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Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 10:01:09 AM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot
Inspired by tales of mould and damp over in Knowledge Base.

I live in a basement flat with my wife and our three young sons, some of you may know that I had to quit work back in 2008 because we realised that we couldn't afford the childcare - well, we could, but what I was earning would only just cover it so it was barely worth continuing in my job (which was going nowhere anyway). Over the last four years our problems with damp and mould have got progressively worse, and they're naturally exacerbated by this kind of weather. We have very little ventilation, no tumble dryer, and we breathe - which is apparently the biggest problem when it comes to condensation...which leads to damp...and mould...and possible ill health. We've had insect infestations in the kitchen during periods of summer humidity, there's mould in practically every corner, mould behind the bookcases and shelves and wardrobes, around the windows. I do my best to keep it under control but there's only so much I can do. Things came to a head last September when we discovered that the bottom of our two year old's cot-bed was covered in green mould. Well, it certainly explained the cough he had at the time. Both he and his bigger brother now share a bunk so they're much happier.

We rent. It's too small. We can't afford to buy a house that'll suit us, not without a deposit of around 75,000. We're in a great catchment area, good amenities within walking distance, doctor's surgery and so forth. But we're going nuts here. It's dirty, no matter how much we clean. The thought of moving to yet another rented property is very depressing (this is our fourth in ten years) and even if we did we'd have to take a significant rent hike of about 250, which is just about doable but leaves us with nothing to save with.

I just wanted to ask if any of you guys have been or are currently in a similar situation. How did you get out of it and how long did it take? Do you feel like you'll never be able to buy?

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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 10:07:06 AM   
Professor Moriarty

 

Posts: 10463
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: the waters of Casablanca
I'm at the other end of the spectrum. Bought a house at the peak of the prices. Had a ring at the bell last night. It was an estate agent, he was looking for properties in the area to sell because he'd just sold one down the road. I asked him for how much, less than half of what I paid for mine. So that is serious negative equity. Was funny timing, because I'd just had a word with the wife the night before about going to the bank and handing the keys back, unless they vastly reduce our mortgage to bring it in line with what the house is now worth. Otherwise I'm just going to keep paying out for something that I'll never see the value of. So it sounds absolutely crazy, but I think economically I'm better off ditching the house (if it comes to that and the bank doesn't agree much better terms). Gonna look into the implications of this, but think its just reached a point where I'll probably be off the property ladder and back on the rental market by April.

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Post #: 2
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 10:19:36 AM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
I'm slowly coming round to the opinion that buying and owning a  house is not all it's cracked up to be.

Sure, the quality of houses is probably better on the whole than those you can rent, and I get the argument that it's an investment that you can leave for your children (if you have any), but it's not the be all and end all. There are other ways to leave your children something if that's what you wish. And ultimately, it's just another possession that ties you down and can be a complete ballache. Honestly, I think buying/selling a house or worrying about what it's worth is the number one thing that I hear people complain about these days and that's what makes me wonder if it's really worth it.

I'm renting at the moment since the marriage break up and the house I'm in is absolutely fine, which maybe makes me quite lucky. It's spacious, well kitted out and I even have a little front garden. How long I'll be here for I don't know, and once I get my finances sorted out and get the money I'm owed from the house that I still technically own that'll give me a nice little lump sum that may well end up being a deposit for a future house, but at the minute I'm more than happy to stay here.

So I guess I'm saying is that it can be down to luck to get the right house, but that owning a house might not be the most important thing in the world for everyone.


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 10:47:27 AM   
Sway


Posts: 9085
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Albuquerque
This is going to sound obvious, and I'm sure you've already tried it, but if not invest in a de-humidifier. As in, one of the electric machines, not one of those silly little pots.

The flat I live in is quick to develop mould, especially downstairs in the bathroom as it has no windows, and then in both the bedrooms. When I first moved in I was having to clean mould off the sides of my window in my bedroom.

However we got a de-humidifier and we have it placed right outside the bathroom, and we leave it running from first thing in the morning until we go to bed at night. On top of that, the bathroom naturally has a fan because of the lack of windows, it switches on when you put the light on, but will stay on for about 30 mins after each bathroom visit unless we actively switch the fan off.

