An indoor humidity problem manifests some pretty obvious signs. The home smells dank and musty, while a clammy, uncomfortable feeling pervades the air. Condensation drips down windows, and puddles may be obvious in cabinets, on floors or around the HVAC system. Water stains appear on the walls and the ceiling.
Combating excessively humid conditions can seem overwhelming, but there are several things you can do to keep moisture at bay and balance humidity in your home.
Why It’s So Humid
Excess humidity can be caused by a number of things:
- Leaking pipes, roof, or basement
- Obstructed HVAC condensate drain
- Gaps and holes in ductwork
- Infiltration through cracks around windows, doors, and other exterior openings
- Lack of proper ventilation in bathrooms and kitchen
Too much moisture will cause mold and mildew to flourish. Mold is not only unpleasant to smell, but it also damages walls and wood and aggravates respiratory problems. Cleaning up mold once it colonizes your walls, ceiling, or HVAC system can be tough and expensive.
High humidity also causes condensation on windows in winter, which can lead to wood rot on window sills.
To combat humidity, fix plumbing, structural, and ductwork leaks. Remove obstructions in the condensate drain and flush it with bleach once a year. Caulk around windows and use strips of insulation around door frames to keep humidity out. Check exterior openings around pipes, cables, and wires and seal them against infiltration. Install exhaust ventilation to the outdoors in bathrooms and the kitchen.
Have your air conditioner inspected to ensure it’s properly dehumidifying your air. Switch to a better quality pleated filter, rated 8 to 12 on the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) scale, and change it often.
If the humidity in your home is still in excess of 55 percent (acquire a hygrometer to test it), think about a dehumidifier. Whole house models installed in an HVAC system get the best results. Portables are sometimes also effective in one room at a time.
For more on spotting an indoor humidity problem, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve served Grand Traverse County and the surrounding area since 1980.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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