Controlling Excess Moisture

Keeping moisture out of a home reduces the chance for structural deterioration, mold growth, and air quality problems. Bolster your home’s moisture resistance with these tips.

Identify Red Flags

Identifying and remediating issues quickly will naturally minimize damage to your home. Common signs of unwanted moisture include:

  • Excessive, continuous condensation around windows
  • Musty smells
  • Standing water, especially under the home and around the foundation
  • Surface discoloration and stains
  • Mold
  • A higher-than-usual water bill from unseen plumbing leaks
  • Decaying wood and other materials throughout your home
  • Flooding events, such as bursting pipes or excessive rain, that release large volumes of water into or outside your home

Regular Inspections

Make regular home moisture inspections a priority. It’s important to inspect more around walls, on the roof, under sinks, near water lines, and so forth. Many problems  could be hidden leaks, and by the time they’re noticed, extensive water damage and mold growth may occur.  Smart home systems are an option for any home owner as they offer automatic water detection features.

Control Humidity

Your home’s relative humidity should be roughly 30-50%, which can be checked by purchasing an inexpensive hygrometer.  Some tips to combat humidity: Run a professional grade dehumidifier, decorate with moisture-absorbing houseplants and set your air conditioner’s fan to automatic.

Correct Sized Air Conditioner

All too often, people invest in oversized units which results in the system not running for too long and then moisture build up becomes an issue. Having an undersized unit could also pose a problem as it never gets the home to the correct temperature.  A correct sized air conditioning unit will not only cool the home, but keep the level of humidity in check, and thus eliminating moisture build up especially on pipes and windows.

Monitor Drainage

Your gutters and downspouts should drain away from your house, as water should never linger near your home’s foundation. Checking your gutters every two weeks for leaves, acorns and pine needles, etc., can eliminate puddling around the foundation and water damage in basements.

Vent

Proper circulation prevents warm, moist air from condensing on cooler surfaces through evaporation. Here’s some ventilation practices:

  • Ventilate your attic.
  • Install a crawl space dehumidifier
  • Vent all interior exhaust fans to the outside
  • Run bathroom ventilation fans while showering and for 5 to 10 minutes after showering
  • Install louvered doors or louvered devices installed into walls to provide air circulation for small rooms and closets
  • Use ceiling fans
  • Open doors and windows when possible

Beef Up Barriers

Boosting your wall and attic insulation based on your climate zone. Having too much insulation can cause excess moisture leading to major mold problems, while having too little can allow dramatic temperature changes leading to moisture build ups on walls and ceilings. Having a energy audit done in your home can help you decide whether more or less insulation is needed.

About the author: Joe Fiorilli