We've found through a combo of these things, the flat hasn't suffered from any mould since. Not even in the bathroom where it was particularly bad before.

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Post #: 4
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 10:50:00 AM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot

quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

So I guess I'm saying is that it can be down to luck to get the right house, but that owning a house might not be the most important thing in the world for everyone.



It's a good point, matty, there's definitely this pressure of 'prestige' applied to the status of owning a house in this country, although it may not be as strong now as it was pre-recession. Apparently they're much more laid-back about it on the continent, although that may have something to do with tenants in many other countries having greater rights and freedom than tenants here. Or so I've heard. Despite our issues with space and damp we are lucky enough to have a hands-on landlord who fixes things himself promptly and has never raised the rent once in nearly five years, despite the opportunity being there with the boom of the rental market.

If there's a bright light of hope - and I use the term loosely - my great-uncle left my mum and her sister quite a lot of money in his inheritance, including a big bungalow that's going to be sold eventually later this year. My mum, bless her, has promised to send some dosh our way. While it may not be enough for a deposit there's lots of stuff we could use it for, pay off some debts, get a bigger car or whatnot. Unfortunately though there does seem to be a generation of people now who'll only ever be able to get on the property ladder through inheritance, which is a fairly morbid and shitty situation to be in.

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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:01:13 AM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
I have a (probably stupid) question, actually - what does a dehumidifier look like?

I ask because in my house, there's a back bathroom downstairs which is where the washing machine and tumble drier are. On top of the tumble drier is...something that I don't recognise. It's shaped like an air freshener and about the size of a TV remote, but it's not an air freshener and has a button that you can push in and out. The only other thing it does is make a whirring noise every now and then.

I'm buggered if I know what it's for, but I don't want to chuck it in case it breaks the house. Could it be a dehumidifier?

< Message edited by matty_b -- 22/1/2013 11:02:19 AM >


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:05:24 AM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot

quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b
Could it be a dehumidifier?


If it is it's an incredibly small one, perhaps designed for hobbits. The ones I've seen are usually the size of a medium-sized pedal-bin.

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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:09:40 AM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sway

This is going to sound obvious, and I'm sure you've already tried it, but if not invest in a de-humidifier. As in, one of the electric machines, not one of those silly little pots.



Actually, our landlord did lend us one for free and it seemed to work okay (I was constantly emptying the damn thing) but it seems to have become defunct for a while, as it wasn't a very good one. Plus we were always paranoid about running up a massive bill. You mentioned having yours on all day, Sway, do you think it impacts your energy bill at all? I think perhaps we should invest in a real, decent super-duper one and just leave the bugger on all night, but the good ones seem to be around the 200 mark.


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:11:57 AM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b
Could it be a dehumidifier?


If it is it's an incredibly small one, perhaps designed for hobbits. The ones I've seen are usually the size of a medium-sized pedal-bin.


Hm, OK. Might just chuck it then, it's serving absolutely no purpose apart from making an irritating noise.


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:16:22 AM   
UTB


Posts: 9943
Joined: 30/9/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

I have a (probably stupid) question, actually - what does a dehumidifier look like?




It's kinda shaped like a canister vacuum cleaner only it stands upright with a plastic grate on the front. Sucks in the air and turns the moisture into water which you then pour away.


Reading the mould thread took me back to a flat I rented about ten years ago. Started off with a wicker basket in the bathroom going mouldy and before long it was everywhere, behind cupboards, IN cupboards on bags, under the bed etc

We tried really hard to get rid of it all using a de-humidifier and the anti-mould spray (the smell of which now makes me gag) but it never seemed to completely clear.

I think the cause might have been that the bathroom had no window and the extractor fan was utter shit. The landlord was understanding and even paid us the money for the de-humidifier but it never really shifted and once the bed went mouldy we'd had enough.


Funny enough only this year the back of a chest of draws went mouldy as it was too close to an external wall and next to a radiator, but hasn't happened on anything else since.




We're in a house now which has its own problems. The previous owners I think fancied themselves as DIY experts and there's a couple of things which are appalling. The first is the horrendous tiling in the kitchen which is made up of little tiles, most of which aren't straight and makes you feel drunk if you look at them too long.

