Here in the UK we have a pretty wet environment all in all, not really surprising considering we are a large island. I’ve lived in a lot of houses in my lifetime and the last few have been particularly old, ranging from around 500 years old to where I am now, a semi-detached built in 1890, so around 130 years. Suffice to say that I’ve invested in a Meaco Arete 25L and below is some thoughts on my process.

You can imagine that the 500 year old property had none of the modern design principles applied. No cavety walls or double glazing in sight. Indeed, in the UK if I property is “listed” you’re extremely limited as to what you are allowed to do. Often these very old properties are in what are known as “conservation areas” where period features are important and legally protected. Work has to be cleared by a local authority and sympathetic to the original designs and specifications.

We had recently had a roof leak which is really what prompted everything you’re about to read.

Hung Out To Dry

Anyway, I have been battling a lot of condensation in my current house and decided to look into it a bit closer as I had also had a couple of small spots of black mold appear in areas of obvious low air movement. Think “behind the sofa” and under the dining table where it’s flush up against an external wall. The typical places you would expect it to be honest.

Add into that the cold weather lately and you have to start drying your clothes indoors which just produces an absolute stack of air moisture inside a house. Add into that endless streams of tea making (I am English after all) and cooking and you have many sources of air moisture to deal with. Not to mention just breathing.

The bathroom is downstairs in this property and wasn’t fitted with an extractor fan, which is complete madness in an old UK property. It had all the ducting fitted but no actual fan! Go figure … In the depths of winter I was sometimes getting into the shower in the morning and the water that had condensed on the walls from yesterdays shower still hadn’t evaporated. I also noticed the hand towel never actually drying out. Even bags of sugar in the cupboard would need a little “separating” before being able to pour. All little indicators of wet air.

As you can imagine, that is prime mold developing environs.

This property had also had UPVc windows fitted at some point in the past, none but two smaller windows in an extension have trickle vents, which only adds to the issues of a lack of ventilation and air moisture buildup.

On top of that I do think there are some damp sources to get professionally checked out, a process I’ve already started with a professional building consultant.

The ThermoPro TP50

I decided that I’d do a bit of investigation and see what I discovered. Starting with looking for a decent Hygrometer, lets at least start by finding out where we are. After some reading the ThermoPro TP50 looked like just the ticket. I purchsed one for around £9.

The unit arrived the next day and I started placing it in various parts of the house to get some readings. This unit has a tolerance quoted as ±2-3%, so more than accurate enough to measure hymidity in a residential property.

What I discovered was a little alarming.

Humidity Measurements & Black Mold

The ideal is quoted as between 40-60% with a general target of around 55%. That does obviously depends on the time of year etc.

I checked each room in the house and was shocked to discover every room was 70%+. This isn’t a good situation both in terms of our health living here and the health of the building itself. Every room has displayed some form of excess moisture issue. Condensation is an issue in each of the upstairs bedrooms and 3 of 5 rooms downstairs either have had or do still have mold issues. Not major ones but in many countries any sign of mold triggers a lot of legal responsibilities not present in UK law.

For instance a friend of mine was living for a time in Norway. The property he was renting developed a black mold issue. He didn’t think much of it, coming from the UK this was fairly normal. He mentioned it in passing to the landlord. The next day they were moved into temporary accomodation and the property they were renting was pretty much entirely renovated before they were allowed back in …

It really is a much bigger issue than it’s generally thought of in the UK. Indeed, only a short time ago a news story broke where a young boy died as a result of mold infestation.

Building Issues

In addition to the black mold issues I listed above, the main master bedroom has some fitted wardrobes. One of which is all a bit knackard and warped internally. Due to … you guessed it. Excess moisture in the air.

Also, who fits fitted wardrobes to the external walls of a 130 year old property without a second thought to ventilation? Madness.

If you pop over to sites like Timberwise or other property maintenance people, hymidity is something to be aware of in term of your properties health as well as your own health. Conversely, it’s also worth baring in mind the issue of low humidity, even though that is much less of an issue in the UK, it’s equally as damaging.


After all this reading and measuring it became obvious that I had to take some kind of action. I started to investigate dehumidifiers.

I’d had dehumidifiers in properties before but they were always old, slightly knackard small token gestures from skinflint el cheapo landlords. Long past their prime, noisy and ineffective so I was starting with a pretty dim view of them. I was generally dreading the idea of having to have one to be honest. After a lot of reading and pricing up and wotnot it came down to size of the property, operating temperatures, the energy efficiency and noise.

Obviously, the size of the property is fixed. The operating tempertures and energy efficiency dictate a compressor type over a dessicant type and noise of air moving devices is 100% linked to the size and speeds of fans.

Lets say you wanna move x amount of air per second. The smaller the fan, the faster it has to spin to move x amount of air. The faster it has to spin, the move noise it will generate. Both the motor and the air friction on the fan blades along with the air exhaust design define the noise. Pretty simple phyisics really.

Given those parameters are started looking around and narroed it down to the Meaco Arete One 25L, Pro Breeze 30L and the Ebac 2650e.

Cus a long story short, I went with the Meaco.

Meaco Arete One 25L Dehumidifier

I can honestly say that I’m blown away (no pun) by this thing. I set it up, turned it on and it’s just doing it’s thing. No fuss, no apps, no Wi-Fi, router or network issues!

It checks all the boxes for me. I’m not into smart devices in my home (despite being an IT techie I keep my life simple) so I wasn’t bothered about smart apps and the like. Within two days, all the obvious issues had evaporated (again, no pun heh heh).

The condensation issues are all gone already. Within two hours of showering the bathroom is now bone dry. The house feels warmer even without the heating on. The air feels fresher thanks to the HEPA13 filter.

Within 4 days all the rooms are down in the 50-55% humidity range. Bedding feels dryer. Hand towels in the bathroom aren’t perpetually wet.

When I put the heating on during a cold snap about 3 days after the unit was installed, the house heated up quicker and felt warmer, within a few hours it had turned off again as the house had actually managed to get to and stay at 19C.

Now, how much is that going to save on my gas bill? That saving alone is going to more than pay for the Meaco …


Whilst I was researching all this I watched and read a LOT of reviews, demos and opinions.

Lots of people don’t read manuals … anyway.

The noise of this device is not an issue for me. It’s a brown noise affiair, highly, highly ignorable over time. Don’t listen to someone’s poorly recorded “example” on a phone and make a call based on it. It’s not representative of the how the unit will sound in your environment.

Merely knowing it’s 42db tells you nothing in reality. It’s the nature of a noise that defined how intrusive it is along with the environment it’s in. Echo layden hard surface hallways sound entirely different to carpeted living rooms for instance. I don’t find the Meaco intrusive and have left it running all night in audible ear-shot and still slept like a baby. Go me!

The reviews for this unit are near universally glowing and this write up is another. It’s a fanstic machine, designed in the UK for the UK climate. It does exactly what it claims to do.

Highly recommended.


A special shout out to the chap at Ebac taking Which? to task over their reviewing too. Well done.

ThermoPro Upgrade

So given all of this I’ve also upgraded my monitoring and purchased a multi-channel ThermoPro TP65C and some sensors. Really great, cheap way to keep on top of multiple readings indoors and outdoors. I have one upstairs two downstairs and one outside.

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