Is your home a humidity trap in the summer? It can make you wish you could have your dry winter air back again! All kidding aside, excess moisture in our homes can easily lead to mold damage and possibly even health issues, so you’ll want to track down the source of the problem ASAP.
It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity…
An ideal humidity range for most homes is generally somewhere between 35% and 45%. Once the level rises over 50%, that’s when you start seeing mold growth, warping of wooden floors, etc. Under 30% can lead to static electricity and dry skin and sore throats.
If you’re not sure about the humidity level in your home, you can test it with a hygrometer. They’re not expensive and can be purchased online.
If you’re looking for hints to diagnose the cause of humidity issues and fix them, try some of these tips.
1. Make sure your air conditioner is the right size for your home.
An air conditioning system needs to be matched to the square footage of your home. It’s easy to be tempted into getting one that’s too big, but bigger in this case isn’t better.
Air conditioners are built to dehumidify, but if it’s too large and powerful it won’t. This is because an oversized unit won’t be running as often as it needs to in order for the coils to cool down and condense moisture out of the air.
2. Ensure you’re venting steam from the bathroom properly.
One of the most common causes of humidity issues is steam from showers, especially in larger families. If the humidity problem is mostly noticeable in the bathroom, ensure that your bathroom fan is strong enough, and that it is venting to the outside. If it just vents to the attic, you’re definitely setting the stage for a serious mould issue.
Run the fan during every shower, and for about 30 minutes afterwards.
3. Make sure your clothes dryer vents to the outdoors.
This is huge! Aside from showers, clothes dryers are one of the biggest potential sources of moisture in our houses. Make sure there is a sealed pipe from your dryer that carries the moisture form your dryer outside – it soul be noticeable outside your home while the dryer is running.
If you line-dry a lot of your clothing indoors, that can also contribute to the problem, especially in basements.
4. Check for plumbing leaks.
Check for warped or buckled drywall near where you notice the humidity issue. Stains on walls or floors are also a sign that you may be dealing with a leak, and moisture is escaping inside the walls or floors.
5. Have your home’s vapour barrier checked.
It’s possible that the vapour barrier in your home was incorrectly installed (or missing, if your home is older and doesn’t have a basement). A vapour barrier is a layer of thick plastic that prevents moisture in warm air condensing when it meets cooler air.
6. Make sure your range hood vents to the outside.
If you do a lot of stove-top cooking and don’t have a way to control steam, that may be part of the problem. Some range hoods just recirculate the air – make sure yours vents outdoors, is powerful enough for your needs, and is used every time.
7. Install a dehumidifier.
If you’ve checked out the potential causes above and made any necessary adjustments, you may want to make a dehumidifier your next step.
If your humidity problem is confined to the basement, try a freestanding dehumidifier. If it’s a whole-house problem, sophisticated and powerful dehumidifiers are also available for your central air system as well.
Our homes are more air tight these days, as insulation technology improves and building codes get more strict. This helps save money on heating but can contribute to humidity issues. If you suspect that you have humidity issue, you should get it checked out and dealt with right away. Once it gets started, mold can be a difficult problem to eradicate.
If you think your home may need an air conditioner or humidifier upgrade, or if you suspect a plumbing leak, get in touch with the experts at Knight.