The other is a rather horrendous bit of electrics - there's a power socket in the back wall of the kitchen in the utility room which (as has been confirmed by a certified electrician) has not been earthed. On our old washing machine this meant if it was turned on and you put your hand inside, you hand started to go fuzzy and the hairs stand up.

This doesn't seem to be the case on our new washing machine. Nope, the only problem with that one is when you switch the wall socket off, the washing machine turns on.

Luckily we're having it gutted and completely re-done in a few months before one of us comes to a 'shocking' end.

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Post #: 10
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:18:25 AM   
Rebenectomy


Posts: 5566
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From: 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2
quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

quote:

ORIGINAL: DancingClown


quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b
Could it be a dehumidifier?


If it is it's an incredibly small one, perhaps designed for hobbits. The ones I've seen are usually the size of a medium-sized pedal-bin.


Hm, OK. Might just chuck it then, it's serving absolutely no purpose apart from making an irritating noise.



Could it be a silent pest controller? Doesn't explain the whirling noise, but they are normally that shape and size.


< Message edited by Rebenectomy -- 22/1/2013 11:19:32 AM >


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:20:54 AM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
Yeah, might be. The previous occupants also left a couple of cans of bug spray, so maybe they've had insect problems. Definitely not a dehumidifier by the sounds of it, though.

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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:29:27 AM   
Hobbitonlass

 

Posts: 11919
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Westeros
I have a one bedroom flat that I brought back when prices were fairly low and as a result it is now worth nearly 3 times what I paid for it. The downside is of course that prices are relative so moving up to even a small modest 2 bedroom place with a garden is out of my reach at current prices. It's current worth wouldn't even buy a garage in London so it's not like it's a vast amount.

The flat itself is okay (I feel safe in it as it is the upstairs of a maisonette) and in an area with good links to everywhere, transport wise but the actual area is on a downward slope. They have built over 3,000 flats (of which 2/3 are housing association) and not amended the infastructure to go with it (ie no extra schools, medical centres etc). We have already had leaflets posted through the door saying crime has risen in the area and at the moment there is a lot of tyre slashing going on (thankfully not mine yet but my neighbours and others in the road).

I just want out of the area and the only way I can move to an area where I would like to go is to sell the property and use the equity to rent. I'm loathe to do is as I don't want to get off the property ladder but interestingly when I mention to people, I'm surprised at the amount renting. What I would be wary of is the lack of security about being in a rented property (in that, I mean the landlord/landlady changing their mind and giving notice rather than actual security), does that worry others who rent?

Yes, it's nice having my own place and being able to do stuff to it but at the expense of hating where I live? Not sure it's worth it.

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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:34:39 AM   
Rebenectomy


Posts: 5566
Joined: 20/1/2008
From: 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2

quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB
Started off with a wicker basket in the bathroom going mouldy and before long it was everywhere, behind cupboards, IN cupboards on bags, under the bed etc


That's exactly how mine started, a wicker drawer unit in a poorly ventilated bathroom. I've had to throw a shit load of food out recently after discovering it had made it's way into the back of my store cupboards, really annoying as a lot of it was stuff like flour and baking materials, that provide an admittedly occasional, but nonetheless handy additional income. I'm a bit worried as I sold a couple of Christmas cakes to work colleagues, and after tasting my own, there was a this damp undertone to it. Nothing harmful I suspect, but a hint of something being not quite right (nobody had complained). Going to have to invest in some plastic sealed containers for stuff like that in future, which is probably a good idea anyhow, but it's a shame that I have to do it.


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:41:54 AM   
Sway


Posts: 9085
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Albuquerque
quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

I have a (probably stupid) question, actually - what does a dehumidifier look like?




So the one we have in the flat currently looks similar to this -



It comes up to knee-height.

But you get smaller ones like these -



Which could be like what you were describing? I don't know how effective these things would be to be honest.

As for the energy use - I imagine it does have a noticeable impact on our bills. However I never see the bills, my flatmate who owns the flat, deals with that. The rent I pay is all inclusive of bills and council tax etc.

However, we both work full time, and have our own interests in the evenings - he's at football about 3 times a week, and I often go climbing or to the cinema. So we're actually rarely in the flat. And when we are, he's very energy conscious, so there'll be no lights on other than in the room we're sitting in. It probably evens itself out.



