High humidity, unanticipated impacts and ways to cope.

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I live in the South in an area with high humidity. If there are massive power failures, and a person buys a small generator say 8,000 watts or less, it will not be able to handle central air conditioning, a heat pump etc. 75% humidity at 80 degrees inside is miserable. I think I partially solved this problem by buying a dehumidifier which is a small compressor system to condense out the water. I also bought some wheat and stored in in a bedroom walkin closet. I ran the dehumidifier in the closet with the wheat and extracted several gallons of water from it. The dehumidifier pulled down the humidity in the closet from 80% to 50% before I sealed the wheat in plastic buckets. I tested the wheat for humidity by heating it on the stove. The weight dropped from 10 oz to 9.5 oz after one hour of heating on low which is approximately a 5% drop in the humidity. The interesting point is that I weighed it again an hour later and it weighed 9.8 oz which means that it absorbed 3% of the water back from the 70% humidity in the house. The lesson here is that grain can absorb moisture from the air very quickly. My plan is to add dry ice to the buckets to force out the oxygen as the carbon dioxide will fall to the bottom of the buckets and the oxygen will flow over the top to reduce spoilage and insect infestation. I used a humidity guage that hangs on the wall with a thermonitor. This is not really a question but I didn't know where else to put it as I have not seen dehumidifiers discussed in these forums. There could be a severe shortage of dehumidifier similar to the shortage of generators when people become aware of the humidity problem in the summer. These units sell for about $160. Happy New Year

-- Steve (sfennel@nettally.com), December 31, 1998


Just ran off an email to Steve, basically I'm considering filling gallon plastic bags with flour (approx. 5 lbs), freezing them to kill the buggy eggs, then packing them with cheesecloth filled with rice to eat the humidity. Does anyone know if that's a good idea or not?

-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), December 31, 1998.

Freezing won't actually kill most insect eggs. It will kill the larva and adult insects, but, figure that the eggs of most insects overwinter easily through sleet, hail,snow, etc quite nicely. An easier way to keep insects out of your grain is to put diatomaceous earth in the bucket- 1/4 cup to 40 pounds of grain. This is nontoxic, and will kill any larva and insects that hatch out.

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), January 01, 1999.

Damian, How are you adding the dia. earth? I don't think you are supposed to mix it with the grain. Where are you getting dia. earth? As I understand it, the source matters.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), January 01, 1999.

From previous posts it seems best to freeze food for a week then warm it up for a month and then freeze again. Freezing kills adult insects. After thawing, any larva present will activate and become adults. More freezing is needed to kill the second generation.

As for diatamateous earth, it must be mixed throughly with the beans or whatever, in order to protect the stuff from adult insects. The DE is a microscopic abrasive and gets into the cracks and crevases of hard shelled insects to make them juice to death. The DE must be food grade bought from garden shops. NOT the stuff used in pool filters which has additives not intended for human consumption. The DE can be rinsed from the food prior to using. The abrasive qualify of DE does not bother soft skinned larva or humans. HOWEVER, care should be taken so not get the dust in your eyes when you're working with it.


-- Floyd Baker (fbaker@wzrd.com), January 01, 1999.

Hey Steve,

Hate to rain on what otherwise is good suggestions but....

Generators will require precious fuel that otherwise would be needed to keep you alive and warm come Winter! Sweating won't kill you but Hypothermia...Hypothermia is a bitch.

Having a deep root cellar is the way most folks stored perishables not that long ago folks. It's a time-tested and proven method.

Save your fuel for heat when your life depends on it. Generators for anything other than emergency needs might be robbing precious hours from your life come next Winter.

Otherwise I think I'll take your suggestions Steve to cool my office this summer whilst the power still floweth.

-- INVAR (gundark@aol.com), January 01, 1999.

What a great suggestion with the DE! I'll definitely mix some wiht my pinto beans. I'm not too clear on how to mix it with grains, though. Any suggestions? Thanks.

-- jhollander (hollander@ij.net), January 01, 1999.

I've stored beans for long periods with nothing added or done to it, and never had a problem with bugs, but maybe some in other areas of the country have more problems with this. Grains are treated the exact same way as the beans. !/4 cup of DE to 40 # grain is the amount i have always heard.

-- Damian Solorzano (oggy1@webtv.net), January 02, 1999.

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