Why you should lower your home’s humidity this summer (and how)
Dealing with excessive humidity and moisture levels in your home is not comfortable or fun, especially when outside temperatures are soaring. While feeling warm and sticky inside your home is uncomfortable, there is more to it than just feeling gross.
Higher humidity and moisture levels can be an extreme threat to your property and to your health. Excessive moisture can damage wood, paint, insulation, and siding. It’s also highly susceptible to allergens and pollutants like dust mites, mold, and mildew. All of which can cause problems for your lungs—more so if you already suffer from allergies, asthma, and existing pulmonary ailments.
If you have an air conditioning unit, it will work diligently to reduce humidity levels to where they should be—ideally hovering between 30 and 50 percent. Sometimes, there are other factors at play. To keep your family safe and comfortable this summer, watch for excessive humidity and moisture in your home. You should also follow the tips below to help fight indoor humidity and moisture build-up.
How to tell if you have excessive humidity and moisture in your home
Of course, you can’t walk around with a humidity or dew meter all the time. Luckily (okay, not really, but helpful) there are a couple of things to watch for like clammy skin, foggy windows, and a heavy, warm atmosphere. You can also smell mildew and musty odours when there is excessive moisture buildup.
There are several ways to check for high levels of humidity in your home. While some of these signs, alone, may not indicate a problem, it’s a good idea to have your home checked by a professional if you’ve experienced multiple issues.
Here’s what to look for:
- Visible condensation on cooler surfaces like windows, mirrors, pipes, and in your basement. If you do find it, feel and check the surrounding area to make sure the moisture isn’t spreading to walls and nearby surfaces.
- Wet stains or crumbly stucco on the ceiling. You can often see moisture as discolouration.
- Peeling wall paint or excessively creaking floorboards.
- Any surfaces—including walls, floors, and shelves—that feel soft or moist.
- The smell of mold and mildew. This can sometimes be a smoky scent. If you’ve been inside your home for a long time, leave for a bit to clear your nose and return. You should be able to detect odours once you’ve had some fresh air.
- If you or your family members experience severe headaches, loss or shortness of breath, common allergy symptoms like wheezing, or a chronic cough. If so, the humidity levels may be affecting your bodies.
Easy ways to lower the humidity in your home
Buying a dehumidifier can save money on air conditioning costs. By dehumidifying the air, the conditions of your home feel cooler so you can increase the temperature of you’re A/C unit and save a little money.
You choose whether you’d like to dehumidify just one room or the whole house to see what works best for your situation. Portable dehumidifiers are available in stores and come in many different sizes and costs.
Proper ventilation helps to reduce humidity. Hot and long showers produce a great amount of steam that leads to humidity. Use the ventilation fan—or open a window—when showering. Decreasing shower times and water temperature will also help.
When cooking in the kitchen, turn on the overhead fan. The steam from boiling water increases humidity levels.
Fans increase circulation that can reduce humidity and condensation in your home. Add standing or portable fans in the most humid areas of your home like the bathroom, kitchen, and attic.
Load up on laundry
Your washer and dryer produce a large amount of humidity. To reduce humidity, make sure to load the washer and dryer only when you have a full load.
Another option is to dry your clothes outside. This will also save money on monthly bills and give you your that fresh outdoor laundry smell!
It’s also a good idea to make sure that your dryer vents vent outside. If your dryer vents indoors, then you are just adding steam and condensation into the air.
Thin out indoor plants
While plants open their pores to take in carbon dioxide, they also release moisture into the air. If you have an abundance of greenery inside your home, you may want to consider moving some plants outside.
Over-watering plants can also contribute to moisture to the air. Only water plants and flowers when necessary. The same goes for your outdoor plants. Overwatering creates puddles near your foundation and increases humidity.
Check your air conditioner
Although it may be a difficult task, increasing the temperature on you’re A/C unit can help reduce the humidity inside your home. An alternative to blasting frosty temperatures is to raise the temperature, and turn on the. As the indoor temperature increases, the humidity decreases.
It’s a good idea to check you’re A/C drain lines and drip pans. They are often an overlooked source of humidity and should be kept clear of water build up.
Multiple areas of your home can cause moisture, like windows, pipes, basement, and attics. Combine those moisture entryways with steam from showering and cooking, and you could be looking at a great deal of excess moisture in your home.
Insulating these areas will help decrease the humidity levels, as well as lower your heating and cooling bill throughout the seasons. There are a number of insulating materials that can be used to make quick and easy fixes, such as plastic wrap for windows and caulk to fill in cracks in your walls. Other remedies include making sure that your walls are waterproof and your home is adequately insulated throughout.
Keep all surfaces dry
The easiest way to reduce humidity in your home is to keep all surfaces dry. After washing dishes, make sure to dry your sink and counter. The same goes after brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
When left alone, the seemingly harmless water puddles will lead to mold (that gross brownish black colour boldly showing itself between tiles and in shower corners). Have a dish rag or worn-out towel at the ready to dry areas where water pools and is usually left to dry on its own.
If you’ve tried any, many, or all of these preventative measures with minimal results, it’s time to have your house checked by a professional.
If you suspect that your air conditioning unit isn’t working as it should—and could be part of the problem—give us call at 250-465-2490 to come check it over.
You can also join our comfort club to make sure that your cooling and heating system is ready to work hard for you when any season hits.