< Message edited by Sway -- 22/1/2013 1:21:06 PM >


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:42:33 AM   
UTB


Posts: 9943
Joined: 30/9/2005

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rebenectomy


quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB
Started off with a wicker basket in the bathroom going mouldy and before long it was everywhere, behind cupboards, IN cupboards on bags, under the bed etc


That's exactly how mine started, a wicker drawer unit in a poorly ventilated bathroom. I've had to throw a shit load of food out recently after discovering it had made it's way into the back of my store cupboards, really annoying as a lot of it was stuff like flour and baking materials, that provide an admittedly occasional, but nonetheless handy additional income. I'm a bit worried as I sold a couple of Christmas cakes to work colleagues, and after tasting my own, there was a this damp undertone to it. Nothing harmful I suspect, but a hint of something being not quite right (nobody had complained). Going to have to invest in some plastic sealed containers for stuff like that in future, which is probably a good idea anyhow, but it's a shame that I have to do it.



Our flat felt 'damp' too, and cold, it being winter. And each time we cranked the heating up you couldn't help but feel that it was only going to make things worse.

Oddly enough I knew the person who moved into the same flat a couple of years later and they said they'd never had a problem with mould so it must have been a case of getting rid of it properly.


Wicker, eh. Bastard.

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Post #: 16
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 11:48:50 AM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot

quote:

ORIGINAL: UTB

I think the cause might have been that the bathroom had no window and the extractor fan was utter shit. The landlord was understanding and even paid us the money for the de-humidifier but it never really shifted and once the bed went mouldy we'd had enough.



Ventilation is definitely our main problem. Neither the bathroom or the kitchen has any kind of extractor fan which means that every morning, whatever the weather, I'm having to crack open windows while still having the central heating on, mainly to get rid of the condensation. And of course cold draughts mixed with central heating do not good companions make.

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Post #: 17
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 1:21:08 PM   
great_badir


Posts: 4662
Joined: 6/10/2005
From: A breaking rope bridge in the middle of the jungle
We also have mould problems, however nowhere near as bad as yours, DC (or Reb's).

We live in an end terrace Victorian ex-miner's cottage, so it's solid stone walls with lime mortar. This means that the exterior walls will suck through any damp going, so we can't put anything right up against the inside of the external walls to leave "breathing" space so the mould is kept at bay. So we have things like tables and chairs shoved about 6 inches away from the walls. There are only two solutions to this problem - move, or rebuild it with modern materials.

Picking up on what matty said further up thread, what with house prices still being relatively high in most areas, despite the recession, the advantage/disadvantage gap between buying and renting is now almost non existent. When we bought our first house just over 10 years ago, the average first-time buyer mortgage length was 25 years. When we moved to our current house in 2004, that had risen to 30 years. These days the average is 40, at which point you are pretty much just renting a property you will never pay off, or at least not until you hit your 70s. By now I would have expected to see a lot more European style long-term rents on the market, but as yet nothing. Also, we can't be too far away from China-style 100 year mortgages which are passed down through the generations.

Having said all the above, we love where we live now - both house and location are perfect for us. We live in a nice quiet cul-de-sac with good neighbours, all the ameneties we will ever need a short walk away, and more than one good school within our catchment. With only one child and no prosect of another, I can't see we will ever move. Well, not through choice anyway.

Also a quick note on negative equity - a lot of people worry about being in negative equity, but if you are not looking to move then it's not worth worrying about. Obviously if your circumstances change, then it is a problem, but if you're happy in your home and not looking to move, have a "safe" job and can cover the mortgage, negative equity isn't as big a concern as you might believe.

< Message edited by great_badir -- 22/1/2013 1:32:33 PM >


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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 2:41:22 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sway



Which could be like what you were describing?



Hm, it's about the right height (might even be a bit smaller), but the thing I've got doesn't have one of those grills on the front.

No, it's definitely something else. I'm gonna try and find a picture of it.

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RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 2:43:24 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
Found it!



Yeah, it's an air freshener. But I'm guessing it needs a refill which is what the whirring is.

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Post #: 20
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 2:44:52 PM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5797
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham

quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

Found it!



Yeah, it's an air freshener. But I'm guessing it needs a refill which is what the whirring is.


Sorry matty that me giggle.

