Monday, September 13, 2010

DRAFTS ARE BAD, mmkay?

13 comments
Soooo, our apartment is partly set into a hill. It has two windows. Both are on the same side of the apartment, so there is never, ever, ever a breeze of any kind in here. But that's good, if you're German. Drafts cause lots of bad health problems (according to German lore). Our German apartment has no draft and terrible, terrible, terrible ventilation. I guess it's great in the winter. It saves energy on heating.

So, is saving energy on heating worth...BLACK MOLD?

Because I'm pretty sure I've just discovered some growing on a wall behind the dresser in our bedroom. And I'm starting to wonder if that's the stuff we have to keep cleaning off the bathroom ceiling. And if it's what showed up on the part of the wooden clothespins that touch our damp clothes (plastic clothespins for the win here).

Here's hoping it's not THAT black mold - you know, the toxic one that causes your lungs to burn out and brain to melt and gonads to shrivel up - but just some other black mold.

UGH, I hate this apartment so much. But with the constant threat of leaving Heidelberg hanging over our heads, I don't know how we could afford a move....but if that really is THAT black mold...we might have to.

And before I get lectured on how a proper German knows to keep the windows open for three hours a day or whatever the hell it is. Our windows are open at least 2/3 of the day almost year-round. We live by the woods on the water. It's humid. Having our windows open is not a magic solution for the massive humidity problem in our apartment.

****

PS. This is our four-year anniversary in Germany.

13 comments:

  1. That sounds ominous. I wonder what your landlord has to say about it?

    Congrats on the four years.

    You guys were missed at WE-BUM.

    Captcha:gonsit
    "Gonsit yer ass down!"

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  2. . . . . maybe that's why it's a rental. Just saying. Italians seem to have very similar thoughts on drafts, but a tiny breeze through your home might be okay, as long as it doesn't touch your skin. Ha! I do believe that they are on to something, though.

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  3. Thanks, Snooker. :) I'm sure the landlord will tell us to contact the Hausverwaltung, which we already did. Our upstairs neighbor (who owns) has a mold problem too and gets lectured to open her windows. What a load...

    Dana - well gee, since I don't even know if I'm going to live here long enough to make renting a different place worth it, then I certainly have enough time to think about purchasing a good property. :P

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  4. We move every year, whether we want to or not. When I was talking over your noise problem with the German, he asked why you don't move and I said you weren't certain how long you'd be there. From our point of view, it depends on whether you need to pay a lot to move. If you can do it yourself, or by hiring some guys at 10/hr, we'd move asap. With your noise problem and now the mold (take photos, send to whomever), it might be faster than the general three months. Especially if you go back to what you are owed (first month of noise), perhaps that could pay for the move or help with the security turn over? I know it rots. I'm sorry.
    And happy anniversary:), we just passed our three year date and right now it looks like we may be staying indefinitely, although with one more whopping move ahead of us.

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  5. It's the cost. If we move now we won't have anything left when we need to move later. I'm out of work and my husband's an academic (read: paid shit). Rents are really high here and vacancies really low. We are looking into it more seriously now, though.

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  6. Not all Germans are trying to avoid Drafts. I have the windows open day in and out and I loooove when there is a mild breeze going through the apartment.

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  7. Thanks to the massive stone buildings you have here in Germany mold is easier to have. Could something like that help you???

    http://www3.westfalia.de/shops/haushalt/kuehlen_lueften/klimageraete/luftentfeuchter/189065-raumentfeuchter+nachf_llpackungsse.htm?vbSESSID=c1bbbaeeef5d0c52e9772ec97bc89a5d
    It really did with my parents basement.
    I also like a breeze on a hot summerday since i got totally used to ac being in the US a lot within the last years. I think they could have it a bit less cool everywhere but here in Germany i walk arround haunted by guilt for my love of ac:-)

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  8. Sorry the link lookes awfully misshaped. I don't know how to post a link so you just have to click on it.

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  9. Yeah, I will never understand the whole draft thing in Germany. I've written about it on my comparison blog several times, in fact. They say you'll get sick having wet hair in the cold air, but then they also open the window at all times of year? Whatever. I had some of that mold appear in my room and I was told that I wasn't heating enough. Doesn't that indicate too much heat and too much moisture, though? Anyway, I just wiped it off.

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  10. I can't believe it's been four years.

    I would bet (hope) that the black mold is just mildew. I know my parents had some behind some pictures in their house. Maybe German Tilex? Anyway, good luck with it.

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  11. Native: Regarding your love of AC, if you haven't read this yet you might like it! : http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/german_joys/2010/07/airconditioning-coming-to-a-german-near-you.html
    We did buy a small dehumidifier and I think it's helping - it certainly feels drier in the bedroom now. I think we need one for every room!

    Michemily: I saw some advice about turning up the heat. Probably not relevant at this time of year, but between heating to work against mold and to work against having to open the windows all winter, we would go broke! Even with our warm cavey apartment heating costs are more than we want to pay every year!

    Mary: Whew, you're the first American I know of who had mold anywhere but their basement. I feel better that it's not just a Germany thing. I never knew of any mold outside the basement in any of the places I lived in the US. Our current apartment is sort of basement-like, though, so I guess it's to be expected.

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  12. the mold. ugh. yes. I understand and empathize!

    Have you heard the thing were Germans won't reheat spinach or layer cheese/meat/cheese on a pizza for fear of health repercussions? This makes me mental when my in-laws go on about this, it's totally unfounded. They also believe in drafts. sigh.

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  13. When I first brought my horse to Germany, he suffered from allergies and had to go to an eye specialist. Two of our neighbors said that his eye issues and coughing were due to the draft in his stall. That there is a window and a door open all year was seen as neglect/abuse! Well now that he's been here long enough to adapt, his eyes are better and somehow the draft didn't cause any issues this year. HM: )

    Re: Mold - we just found black mold spots on the underside of our mattress cover. We had it professionally cleaned twice and they would not come out. I've now soaked it in bleachwater and still, no luck. We may have to just buy a new one. Could it mean our window is open too long? Not enough? I wish I knew.

    ~lytha

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