Here in the New England climate, humidity and moisture are topics usually reserved for the summertime, when the humidity in the air is often referred to as “stuffy” or “oppressive”. And while those summer days with high outdoor humidity can be hard to endure, high humidity and moisture inside the home is more than just uncomfortable and unbearable, it can also be dangerous!
A healthy home is a dry home—here are the things you need to know about the potential causes of moisture in your house, how that moisture can pose a risk to your home and your health, and how to remove moisture from your home.
The Signs of High Indoor Humidity in Winter
Even if you can’t feel the moisture in your home, you can rely on your other senses to identify a moisture issue in your Vermont home. Have you noticed the following signs?
Is there condensation on the windows of your home? Condensation occurs when either the temperature of the air cools down to its “dew point,” where it cannot continue to hold moisture, or the moisture levels rise too high for the air to continue to hold the moisture. Consistent condensation on glass surfaces like windows and mirrors, or condensation buildup on the basement walls or drywall, can indicate a moisture problem in the home.
Moisture is one of the main ingredients when it comes to cooking up some old fashioned mold. Water, combined with a food source (the construction materials that your home is made of), and just the right temperature will lead to mold growth in the home. If you have noticed a visible increase in mold growth in your home, chances are there is much more mold hidden throughout the invisible areas of your home, too. Mold can cause serious health concerns, especially if you or your family members have been exposed to it over long periods of time.
Trust your nose! Have you smelled any strange odors in your home? Do you notice it most when you return after a long day outside? Moisture issues often result in musty, damp smells due to the increased mold growth and mildew.
How To Control Moisture In Your Home
The first solution many homeowners think of when it comes to ways to reduce moisture in a home is to get a dehumidifier. While dehumidifiers may offer some temporary relief from excess moisture, they do not address the cause of moisture infiltration. Locating the areas of your home that are allowing outside moisture in should always be step one, and here at EnergySmart of Vermont, we accomplish that with an energy audit.
Once your diagnostic energy audit is complete, you will receive a report on your home’s performance, including where the moisture is infiltrating your living space and the steps you can take to resolve the problem. Here are some of the most common fixes for reducing moisture in a house here in Vermont:
Install a Moisture Barrier
The crawl space or basement is a trap for groundwater and improper drainage. We install a plastic membrane to encapsulate the basement and prevent moisture from building up.
Insulation will help to stabilize the temperature in your home and reduce the condensation that forms throughout your whole home. Insulation is especially important in the attic and in the basement or crawl space.
You may primarily use them as a way to keep the mirror from fogging up after a nice hot shower, but a bathroom fan that vents humid air out of your home will also help reduce moisture accumulation throughout the rest of your living space. If your bathroom fans have deteriorated over time, are no longer working, or if they only vent that humid air into the attic, the time to address the issue is now!
For some homes that are particularly prone to moisture (and its harmful effects), whole-home ventilation may be required to resolve the issue. Whole-home ventilation systems ensure the air in your home is regularly recirculated, while filtering out harmful particles, and in some cases, pre-conditioning the air so that your heating and cooling system won’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.
Keep Your Home Dry This Winter With EnergySmart of Vermont
Winter, spring, summer, and fall, the same rule applies to keeping your home healthy: A dry home will be a healthy home. And upgrading your home to reduce moisture will come with many other benefits as well, including:
Reduced heating and cooling costs
A more comfortable home
Stable temperatures from room to room
Healthier indoor air quality