Moist Home? Your Health May Be At Risk…

Excessive moisture can turn your home into an unhealthy—not to mention uncomfortable—living environment. Chronic indoor dampness may simply result from high levels of water vapor in the air or from persistent sources of moisture that aren’t properly identified and resolved. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that indoor humidity should ideally stay below 50% most of the time and never exceed 60%.  When indoor dampness frequently rises above that level, the risk of certain health issues likewise increases.  

Some of the health-related consequences of a damp house include

  • Mold and mildew. Fungus including toxic mold and mildew require moist conditions to activate and spread. Airborne spores released by growing mold fed by high indoor moisture levels may trigger allergies and even serious illness when inhaled by occupants.  
  • Dust mites. Tiny dust mites thrive in moist indoor environments where humidity reaches 60%. Easily stirred up into the air by human activity, these insects are a frequent cause of nagging allergic responses.
  • Pests and vermin. Many unwanted and unhealthy creatures are attracted to chronically damp conditions inside a house including disease-carrying rodents, mosquitoes and parasitic worms.  

To get a handle on dampness, consider these frequent contributors to unwanted indoor moisture:

  • In locales where outdoor relative humidity frequently exceeds 50%, excess humidity may infiltrate the house through structural cracks and gaps.
  • Rooms that produce high water vapor such as the kitchen and bathroom require exhaust fans to remove damp air.
  • A professional roof inspection of the exterior of the roof as well as inside the attic can identify hidden leaks that cause chronic moisture.
  • Ongoing leaks in plumbing lines routed through areas such as the crawl space or basement can create a continuous source of dampness.  
  • In locales with a high natural water table, rising groundwater can keep the crawl space chronically wet or push water into the basement through foundation cracks.
  • Air conditioner issues such as short-cycling, low airflow or insufficient refrigerant charge may inhibit proper extraction of water vapor from the air.

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