If you live in a particularly humid climate, excessive moisture in your home could lead to all sorts of problems. For one thing, moisture can damage your home, providing a breeding ground for mold and mildew, as well as causing wood to swell, warp, and rot, just for example. Of course, the first issues you’re likely to notice are cosmetic, including blistered or peeling paint and condensation on surfaces. But the cost and hassle associated with such issues pale in comparison to what you’ll face if you end up with mold or rot issues. As a result, you’re likely keen to keep an eye on the moisture level in your home so that you can track changes and make any repairs or upgrades needed to curb high levels of humidity before they damage your home. So here are some tips on how to measure humidity and control moisture levels in your home in order to avoid costly repairs and improve indoor air quality.
Measuring humidity is easy when you have the right tools, and this means a hygrometer. You can purchase either a mechanical or an electric model at most hardware stores (or online), and so long as it’s properly calibrated, you should have no trouble measuring the moisture levels in your home. The only real differences between the mechanical and electric options are price and potentially the reliability of readings, but either one should function more or less like you need it to, so don’t feel like you have to spend crazy amounts of cash on this piece of equipment. From there you simply need to know what the humidity in your home should be, and although it may vary depending on the temperature outdoors, your climate, and so on, you generally don’t want it to be lower than about 25% or higher than about 40%. This should ensure a comfortable interior without any damaging side effects.
So if you find that there is a problem with excess moisture in your home, what are you supposed to do about it? There are several potential solutions. The first step is to determine whether the humidity is high only in certain rooms in the home that feature more moisture (like bathrooms or the kitchen, for example), or if it is a whole-home problem. If it’s just in one or two rooms, the easiest solution is to make sure that you have proper ventilation installed. This should help to remove the steam you generate through daily activities in order to reduce humidity levels. If problems persist you may want to consider increasing insulation in walls and windows.
However, you may have a larger issue on your hands, in which case a home energy audit could help. If your entire home suffers from excess moisture, it’s likely that you have problems with airtightness, ventilation, or both. A home energy audit will tell you where leaks are occurring so that you can seal them up, and from there you need to install proper ventilation to ensure that any moisture created in your home isn’t trapped. In addition, you might want to think about using dehumidifiers, either in specific locations throughout your home or via a whole-home unit hooked up to your HVAC. As you learn about moisture in the home you may discover interesting products like heat recovery ventilators, for example, although you’ll have to do further research to discover the benefits of reverse osmosis systems or gray water systems, just for example. But it’s best to deal with one home upgrade at a time, and reducing humidity should be at the top of your list.