Friday, March 05, 2010

20% Humidity

My apartment has centrally-controlled hot water heat. There are levers that are *supposed* to adjust the temperature of individual registers, but they're pretty ineffective. The caretaker who controls the heat lives on the half-submerged first floor, and so his apartment cools down slower in the fall, and heats up slower in the spring. This means my apartment is on the cool side in the fall, and on the hot side once temperatures start rising again.

Lately it's been 23 C in my apartment, even with two windows open. I propped my kitchen window open with a cork, and my bedroom window open with a pen. They're on opposite sides of the apartment, so I figured I'd get a cross-draft that would cool the apartment. (If it is cooling the apartment, which I believe it is, I'd hate to see the temperature with the windows closed!)

However, with the windows open, the apartment air has gotten *really* dry. My digital thermometer in the hall was reading 20% last night, and it's affecting my throat. Even though the outside air is damp from the melting snow, once that air is heated up to 23 C, the humidity plummets.

To combat the dry air, last night I closed the kitchen window, and lowered my bedroom window to cork level. I then opened just the inner pane on every single window except the bathroom, in an attempt to prevent over-heating. I then watered all my (drooping) plants, boiled a kettle in my bedroom for a few minutes, and half filled my tub with the hottest water the tap would produce. The thermometer still read 20% humidity, although it increased to 25% after my extended shower this morning.

This morning, in addition to my irritated throat, I also woke up with wicked head congestion. (Is it all the dry air's fault, or am I coming down with something too?)

To try to ease my throat, I've been sucking on spoonfuls of honey, and drinking lemon-ginger tea with honey. I even sucked on a sore throat lozenge last night, although I don't *think* it's viral/bacterial.

Last time I called my landlord, he suggested trying the adjustment levers on the registers (I hadn't, because I had found them useless before), and said that my caretaker has been having trouble keeping warm since his stroke last fall. He said to call back if using the levers didn't help, but I don't really want my caretaker to be cold.

I think tonight for dinner I should boil some pasta and steam some broccoli (assuming the broccoli I bought two weeks ago hasn't gone gross). If I'm lucky, perhaps I'll manage to find time to mop my apartment floors this weekend. If anyone else has suggestions, I'm all ears. :P


Heather said...

Way back when I lived in residence, it was equally as dry. We used to take wet towels and drape them on the rads. How about hanging a wrung out towel over the shower curtain rod?

noricum said...

Great idea! And then I wouldn't have to worry about adding extra heat to the apartment either. :)

Towels on the rads won't work, though, because mine are low and are built into the walls.