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How to Fix Typically Malaysian Household Problems

October 10, 2019

There’s nothing more infuriating than to find that one of your precious furniture or home foundation has been destroyed by termites or humidity. Unlike natural cause disaster, these damages can be done slowly over long periods of time, and you won't know about it until it's too late.

Setia Mayuri by Sachi Interiors

Interior Firm: Sachi Interiors

We’ve identified some of the most common household problems faced by Malaysian homeowners and what you can do to prevent it from damaging your home.

1. Humidity and weather damage

Balanced levels of humidity, e.g. 30% to 55% at home is actually good to keep allergies at bay and indoor temperatures comfortable. However, Malaysia’s equatorial climate and tropical weather often results in highly humid conditions of up to 80% on average.

Setia Eco Glades, Cyberjaya by X Two Concept

Interior Firm: X Two Concept

This can lead to severe damage and disease to the structure of the home and other areas. For instance, high humidity can cause decreased wall integrity, stained walls and ceiling, rotting or warping wooden floors, as well as wall and ceiling mould, etc. High humidity can also affect indoor air quality and serve as a breeding ground for allergens.

The solution:

To combat excessive humidity and potential damage, use a dehumidifier. Most modern air conditioning models might have a dehumidifying mode that you can utilise. For bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other areas that are more likely exposed to dampness; do consider using a portable dehumidifier.

Tiara Duta, Ampang by Haven Interior & Construction Sdn Bhd

To deal with allergens and mould, you might want to consider purchasing an air purifier with HEPA filters and UV lamp technology.

2. Termites

If you’ve ever had a termite problem, you’ll know that their “activities” can be quite damaging. Property damage from termites is said to be more prevalent than fires or floods in Malaysia.

Puchong by Rosamund Sparks

Interior Firm: Rosamund Sparks

Termites can eat through structural parts of your home such as ceiling joists, wooden support beams, and posts. They’ll also chew through dry walls, wooden furniture, and metal siding, as well as personal belongings like books (or anything that was once wood). Repairing termite damage can cause some serious dent in your wallet too and in some cases, termites have even destroyed items that are irreplaceable, like antique furniture.

The solution:

Start by applying anti-termite treatments on any items in your home that is made from wood. If you have the option, choose materials that are naturally termite-resistant such as steel or aluminium, concrete or cement instead of wood. Certain timber types are also naturally termite-resistant such as Australian cypress, red and white mahogany, and cedar, as well as local timber like Balau, Merbau, Pelawan, Teak, Temak Batu, Tembusu, and Tempinis.

Cheras by Nu Infinity

Interior Firm: Nu Infinity

It’s also important to keep an eye out for early signs of termites. If you hear clicking sounds, notice tunnelling or wood galleries (typically visible from the side of a wooden door), or see termite frass - which look like piles of sawdust; you might have a termite problem. Call for professional pest control as soon as possible; waiting only makes the problem worse and more costly to repair. Also, performing regular maintenance and inspection is a good way to catch termite troubles in its early stages. Take note of water damage too, as termites are known to be attracted to moist wood.

3. Hot Climate

Prone to heatwaves and high average temperatures, the levels of indoor heat in major cities in Malaysia can be rather extreme. According to a 2015 study that examines the level of thermal environment in residential buildings in Malaysia, suggest that the highest indoor temperature in a master bedroom in KL is at a whopping 32.6 °C.

Setia Ecohill, Semenyih by SQFT Space Design Management

This kind of heat is especially prevalent nowadays, with rising temperatures combined with modern residential architecture that is poorly ventilated. Older homes in Malaysia used to be built with ventilation holes that allow hot air to escape. Without proper ventilation, hot air gets trapped indoors leading to uncomfortable temperatures, and consequently, increased energy bills (mainly from cooling appliances like air conditioners.)

The solution:

To control temperatures naturally, you’ll need to both deflect the heat and introduce cool air indoors. Consider installing heat-reflective window treatments, extending roof overhangs or awnings, and if you live in a landed property, plant shady trees in your garden to shield your home from direct sunlight.

Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam by Core Design Workshop

Interior Firm: Core Design Workshop

Apart from deflecting heat, it’s also necessary to cross-ventilate (when outdoor weather is cooler) by allowing hot air to escape and cool air to enter. To do this, just open the windows and doors on opposite sides of the home. If the air is still, you can use a portable fan to direct hot air out through the outlet window.

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