6 Tips For Controlling Humidity In Your Home
Moisture concerns occur when large quantities of moisture enter the housing cavities or get inside or when indoor air comes into touch with cold surfaces like single-pane windows or uninsulated walls. Excess moisture can be caused by foundation drainage problems or inhabitants inside the structure. Cold surfaces originate from air leakage or insufficient insulation in building cavities or rooms that receive less heat in the cold.
Extreme indoor moisture levels pose threats to human health and home quality, that’s why maintaining optimum humidity levels at home should be considered a must. According to EPA, the ideal relative humidity (RH) for health and comfort is between 30% and 50%. This means that the air contains between 30% and 50% of its maximum moisture capacity.
Insufficient or excessive indoor humidity might have serious implications and consequences. Home humidity control systems can keep your home's humidity levels in a comfortable range.
Here are several solutions for homeowners to control indoor humidity:
1. Use A Purifier
An air purifier helps to maintain clean air by removing pollutants from indoor air. Dust, bacteria, allergens, mold spores, pet dander, smoke odors, and other hazardous particles are trapped and removed. When your air purifier runs, it draws air from your home and filters it.
A high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA filter may collect particles as small as 0.3 microns. This HEPA filter removes 99.97% of airborne pollutants that irritate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
As for the material used to construct HEPA filters, it’s composed of plastic and fiberglass threads that enable air to pass while catching particles larger than the apertures inside the material.
Portable air purifiers and whole-house air filtering devices are both available. The most popular units are portable since they’re affordable and can be used anywhere in the house without being permanently attached to a fixed structure.
Can a humidifier and an air purifier be used at the same time? Yes. Each device has a distinct function. A purifier removes contaminants from the air while a humidifier adds moisture to the air for added comfort, making it more comfortable to live and breathe.
2. Use Humidifier If Humidity Levels Are Low
Humidity drops in the winter because cold air stores a smaller amount of moisture. Forced air heating homes have a worse problem since furnaces employ combustion, therefore destroying the vapor present.
Reduced humidity leads to dry hair and skin, greater susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, and can encourage virus growth. Low humidity can damage wood flooring, furniture, millwork, paint, and electronics. A humidifier in your house will solve these issues.
While most humidifiers perform the same primary purpose of adding moisture, they come in various qualities. Some are as follows:
- Central humidifiers. These machines are connected to the home or office's central air conditioning system to add moisture to the entire space.
- Steam vaporizers. The device warms the water and turns it into steam inside a reservoir. The steam is subsequently circulated in your home using the existing ductwork, furnace, or blower to increase humidity.
- Evaporative humidifiers. These have been around for a long time and are the most popular. This humidifier uses a fan to speed up water evaporation and enhance room humidity. The humidifier's built-in fan takes in air and blows it through a moist wick filter.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers. Rather than using electricity, these machines evaporate water by vibrations.
Humidifier sizes vary. While console humidifiers are large enough to supply moisture to a whole home or office, personal humidifiers are small and portable.
Further, humidifiers aren’t advisable to be used in properties without adequate vapor barriers due to the risk of moisture buildup that may cause damage. Seek advice from a building contractor to assess the adequacy of your home's vapor barrier. You can measure the relative humidity in your home using a humidity indicator.
What If The Humidity Levels Are Excessively High?
Excessive humidity in the home, especially in certain rooms, may cause problems. When warm air inside meets cold dry air outside in the winter, the temperature lowers and the air loses its ability to contain water vapor, resulting in condensation.
Excess vapor from the air can move through ceilings and walls, creating moist insulation, mold on surfaces, decay in woodwork, and peeling paint. You can reduce humidity in the house by:
- Turn down or turn off your humidifier.
- Using an energy recovery ventilator in packed houses.
- Bathing and cooking using exhaust fans or open windows for fresher air.
- Reducing water use by utilizing covered pots, taking shorter showers, having clothes dryers outside, and minimizing your indoor plants.
3. Run A Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are used to get rid of extra moisture in the air. This device prevents mold and dust growth. They’re especially beneficial in areas of the house where humidity accumulates such as damp basements.
Dehumidifiers are essential in humid climates with elderly or young children, or in families with allergies or asthma. The first two years of a child's life are spent on the floor or rug. Dust mites thrive in high humidity, so your 10-year-old carpet probably contains a swarm of them. And the more you’re exposed to something, the more likely you are to develop allergies to it.
You don't need to keep the dehumidifier running all day long. Using a dehumidifier depends on your residence, climate, and other factors. Run a dehumidifier for at least 12 hours every day for maximum efficiency, thus removing moisture from the air without wasting electricity.
4. Keep Your Exterior Closets Warm
A closet with walls facing the exterior might create high relative humidity (RH). This can cause mold growth on the walls and the cold closet floor. Keep personal items off the floor and away from cool walls while storing them in a closet.
Installing carpet or rugs on the closet floor isn’t recommended as carpet traps biodegradable dust. If there is any old carpet you could remove it and replace it with LVP flooring, wood flooring, or tiles. Dust the baseboard trim and the floor off.
A heater designed for this purpose can help warm the air and manage the RH in an outside closet (or just the light). You can also leave the door open to let more warm air in. You can also choose a louvered closet door.
5. Check What You Can Do Outside To Help Control Indoor Humidity
Your house exterior significantly affects humidity levels in your house. That said, here are some brief suggestions for things you may do outside to help control your home's humidity levels:
- Keep gutters clean. Humidity is sometimes an indication of a leak, and the gutters are often to blame. When your gutters are blocked with leaves and debris, water can’t flow properly. It accumulates up and starts running into unwanted places. Cleaning your gutters might help avoid roof leaks. Gutter cleaning is recommended twice a year, between late spring and late summer. If your gutters fill up faster than that, clean them more frequently.
- Professionals can treat your home's foundation using Hydro clay, a temporary barrier that absorbs and blocks water. Basements often utilize it to stop leaks.
- Make sure that drainage ditches, gutters, and easements slope away from your residence. This will prevent water from draining into your home's or basement's foundation. Additionally, it helps in avoiding floods when there’s an accumulation of excess water.
- Keep an eye out for loose shingles, cracks, and deteriorating flashings. Also, keep an eye on any vents leading outside like your dryer vent. They may need to be replaced or repaired over time.
- If your home has a moisture problem, it may be due to a cold surface rather than excessive humidity. Installing storm windows or replacing single-pane windows with double-pane high-performance windows will reduce condensation. Mold and mildew on a wall or ceiling can be caused by inadequate insulation or air leaks that chill the surface. Seal air leaks and insulate.
6. Consider Installing A Whole-house Ventilation System
In homes, three different types of ventilation exist. Building cavity ventilation controls moisture in crawl areas and attics; spot ventilation removes moisture and other indoor pollutants where they’re produced; whole-house ventilation ensures occupants get enough fresh air.
If issues persist despite your efforts to resolve them, you may consider installing a whole-house ventilation system that provides a constant supply of fresh air to combat excessive dampness. In high-occupancy structures like apartments, whole-house ventilation may be the best option.
A whole-house ventilation system includes a quiet central exhaust fan with fresh air inlets and a mechanism to run the fan for at least 8 hours each day. The whole-house fan, which can also be used as a spot ventilator, must circulate enough air and be quiet enough so that residents don't turn it off. Air inlets are offered in many modern windows either through the wall. You must ensure airflow between rooms by undercutting inner doors, adding transform grilles, or another means that allow air to move between rooms.
You should maintain a healthy indoor humidity level. Besides being uncomfortable, excessive humidity might signal a more significant issue like a leak or structural damage. Use these tips to keep your home dry and comfy year-round. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you plan and prepare.