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5 Signs Your Home Has a Humidity Problem
1. Condensation on your windows
2. Wet spots on your walls or ceiling
3. Your house feels “stuffy”
4. You smell musty odors
5. You see mold
3 Issues Caused by Indoor Humidity
1. Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew thrive in humid environments. Mold buildup can lead to health problems, such as respiratory issues and worsening asthma symptoms.
2. Higher Energy Costs
When a home feels very humid, it can often lead to the homeowner cranking up the thermostat hoping to make the home cooler.
3. Increased Indoor Air Pollutants
Off-gassing is a process that releases chemicals into the air from building materials like wood, paint, etc. This process can be exasperated in a hot, humid climate.
Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.
We can add dehumidification systems to dry your basement, your whole home, or your place of business. Beyond keeping your contents dry and safe from moisture, a dehumidifier can help you achieve your ideal comfort level by reducing the relative humidity without turning the thermostat down, thus reducing air conditioner run time.
There are many ways to control moisture in your home:
• Fix leaks and seepage. If water is entering the house from the outside, your options range from simple landscaping to extensive excavation and waterproofing. (The ground should slope away from the house.)
• Water in the basement can result from the lack of gutters or a water flow toward the house. Water leaks in pipes or around tubs and sinks can provide a place for biological pollutants to grow.
• Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawlspaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. Be sure crawlspaces are well ventilated.
• Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic). Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
• Turn off certain appliances (such as humidifiers or kerosene heaters) if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
• Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners, especially in hot, humid climates, to reduce moisture in the air, but be sure that the appliances themselves don’t become sources of biological pollutants.
• Raise the temperature of cold surfaces where moisture condenses. Use insulation or storm windows. (A storm window installed on the inside works better than one installed on the outside.) Open doors between rooms (especially doors to closets which may be colder than the rooms) to increase circulation. Circulation carries heat to the cold surfaces. Increase air circulation by using fans and by moving furniture from wall corners to promote air and heat circulation. Be sure that your house has a source of fresh air and can expel excessive moisture from the home.
• Pay special attention to carpet on concrete floors. Carpet can absorb moisture and serve as a place for biological pollutants to grow. Use area rugs which can be taken up and washed often. In certain climates, if carpet is to be installed over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete, there are also many new flooring products that protect against moisture and mold growth.
• Moisture problems and their solutions differ from one climate to another. The Northeast is cold and wet; the Southwest is hot and dry; the South is hot and wet; and the Western Mountain states are cold and dry. All of these regions can have moisture problems. For example, evaporative coolers used in the Southwest can encourage the growth of biological pollutants. In other hot regions, the use of air conditioners which cool the air too quickly may prevent the air conditioners from running long enough to remove excess moisture from the air. The types of construction and weatherization for the different climates can lead to different problems and solutions.
*US Environmental Protection Agency