The bags can then be stored inside 5-gallon buckets.
Not storing the food against a wall could also be a good strategy. Encourage air flow as much as possible on all sides of the foods.
Moldy grains can be a major problem. Ergotism is a real threat to humans and livestock. It was once theorized that ergotism caused the mania behind the Salem Witch Trials.
I am still trying to work on the air flow thing. I have a air intake vent and a out air vent similar to you would set up a root cellar but even with the assistance of a fan it doesn't seem to move enough air. So I need to adapt and experiment some more. I will update this tread if I have any break throughs.
Hi, Damp rid I believe is calcium chloride. It is the exact same thing as safety salt to melt ice with without damaging your plants next spring. Safety salt is much less expensive than the damp rid product.
Arthur Angaran wrote:Hi, Damp rid I believe is calcium chloride. It is the exact same thing as safety salt to melt ice with without damaging your plants next spring. Safety salt is much less expensive than the damp rid product.
Another option I have seen family members use (I also live in a super humid place) is CHALK. Literally, get yourself a few boxes of school chalk, plain, white, rip off the tops and throw them around your pantry.
Meanwhile, we store everything in sealed containers. I lost a 10# bag of nutritional yeast that cost me $$$$$ to import and never made that mistake again.
@Angela, if i'm not mistaken those bags have two layers of paper, and that mold is airborne. But mold has roots that go on in, so if I were you I'd get myself some food safe buckets ASAP. Sugar won't go moldy (i don't think) but other things will.
Everything in airtight containers. and bulk grains in the freezer, that's what I did when I lived in a damp house in a swamp, nothing could be kept outside an airtight container, and the main container shouldn't be to big as every time you open it you let damp in. You can buy airtight barrels at boat supply shops their sold as watertight.
With any form of thing that absorbs water, whether that be rice, chalk, salt or silica gel they will only work in a airtight or extremely restricted airflow environment and they only work for a very limited time. as soon as they have absorbed all the moisture they can they need to be removed and replaced. you can re-dry most of them in a oven or car etc but it is something to remember.
You might want to check those pipes. Starlings and bees love spots like that to build nests and block air flow. Put screened caps over the outside if you see a problem.
Another option to boost air flow would be, if the pipes are three inches or larger is to mount a small fan such as one used in computers and wire it through a humidistat so it kicks on when the humidity gets above a certain level. You could also just use a plug-in appliance timer to kick it on for an hour or so a couple times a day. If you use a timer you'll be able to judge how often and how long to have it turn on after a couple of weeks. In a closed room it shouldn't take much more air flow than what one of those fans can make.
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