Controlling moisture levels in your home
Managing moisture in and around your home is one of the most important things you can do to ensure its longevity, make it comfortable to live in and prevent damage to its contents.
The National Association of Home Builders’ My Home Press published a handbook for homeowners, Home Maintenance Made Easy. The excerpt below contains helpful advice on how to control your home’s moisture.
High-Performance Home Benefits
New high-performance homes incorporate the latest building science principles to control temperature and humidity, maintain indoor air quality and increase energy efficiency. Although your home may not include all of the latest air-sealing, ventilation and moisture management technology, you will be more comfortable in your home and it will last longer if you do everything possible to manage moisture. This includes replacing filters, controlling humidity and — when outside air is cool and dry — allowing fresh air into your home.
Keeping indoor humidity in the recommended range of 30 to 60 percent and introducing fresh air into the home can improve indoor environmental quality. When relative humidity is too low, your eyes and skin get dry, asthma and allergies flare up and wood furniture and floors shrink and crack. Excess humidity can breed mold, pests and rot. Air that’s too humid is more likely to cause heatstroke, heat exhaustion, headaches and dehydration.
Areas that generate excessive moisture — kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room — may have exhaust fans. Use these fans to eliminate excess moisture and odors. Clean them at least every five years for those that don’t need lubrication, and every year for those that do. Check for dust and lint buildup around the dampers, blades and in-take grill.
Even in climate-controlled homes, mildew (another name for mold) can appear in areas of high humidity, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. You can take positive steps to reduce or eliminate mold growth by lowering humidity.
Vent clothes dryers to the outdoors. Ventilate rooms, particularly kitchens and bathrooms, by opening the windows, using exhaust fans or running the air conditioner or a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture in the air.
Promptly clean up spills, condensation and other sources of moisture. Thoroughly dry any wet surfaces or material. Do not let piles of wet towels or clothing sit in the home.
Regular vacuuming and cleaning will also help reduce spore levels. If you notice mold or mildew developing, depending on the surface, you can scrub the affected area with a commercial mixture of trisodium phosphate or a commercial cleaner like Jomax.
For more home maintenance advice, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to myhomepress.com for publications on current topics including social media, home design and more.
Karen Nakamura is CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.