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Post #: 21
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 3:14:35 PM   
Rebenectomy


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From: 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2
Ewwweeee. Just doing my regular mould scout and upon moving the dining room table, discovered a small nest of what I am guessing are baby centipedes. And I was just thinking that I'd been relatively lucky in not having an insect problem to add to everything else.

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Post #: 22
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 3:23:00 PM   
Harley Quinn


Posts: 5797
Joined: 23/1/2008
From: Arkham

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rebenectomy

Ewwweeee. Just doing my regular mould scout and upon moving the dining room table, discovered a small nest of what I am guessing are baby centipedes. And I was just thinking that I'd been relatively lucky in not having an insect problem to add to everything else.


Reb saw your other thread in KB about this. Have you thought about contacting environmental health. I called them in for my sister after she discovered mould in her 3 year old daughters bedroom her landlord refused to do anything about it .My sister ended up in hospital over the new year with Pneumonia the landlord still refused to do anything aside give her some anti muold paint.

There are other problems that you have mentioned as well pests, windows not opening etc. I rang environmental health and explained the situation what had happened to my sister and they are going to make sure the landlord makes the house safe and takes samples of the mould. Once my sister has a case number she can also ask environmental health themselves to come and inspect the house as well.

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Post #: 23
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 5:19:55 PM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rebenectomy

Ewwweeee. Just doing my regular mould scout and upon moving the dining room table, discovered a small nest of what I am guessing are baby centipedes. And I was just thinking that I'd been relatively lucky in not having an insect problem to add to everything else.


We had something similar back in 2011. In one of our food cupboards that was against an exterior wall we had a sudden invasion of what I eventually ascertained to be 'flour mites'. Hundreds of the buggers. I had to chuck out a load of food and do a deep clean but the little buggers took weeks to clear off for good. Closer investigation revealed some serious mould behind the actual cupboard itself. Every single food item had to be bagged, in fact we still do it out of paranoia. People who come round must imagine that we have some serious OCD.

In fact the more I type this stuff the harder it is for me to believe that we still live here...

< Message edited by DancingClown -- 22/1/2013 5:22:00 PM >


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Post #: 24
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 6:41:25 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Harley Quinn


quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

Found it!



Yeah, it's an air freshener. But I'm guessing it needs a refill which is what the whirring is.


Sorry matty that me giggle.


Oi!

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Post #: 25
RE: Home Sweet Home - 22/1/2013 9:23:37 PM   
DancingClown


Posts: 4257
Joined: 8/1/2006
From: The Lot

quote:

ORIGINAL: Hobbitonlass

Yes, it's nice having my own place and being able to do stuff to it but at the expense of hating where I live? Not sure it's worth it.


This is like what I keep having to remind myself. This flat is a bit of a shit-hole, but at least it has a roof, and it's in a fairly good area, well set back from the main road and relatively safe and snug. Could I swap the security and convenience for somewhere that's bigger but in a shittier area? I don't know, especially with having three little 'uns. But when I'm scraping mould off the ceiling and dismantling the latest cot-bed that's gone fungal I do feel like I'm at my wits end and would gladly like us to be spirited away anywhere. And this is coming from someone who's lived in Moss-Side.

_____________________________

Astronomic Tune Boy

'The town knew darkness, and darkness was enough.'

"Storm just bleeewwww me away..."

(in reply to Hobbitonlass)
Post #: 26
RE: Home Sweet Home - 23/1/2013 6:06:38 PM   
Hood_Man


Posts: 12192
Joined: 30/9/2005
I'm lucky that my flat's mould & damp problems aren't nearly as bad as the ones you guys are having, but I do occasionally have to treat the walls.

My solution was to buy a small dehumidifier (it's not even the size of a small office bin), and occasionally wipe the walls with white wine vinegar.

That and leaving the windows slightly open (when the latch is closed so it can't be opened from outside but there's a small gap to let air through) when I'm not there in the day.

The vinegar worked an absolute treat though.

(in reply to DancingClown)
Post #: 27
RE: Home Sweet Home - 11/2/2013 8:25:52 AM   
joysingh

 

Posts: 25
Joined: 8/2/2013
From: ludhiana
i happy in my home ..my home is sweet home my home not sweet without my family and me....

(in reply to Hood_Man)
Post #: 28
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