Master the moisture in your home

| by Patrick Nielsen
Master the moisture in your home

What do a boiling pot of pasta, firewood, houseplants, and a hot shower all have in common? They all add moisture to your home’s interior. And, while some humidity in the home is good, excessive moisture can be uncomfortable.

One sign your home has too much moisture is if your windows are "sweating" or have condensation on the inside of the window. The condensation means your windows are doing their job, keeping the moisture inside the house. The problem is, there's too much moisture in the air.  While condensation may collect on the interior or exterior of energy-efficient windows, the units are really doing their job by helping serve as a barrier in the home.

If your windows show condensation from excessive moisture, you can be reasonably sure that the moisture is also collecting on your walls and ceilings, too. This means you should take steps to reduce the humidity level in your home by using exhaust fans and dehumidifiers.

You'd be surprised how much water vapor homeowners create themselves on a daily basis. A family of four can add a half pint of water vapor every hour to the home just through normal breathing and perspiration. And, if you take a five-minute shower, you produce another half pint of water vapor. Even the simple act of cooking dinner on a gas stove can produce two and a half pints of water vapor.

Invisible water vapor is everywhere in the home. The key is for homeowners to monitor the levels of moisture in their homes and then take steps to manage the humidity levels.
To help control the amount of condensation in your home, follow these tips:

  • Use kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
  • If you have a humidifier, set it to the correct outside temperature.
  • If your home is overly humid, or if you have a damp basement, use a dehumidifier.
  • Properly vent clothes dryers, gas appliances and stoves.
  • Open a window in the bathroom.
  • Make sure your attic, basement and crawl spaces are well ventilated and free from obstructions.
  • Store firewood outside. Freshly cut wood can consist of up to 45 percent water, which adds water vapor to the home. Even well seasoned firewood generally has a 20 to 25 percent moisture content.
  • Open curtains and blinds to allow more air circulation around your windows.

Find more home ventilation information here.

Topics: Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation

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