Proper maintenance of your antiques and collectibles or any other valued item in your household requires reasonable and logical thinking. In some cases, just using ordinary common sense can save you significant dollars through the years. Today, we will take a look at a few preventive measures that are sometimes overlooked.
It is often easier to see the slow but progressive deterioration of the quality of certain items in the homes of other people than it is to see it in our own homes.
One reason is we tend to become rather desensitized to those slow, progressive changes in our own home as we walk through our daily routines. When we occasionally visit the home of a friend, those slow but progressive changes tend to appear more obvious.
There are many factors that contribute to the relatively slow but progressive deterioration of the quality and value of objects in a home. However, in the very limited scope of this article, we will take a very brief look at a few of some of the most common factors.
Some things (like how often a favorite chair or sofa gets sat in over the years) is well understood and will not be included in this brief discussion.
Some common slow but progressive devaluing environmental influences can include the following: light, temperature, chemical damage and humidity. When I do walk-through verbal approximations for people in their homes, it is sometimes rather obvious how a textile hanging on a wall near a window or a rug near that window has faded more than similar items in other areas of the room. Another example where regular exposure to sunlight can increase the aging process is a painting that hangs near a window.
The use of archival quality covers on paper products slows the aging processes. Stone and other porous materials can be damaged by freezing temperatures and frost. You might have noticed flowerpots on open porches that have been exposed to moisture before freezing tend to pit or crack more over time.
Even the bright, artificial lights used to spotlight or draw attention to certain subjects in a room can increase the deterioration process.
The humidity within a home often varies from day to day and can increase the deterioration process of many items such as books, textiles and furniture. High humidity can cause molds to form, metals to corrode and organic glues in furniture to swell. That can result in veneers cracking.
Also, low humidity can cause furniture to dry out and veneers to shrink and crack. Low humidity can also cause paper and textiles to become brittle.
Items sitting near the heat vents in a room can be particularly vulnerable in the winter months. A relative humidity range of 50 percent to 65 percent is often considered a good target relative humidity range for various humidity-sensitive collections. A common human comfort range is from about 35 percent to 70 percent relative humidity.
Dust and gases are common forms of pollution that progressively damage items inside and outside the home. Small amounts of oxides of nitrogen and sulfur from combustion and motor vehicles and various additives to today's household cleaning products take a toll on our own bodies as well as in our homes.
Winter is beginning to set in. When was the last time you changed that air filter in your furnace?
Marvin Mann, Plainville, is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers. Send questions to him in care of The Hays Daily News, P.O. Box 857, Hays KS 67601.