8 Great Tips For Humidity Control
An improved smell in your home is just one of the many benefits that can come from controlling the home’s humidity because odors largely come from mildew and mold; thorough dehumidifying can help resolve this. Dust mites also thrive when mildew is in town, and this can exacerbate allergies and asthma. The wooden structures of your home can even be subject to rot, all because of humidity. All in all, humidity is something you should definitely get on top of. Here are some steps to help you do so.
Steps to take
First thing first; ensure that your dryer duct vents lead all the way outside, and are not blocked or exiting inside, for whatever reason. This could be a fire hazard and is also one of the many reasons for high humidity levels. If you have any space beneath a verandah or porch, make sure you cover any underlying soil with some sort of water-resistant, polyethylene cover. This is another cause for damp or humidity rising within your main dwelling areas above.
Kitchens and bathrooms all have exhaust or ‘extractor’ fans which expel noxious fumes and excess humidity. These fans should be well maintained and used each and every time you take a shower or do some home cooking. If not, humidity could start to climb above 55% and that’s when bacteria and mold start to party!
Humidifiers can work well in dry, summer months, especially to alleviate dry skin, lips, throat, nose, or blocked sinuses. However, for most of the year dehumidifiers are more useful, especially if your indoor humidity is more than 65%. They can be useful for drying washed clothes in your laundry room, for drying out damp basements, and for preventing mold from forming in corners of rooms, on wainscot, even on curtains.
Certain plants have dehumidifying properties. Boston ferns, for example, have the dual benefit of sucking up the air’s moisture, thus lowering humidity and replacing carbon dioxide with oxygen. It’s a win-win plant! Orchids, Cacti, Palms, English Ivy are other plants that have similar properties.
Laundry contains a lot of moisture, and in winter months when clothes may have to be dried indoors, you must use a dryer or dehumidifier to get rid of this moisture as soon as possible. To leave clothes in a spare room to dry naturally is to increase the sum total of humidity within your home. Ventilation is also crucial; you must check that all dryer duct vents are unobstructed. If you don’t have a dehumidifier or dryer and it is winter, then consider hanging little bags of chalk around your damp clothes. This is an ‘old school’ method that works well. Anything’s better than just letting your clothes passively increase your home’s net humidity.
Air conditioners are useful for combating levels of humidity; they essentially bring in outside air and purge away its moisture – exactly what your humid home needs. Portable air conditioners are useful in that you can install them easily; all you need is a small vent through which the heat removed from your room can be replaced with dehumidified air brought in from outside. They are much less cumbersome than window units, which protrude out of the window. However, window ACs rest entirely outside of your living space which can be desirable for those who want to reduce indoor clutter to an absolute minimum or are pushed for space (in a studio apartment, perhaps). It is more energy-efficient, which means greater cooling power per BTU (the bigger this number the bigger the room that can be cooled). Whichever one you go for the principle benefits re humidity are essentially the same.
There’s nothing better than a long, hot shower; however, the steam which results can seriously increase the amount of total humidity your home is accumulating. Having slightly shorter, less piping hot showers can help. Using devices such as ‘low flow’ showerheads may also help to reduce the overall level of humidity in your home. You can also consider wiping your mirror, sink, and shower panels to further reduce the amount of water that is evaporating and contributing to humidity. Any wet towels or clothes should be instantly taken out of the bathroom – place in a laundry tub or put in the airing cupboard, if you have one.
Carpets have the capacity to actually hold on to the moisture, which means they are passively intensifying the humidity in your home. The radical option is to get rid of carpets from your home altogether, replacing them with a hard floor laminate or real wood. If that doesn’t appeal to you then try steam cleaning your carpets with carpet cleaners; this takes away the toxins and rids you of the dead mold spores which feed on humidity and ultimately damage respiratory health. Baking soda is another ‘old school’ tip; sprinkle some, leave it for 30 minutes, then vacuum. Voila! – fresher, dryer carpets = less overall humidity.
- Humidity – North Carolina Climate Office
- How to Avoid and Correct Home Moisture Problems – Oregon State University
- Do You Have Too Much Moisture in Your Home? – University of Minnesota Extension
- 9 Tips for Controlling Moisture Levels in Your Home – Building Performance Institute, Inc.