As reported by the EPA, excess humidity often leads to mold or mildew in the home. Mold and mildew, in turn, can cause serious damage to drywall, carpets, ceilings and more, not to mention causing allergies and other illnesses. The first step is to identify where the extra humidity is coming from and then to take steps towards reducing or eliminating excess moisture altogether.
Sources of Excess Humidity
High humidity in the home can be as easy to recognize as feeling the temperature change when walking in and out, but it can also be spotted in other ways. In an article on humidity reduction, SFGate explains that hygrometers are available at most local hardware stores, but there are also visible signs such as condensation on windows or mirrors, mold or mildew growths, and wet spots on walls or ceilings. Where the moisture is found may indicate the cause:
Bathroom Ventilation – Bathrooms are notorious for high humidity, but a lot of the cause can be eliminated by opening a window or operating a ventilation fan during showers and baths. Caulking around windows, tubs and shower stalls will reduce drafts and moisture.
Too Many Plants – It may sound strange, but having too many indoor plants can cause the humidity to increase. A few plants promote a healthy environment, but turning the home into a tropical wonderland will increase the moisture in the air and reduce the effectiveness of your HVAC system.
Roof and Basement Areas – The roof and basement are common sources of humidity in the home. Even a minor roof leak can collect and hold moisture for long periods of time. Similarly, an improperly sealed basement or poorly fitted flooring are also major sources for moisture entering the home.
HVAC Maintenance – A dirty or blocked condenser coil will prevent your HVAC unit from removing water from the air. Keeping the unit clean and operating efficiently is a recognized method or reducing illness and promoting better health.
It is important to locate the source of moisture. Eliminating the cause of the excess moisture will allow you to keep the air drier and more comfortable. Until you remove the source of the problem, none of the following humidity solutions will be a permanent fix.
3 Natural Humidity Solutions
Indoor humidity is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and can often be corrected with home maintenance. If these solutions do not lower your indoor moisture, it may indicate that a more serious problem is involved that requires the assistance of a professional contractor.
Air Circulation – Well circulated air will dry out faster than having a stagnant air flow. Make sure that your ceiling fans are set to summer or winter rotation. Install and use bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans. Open windows to equalize the indoor and outdoor moisture levels.
Moisture Reduction – Moisture reduction can take many forms. Using throw rugs can create a barrier between a drafty basement or hard flooring, for example. Reducing the number of plants is another method that works well. Using the hood fan on your stove will also reduce the water vapor that is being released into your living space. Dehumidifiers are available for individual rooms or the whole home, and can be installed by a professional HVAC company.
Make Repairs – Roof repairs can be annoying, but getting them done will protect your home against moisture. Replace damaged shingles, apply sealant compounds and keep your gutters clear. Weatherstrip around doors, caulk windows and any openings that lead outside the home. Seal basement walls and around the joints of walls where they meet the flooring and ceiling.
Long Term Effects of Humidity
Correcting a water vapor problem will save a lot of money on repairs. Left untreated, excessive moisture in the air can lead to mold and mildew, which increase the occurrence of colds, allergies and other illnesses. Over long periods of time, it will also cause drywall to crumble and wood to rot. And since the source of excessive moisture may be related to leaks or holes in the exterior of the home, there is also an increased chance of getting termites, or being infested by roaches, mice or other pests.
Call an HVAC Technician
Professional HVAC companies are able to test for excessive moisture. In many cases, cleaning or adjusting the HVAC system can eliminate the moisture problem. In other situations, HVAC technicians can install dehumidifiers in the heating and cooling system to provide air quality control for the whole home in a non-invasive way. As an added benefit, reducing the amount of water vapor in the air can also reduce the workload on your HVAC system, which means lowering the basic cost of operation.
In North Florida, the Snyder Man has been helping homeowners keep their family safe and comfortable for more than 40 years. With 4 locations in the Greater Jacksonville area, Snyder Heating and Air Conditioning is one of the largest and widely recognized HVAC companies in the area, offering a complete range of services for both residential and commercial customers.