One of your biggest challenges as a homeowner is to control moisture and humidity for safe air quality. Humidity refers to the moisture level in the air and having too much or too little humidity can drastically affect the quality of life for you and the residents who live in the home. Seasonal changes can elevate humidity levels and homes with poor air circulation or improper venting can experience a buildup of excess moisture in certain areas of the structure. All this excess air moisture provides an excellent breeding ground for mold which creates health and safety problems inside your home. Not only does mold take ahold of surfaces and destroys them, it also reduces air quality inside your home which can lead to short and long term health and breathing issues. Monitoring your home’s humidity should be a daily task to prevent any mold from forming and reducing air quality.
Signs and symptoms in the home that mean you should should control moisture and humidity for safe air quality
Excess moisture and humidity in your home’s air can have direct effects on the condition of your home and the health and safety of those living inside. There are some telltale visual signs that your home may have an excess moisture and humidity problem:
- Staining and discoloration in corners of walls and ceiling tiles
- Water buildup on window sills from window condensation
- The appearance of black mold on surfaces
- Wood floors that buckle or curve in any degree
- Wrinkling and bubbling of painted surfaces and walls
- Degeneration and rotting of wood fixtures and frames around the home
If your humidity problem has led to the appearance of mold, you may experience changes in odors in various parts of your home. Moldy areas carry a stale or musty type smell and can reduce air quality by releasing airborne spores and bacteria. Keeping an nose out for moldy odors is necessary because the fungus can easily develop in even the most inaccessible and dark areas of your home and continue to grow while not easily detected by eye. Contact an experienced air quality professional if you suspect mold by by its odor or need input on how to control moisture and humidity for safe air quality.
Common areas inside your home that are prone to excess moisture and humidity
Residential homes are meant to have proper air circulation but many common designs create ‘dead zones’ that have little to no air circulation and are prime areas for excess moisture and humidity:
- Attics and crawl spaces that have poor or no venting can reach temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius and can be a literal hotspot for extreme excess humidity.
- Basements by design have minimal ventilation and can be damp most of the time creating a prime breeding ground for mold development.
- Hot water use in bathrooms creates steam and are highly prone to mold development if exhaust fans and ventilation systems are not used properly or are malfunctioning.
Other areas in the home utilize appliances that generate heat and humidity through their own operation and need to be monitored to control moisture and humidity for safe air quality:
- Washer and dryers in laundry rooms utilize hot water and generate hot air and can throw humidity levels out of balance if not vented properly.
- Kitchens generate large amount of heat and humidity in hidden areas through stoves and refrigerators with water dispensers.
- Furnace rooms that have central humidifiers and hot water tanks are highly prone to excess moisture and should be checked more frequently.
The most effective ways to control moisture and humidity for safe air quality inside your home
The first step to control moisture and humidity for safe air quality is to know exactly what the humidity levels are in your home. Digital hygrometers of today are highly accurate are a great tool that can constantly display the current humidity. Most are battery operated and relatively inexpensive and can be placed throughout the home. 45% is a nominal ratio for humidity and any changes from that number should be investigated. Other ways of managing humidity and moisture are:
- Maintain and clean vents along the home’s roof and outside walls to ensure proper ventilation
- Check insulation in attics and basements for proper functionality and airflow blockage
- Use an in room dehumidifier in basements and other areas prone to excess air moisture
- Inspect and repair any cracks and air leaks on the inside of exterior walls
- Ensure bathroom ventilation systems and fans are fully functional and chutes are clear of debris and dust
- Use a programmable thermostat to maintain a consistent temperature
- Install vapor barriers where possible and during renovations and new installations to prevent outside moisture from entering the space
A professional air quality specialist can investigate potential problems in detail and offer efficient and effective solutions for managing your home’s humidity and overall air quality.
Checking and managing inside humidity is a critical maintenance requirement for your home
Your home’s ability to ventilate and circulate air is important to control moisture and humidity for safe air quality. Excess buildup of moisture in your home’s air can lead to mold development and destroy your home’s air quality. The negative health effects of bad quality air will reduce the quality of life for you and the residents as well as possibly create more chronic and long term health problems. Checking humidity levels in your home with a home based hygrometer or centralized humidification system and inspecting venting systems and insulation are preventative ways to balance humidity and maintain a healthy and comfortable environment. Managing humidity also saves costs in your home’s upkeep by reducing repairs that are required when moisture and mold destroy fixtures and surfaces. Professional air quality testing and diagnosis is a necessary next step if any irregular odors or ‘moldy’ smells are detected anywhere in your home. Undetected and untreated mold can spread rapidly and should be diagnosed and the area restored immediately.