You may have enjoyed the first two articles – ‘LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION’ and Climatic Factors’ in this series looking at how the location of a house can affect its susceptibility to the elements. This article contains a few brief suggestions and considerations for those who choose to live in a house in forested regions of the Northern Rivers/Gold Coast region.
Have you ever driven to Mt Tamborine or Springbrook on a hot summer’s day? Did you enjoy the comparatively cooler air sheltered from the sun?
You may have heard the term ‘microclimate’. Microclimates are often a shady spot protected from the wind where plants and hammock dwellers are protected from the elements. Macroclimates are a result of many microclimates in a region. Rainforests in the Northern Rivers/Gold Coast region are a macroclimate that can change the weather on a much wider scale.
On a hot day tree leaves will evaporate or transpire water vapour. By releasing evaporated water, plants cool themselves and the surrounding environment. This evaporated water turns into clouds that will further cool the environment. Also the forest canopy provides shade and the spongey soil retains moisture better than grazing pastures. The overall affect leaves hikers feeling cool and refreshed on a hot day.
Memories of a day spent at Currumbin Rock Pools surrounded by nature may motivate you to consider a more permanent ‘Tree Change’.
What is there to look out for when you own a house in a tropical environment?
- Rising Damp. In porous structures like cinder block and brick capillary action can cause rising damp. Almost all homes are originally built with damp-proof courses, where a waterproof layer is installed horizontally in the brickwork. Unfortunately, over time, older proof courses, which were often made of slate or bitumen, break down, allowing the water to rise up the walls – hence the name. Rising damp is a common problem in older houses and apartments. The first signs of rising damp are usually humidity – condensation on windows – but as it gets worse you start to get stains on the wall, mildew and mould. Unpleasant odours and damage to the building structure will also occur. It is possible to fix rising damp and mildew and mould damage it has caused but it will most likely be a long and costly process.
- Wet, shady areas. If you live in a rainforest environment with many trees shadowing your house you can expect an environment suitable for moss, mildew and mould. Fortunately with regular maintenance these issues can be controlled. Firstly consider removing some of the trees that directly shade your house. Your next step is to look out for moss and mildew growing on your roof, under your eaves, in your gutters and on your walls. Have these areas cleaned regularly to ensure you will continue to enjoy a healthy atmosphere inside your home. Dehumidifiers or a dehumidifying air-conditioning system may also be a good consideration.
- Cleanliness and Pests. Rainforests have all sorts of critters hanging around. Wasps are a common pest that love the shade of your eaves. If food scraps are left in the kitchen and lounge room areas it invites these bugs to make a home in your home. Make sure to wipe your benches regularly. Make sure your home is kept clean and your kitchen bin is changed regularly. Pest control measures may also be considered. Right As Rain employees are happy to help to keep your home clean with our competitively priced, good value domestic cleaning services.