Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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I'm in a 2-season country, dry and wet seasons. I live in a cold place, with temperature averaging to 19 degrees on the wet season and about 25 on dry season.

Last wet season, after a couple of storms, I noticed a couple of lenses has molds in the form of tiny "spider-web like" spots on glass surfaces, (are those even molds?). I was stupid in that I always left my lenses and camera in my work table, without any kind of protection.

I got myself a dry box for my lenses. It is not anything fancy or expensive: just about 150USD generic drybox about 2 feet tall. The thing is, I decided to initially turn it on for 24/7. After about a month, the electric bill went up significantly.

Considering that it's the dry season already and it's mostly sunny, do I need to turn it on 24/7? Do I need to turn it on often when it's rainy and humid and all that stuff?

I have no knowledge of humidity control, mold control for equipment or something like that so any help would be pretty much appreciated.

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One option would be to look at the relative humidity(RH) that you are setting your dry box at. Usually you want it in the 40-45% range for camera equipment, anything lower and you are just wasting energy. I would make sure you are in this range.

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the drybox is automatically setting the value, even if I adjust it (does it really work that way?) so if it is not in that range, or it is in the higher range, I can turn it off? – Ygam Nov 26 '12 at 2:51
I would expect (never having used a dry box) that it has an electronic hygrometer (humidity meter) that works exactly like the one on the humidifier I run in my too-dry house in the winter, only set the opposite way — in either case to run on only when a threshold has been crossed. If it's not designed to turn off automatically when not needed, you should get a better model. – mattdm Nov 26 '12 at 4:55

I don't know what is and isn't good enough, but if I were concerned about it (and maybe I should be, because I live in Alabama where it gets nice and humid) I might throw a bunch of silica gel in with my equipment. I have some lens cases that came with them (presumably more for the case's protection than the lens) and I keep them in there. $5 in gel packs seems a lot cheaper than an out of control electric bill.

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