Five Facts Every Homeowner Should Know About Moisture

moisture

Your house may be a moisture magnet that compromises indoor comfort, deteriorates building materials and triggers toxic mold contamination.  In a typical home, plumbing leaks, water infiltration from the outdoors, and a naturally humid climate can be major moisture contributors.  Cooking, bathing and even breathing—every breath you exhale contains 100% relative humidity—also add water vapor to indoor air.

Here are five facts about causes, effects—and ways to control—indoor moisture.

  • No such thing as a “‘little” plumbing leak. Even tiny pinhole leaks or slight seepage are a red flag of internal deterioration that may escalate into a total pipe rupture, causing major indoor water damage. Hidden plumbing leaks also provide the water that feeds toxic mold growth which may contaminate the entire house. Have all leaks, large and small, diagnosed and repaired by a qualified plumber, ASAP.
  • Basement or crawl space moisture doesn’t stay down there. Water vapor migrates upward into living spaces. Seepage through the foundation or basement walls may contribute to chronic household dampness. Seal cracks in concrete walls and floor and install a sump pump.  Control moisture infiltration into a crawl space by installing plastic sheeting over the dirt floor, plus ensuring that the crawl space is adequately ventilated.
  • Dehumidify in a naturally damp climate. To keep household humidity healthy and maintain the EPA-recommended range between 30% and 50%, add a whole-house dehumidifier.  Installed in your home’s ductwork, the unit continuously extracts water vapor from airflow circulating throughout the entire house.
  • Ventilate steamy areas. Bathrooms and kitchen should have powered vent fans, timer-operated to continue running for at least 15 minutes after activation. Fans should exhaust moist air to the exterior of the house through a dedicated duct.
  • Maintain your HVAC system. The evaporator coil in a central air conditioner plays an important role in extracting moisture from indoor air. Annual professional maintenance should be scheduled to ensure optimum A/C function in summer. In winter, get a furnace check-up to ensure the unit is properly vented to the outdoors. In all seasons change the system air filter regularly to support maximum HVAC air circulation that mitigates indoor moisture.

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