How to Protect Your Home in Puerto Rico When You’re Away
- Posted: February 12, 2020
- Posted by: Travis Lynk
- Last Reviewed: June 19, 2021
If you are planning to be away from Puerto Rico for an extended period, you will have to protect your home from mold. Puerto Rico’s climate is generally classified as a tropical rainforest climate, giving the island the warm, sunny weather it’s known for. However, this beautiful, year-round beach weather also comes with drawbacks, including a rainy season and high humidity. The high humidity is a serious issue across Puerto Rico, as it leads to mold easily growing in buildings that are not properly dehumidified.
You Need a Dehumidifier in Puerto Rico
Unlike the US, which houses various types of climates across its large landmass, Puerto Rico is a small island and thus features predominantly only a tropical rainforest climate. This means that no matter where you choose to live in Puerto Rico, you will be faced with high humidity that can lead to serious mold problems. The solution is to run both a dehumidifier and an air purifier almost 24/7.
Dehumidifiers take excess moisture out of the air and deposit it in their accompanying water bin. It’s not worth it to buy low-quality, cheap appliances that will break easily or not do the job properly, since you need these appliances to keep your home—and, by extension, you and your family—healthy. Humidity can also harm electronics, so if you plan to keep the windows of your apartment open on a regular basis, it’s best to keep the dehumidifier in your office or computer room with the door shut.
The need for constant dehumidification in Puerto Rico can present problems if you are planning to be away for extended periods of time. If you leave Puerto Rico for a while and do not leave the dehumidifier running, you may be greeted by mold all over your things when you return home. Be careful, though—some dehumidifiers do not come with a hose, and in those cases, you also can’t just leave it running for weeks while you are away. If your dehumidifier doesn’t come with a hose, make sure to buy one separately.
Here are some of the top-rated dehumidifiers on the market to keep your Puerto Rican home safe and mold-free:
This top-quality dehumidifier, rated as the overall best dehumidifier for 2020 by The Spruce, comes decked out with all sorts of useful features, such as a 24-hour on/off timer, a splash guard, a humidity readout, and a full-tank alert. If you set it up next to a suitable drain, you can leave it running continuously without having to constantly empty the water bin. It takes not only excess moisture but also harmful bacteria that can make breathing difficult out of the air. It can operate in temperatures as low as 41 degrees, so it’s a high-quality year-round dehumidifier. You can choose between a 30-pint, 50-pint, and 70-pint machine, depending on your needs.
If you need to dehumidify a particularly large room, this dehumidifier is your best bet, as it is suitable for rooms up to 4,500 square feet or particularly wet areas. It’s easy to use—simply set your ideal moisture level, and let the machine run until its 1.8-gallon water bin is full, at which point it will automatically shut off to prevent overflowing. It also contains a hose outlet so you can leave it running without constantly draining it. An additional bonus is the removal of bacteria and allergens from the air, giving you higher air quality.
If you would like a high-quality dehumidifier with a built-in pump, alleviating you from the duty of constantly emptying the tank, this Honeywell dehumidifier is a good option. It can take up to 70 pints of water out of the air each day, and its ENERGY STAR certification means it is energy-efficient, saying you money. It comes with a built-in pump, meaning it requires minimal oversight from you. Additional features include an energy-saving timer, a sleep mode, and the ability to operate in low temperatures.
A good dehumidifier for the bedroom is the TOSOT 1,500 sq. ft. 30-pint dehumidifier, which runs at a quiet 48 decibels even at its loudest—that’s approximately the volume of light rainfall. It features a gravity drain, so if you set it up by a floor drain, you can leave it running continuously on its own. It’s also energy-efficient, so you can save a bit on your power bill as well as lessen your burden on the environment. Also, if you experience a power outage, this dehumidifier will turn back on automatically at the last-used settings once your power is restored.
If you’d like a small dehumidifier for your bathroom, this Tenergy Sorbi appliance is a great choice. It can remove up to 750ml of moisture from the air per day in temperatures of 86 degrees with 80% humidity. Its operation is almost inaudibly quiet, and the plug-and-play design makes it extremely user-friendly. It comes with an auto shut-off feature to preventing spillage and can take 99.97% of microparticles out of the air, making the air in your home cleaner and healthier.
Sensibo Air Conditioner Remote Controls
Another way—albeit an expensive one—to combat humidity in Puerto Rico is to run your air conditioner full-time. This is not the best way to keep your home mold-free, but regardless, you will need an air conditioner in Puerto Rico, since they’re necessary to keep your home at a cool, comfortable temperature, especially during the hot summer months. A good way to control your air conditioner for optimal comfort and efficiency is by using the Sensibo air conditioner remote control, which allows you to oversee and control your air conditioner from your smartphone. Whether you are in a different part of Puerto Rico, visiting the US, or even traveling through Asia, you can check the temperature and humidity at your home through the Sensibo app. You can turn it on from abroad to help lower the humidity.
Thanks to a geo-location feature, the Sensibo app will also automatically turn on the air conditioner to your preferred settings when you come home, and it will automatically turn off once all synced-up phones have left the home. This feature may not be useful if not everyone in the family uses the app, however.
Other Ways to Regulate Your Home Environment When Away
If you plan to be away from Puerto Rico for a while but have someone you trust back home, such as a friend or close colleague, you could offer them a spare key and ask them to check on the humidity levels and water flow, water your plants, feed your cat, and carry out other necessary tasks. If you have a dehumidifier with a large tank but no hose, this may be a suitable workaround. Obviously, though, this can only work with someone you really trust. When you’re back, take them out to a nice Puerto Rican restaurant as a thank you.
Another option for keeping your home fresh is baking soda moisture-absorbing bags, which you can hang up in closets, bathrooms, and other small spaces. These bags are a cheap, easy way to keep the clothes in your closet fresh and mold-free even when you are away for extended periods—the bags are good for up to 60 days. This option will not work for large rooms but can also be a good addition to a dehumidifier if needed.
If, despite precautions, mold still grows in your home, Puerto Rico has many high-quality mold remediation companies to save your living space.
In addition to the humidity, when you are away from your home in Puerto Rico, you must also be mindful of the mail being sent to your address. Important mail may be arriving for you, but you can’t check it until you return home. To keep on top of your mail while traveling, sign up for PRelocate’s virtual mailbox service. We will send you pictures of your incoming mail, and you can decide whether we should physically send it to you, open it and scan the contents to your e-mail address, shred it, or store it until you return. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Neither PRelocate, LLC, nor any of its affiliates (together “PRelocate”) are law firms, and this is not legal advice. You should use common sense and rely on your own legal counsel for a formal legal opinion on Puerto Rico’s tax incentives, maintaining bona fide residence in Puerto Rico, and any other issues related to taxes or residency in Puerto Rico. PRelocate does not assume any responsibility for the contents of, or the consequences of using, any version of any real estate or other document templates or any spreadsheets found on our website (together, the “Materials”). Before using any Materials, you should consult with legal counsel licensed to practice in the relevant jurisdiction.