Jan 25, 2018
So, apparently, temperatures are supposed to be hitting record-breaking lows around here. Not sure if it is record-breaking, but it is so cold, the empty apartment next door had a water pipe break. Gushing water everywhere in the parking lot.
Also, the inside of my apartment has icicles.
I can't apologize for the mold. It is a losing battle in this apartment.
The amount that my window is sweating from condensation is astounding. I don't know where all the water is coming from because the air feels so dry. There shouldn't be any left to stick to the glass, or walls or closet doors.
But it got me to thinking about all of the places I have stayed in Japan, the different styles of housing, and everything I've lived in back in the U.S. This apartment is about the equivalent of living in a wooden box with windows. It is probably the lowest insulated housing I have slept in. The walls are empty. The windows are all single pane. However, my last apartment was like this, too (the walls didn't sweat as much though). And my friend's brand new house has single pane windows. Although they assured me the house is insulated.
I'm sure as a kid, many of the apartments and trailer homes I stayed in must have been poorly insulated, too, because cheap living is cheap. But I don't remember ever having the difficulty keeping out the heat in summer or winter sapping all warmth the out of the place the instant the heater was turned down.
Being cold in winter and hot in summer is just the way things are meant to be. And, I'm certain it is...outside. To my American raised mind though, a home should be cozy and warm in winter, and the icicles should form on the outside of the window seals.
American step mom with beautiful Brazilian babies. Raising them in Japan. I'm a crafter too
This is the case in our house too...every. single. window. We actually took to using bubble wrap/plastic wrap to tape over some windows to "insulate" them to a degree...our electricity bills are nuts but I think you hit the nail on the head, there's just zero in the way of insulation. We had icicles on our windowsills overnight a couple of weeks ago which prompted our bubble wrap solution. It doesn't look the classiest but we figure if our house isn't icing over (and it keeps some of the cold out!) then hopefully it will mean our heating costs aren't so terrible. And summer...ugh...that's just another challenge!
@genkidesu they sell aluminum/foam panels to go in the windows and I have thought about them several times, but the only way these would be useful would be to block the window off completely. The window doesn't sit perfectly in the frame, so there is a small slit. Blocking it won't work because we wouldn't be able to ventilate. A Japanese friend of mine's house made me chuckle though. She had plastic wrapped the inside of one room, including the doorways. It looked like a quarantine area. Very effective though.
This lack of insulation is super strange and frustrating for me too. Our windows have a tiny vent at the top that our property manager said we should open for about five minutes every day during winter. (Maybe you're lucky enough to have those on yours? Opening the window a tiny bit during the day would work too.) I tricked myself into a habit of opening the vents while I make coffee every morning, and it seems to help. You'd think the air is super dry during winter so humidifying is good, but I guess the problem becomes worse every time we create steam (take a shower, boil water, or cook). We started using the ventilation fans whenever creating any steam, and it's way better. I also started using a small old towel to dry off the windows when they get drippy (then hang it outside to dry in the sun). It's a minute of extra work, but worth it. I can't live with mold in my house because I have allergies.
I dream of building a properly insulated house, and we may do someday, but right now I am living with these problems too. The mold, THE MOLD, it drives me bat sh!t crazy!! The dust is runner up for the biggest problems I face as a housewife in Japan! I hate how hard it is to heat / cool the house too. It has always baffled me how Japan can be so technologically advanced in so many ways, but soooooo frigging backward when it comes to the house. Apart from the frustrations of lack of insulation, there is also the kitchens... I have a funny feeling I don't even have to explain that one!! Housework takes too much time in Japan because of all these problems. Gah! Like @genkidesu the bubble wrap on the windows did help us a bit too - until they fell off a couple of years in. Really must re-do them because the cold these past few days is almost too much to bare.
@helloalissa My previous apartment had those vents. a cockroach crawled in through it once. I was glad when this place didn't have them...now I'm not sure. Bugs or mold, both seem awful. Ill start trying to wipe things more often though. I think if I had mold allergies I'd be dead.
@Saitama Housework takes way too much work!! I'm a bit afraid of moving into something larger than this tiny space because itll mean more to clean!