What causes humidity at home?
One of the most common factors that cause humidity problems at home are ventilation issues. Sometimes air isn’t circulating as it should in certain areas of your home, making humidity levels go up and allowing mould to grow.
Besides this issue, there are other factors that one wouldn’t imagine that could make your home more humid. Plants, for example, when kept inside and far from a window release moisture vapour into the air, causing it to impregnate in your walls or ceilings.
In this article, we’ll focus on the most common problems and how to move past them.
How to tell if you have humidity problems?
Before mould takes over your house and the smell of mildew haunts every step you take inside, there are things you can do to prevent the problem from getting bigger.
1. Get a humidistat or hygrometer
The most efficient way to know if your home is starting to get a little too humid is to get a humidistat. With this device built into an appliance, also called a hygrostat, you’ll be able to measure the levels of humidity in a room. You should monitor it constantly, especially during Spring season when there’s a lot of water runoff.
Make sure that humidity stays between 40 to 65% RH. If you see the humidity level going over 65% RH, you want to take some actions to prevent mould from growing.
Another useful device you can get to monitor humidity is a hygrometer.
This device measures the levels of moisture in the air and can help you determine whether to get a dehumidifier or not.
2. Look out for mould spots or water stain marks
Every once in a while, check spots of your house that aren’t as visible as others and that are prone to high humidity levels. Bathrooms and kitchens are the rooms with more moisture exposure in most homes so you should check them thoroughly.
Look around their corners, check their walls, ceilings, sink areas, shower and bath joints. Basically any parts where you think mould might be likely to grow.
This habit will prevent you from one day facing severe humidity problems, instead, whenever you see water stains or mould spots you can address the problem before it gets bigger.
3. Is there condensation on your windows and doors?
Whenever you notice condensation on your home glass windows or doors. water beading on them, or fog and vapour presence, it’s a sign that there’s an excess of moisture in your house.
If you ever see these signs, immediately look for the humidity source and address the problem to prevent mould from growing. At the same time, check your home for mold spots on the walls and ceilings that are near the glasses with condensation.
4. Musty smells
Musty odours present when there’s mould and mildew presence somewhere around your house. Even if you don’t see stains or obvious mould growth, these types of smell are a clear sign that you have mould and mildew hiding somewhere in your house, it can be behind wallpaper, under the carpets, behind your bathroom vanity, or inside ventilation ducts, for example.
Smelling mould can be pretty damaging to your health as it releases toxic gasses and spores that cause people to develop breathing problems in the long run. So, don’t try to cover the smell up, find its hiding spot, and get rid of it immediately.
How to solve humidity problems?
Now, if you already these problems, you need to solve them right away. Here are different things and tips that you can do to solve your problems and prevent high humidity levels in the future.
1. Get a dehumidifier
One of the best options to solve humidity problems is to get a dehumidifier. These devices work in a way that they remove moisture from the air in the room. A dehumidifier is not only beneficial for humidity, but it also serves as an air conditioner as it dries and cools the air that passes through it.
2. Fix water leaks
Fixing water leaks is key if you want to get rid of all your humidity problems. Start by fixing any leaking pipes or faucets that might be causing high humidity levels, even if that means breaking some walls or cutting through them to reach the pipes. It’s not uncommon to find leaking pipes in insulators of your garage.
Now that you’re repairing your walls, check for holes or cracks in them to fix them as well. Sealing those cracks will prevent humidity from entering your walls through the holes during summer or spring when the air is usually more humid.
3. Renovate your kitchen / bathroom
To reduce humidity levels and sometimes fix leaks for good, you might need to remodel your bathroom, kitchen or laundry room.
In the design phase, pick the right kind of pipe, think 10 years ahead and not a quick fix that will need to re-done in the near future – If given the option, avoid PVC or copper pipping and opt for the more expensive but stronger PEX pipping.
Discuss ventilation options with your bathroom remodeller and make sure it works well with the way you wish your bathroom vanity, shower and bath should sit as water and steam will emanate from these spots. If you cannot have a window or able to open it in your bathroom, explore air vents or fans options.
In terms of bathroom equipment, avoid furniture, like bathroom vanities and cabinets made of wood or with wooden elements, as it retains the moisture in the air and quickly starts rotting and attracting bugs and termites that would make your problems worse.
Finally, if you’re getting a new shower or bath, buy racks where you can tidy your soap and bathing items so that allow them to dry properly. Avoid leaving items on the floor or agains walls and joints.
If you use a shower curtain, favourite material that will dry quickly and leave it opened every time you’re not using the shower, this will allow the air to keep circulating and the moisture to fade.
Let’s not forget to ventilate your house on a regular basis
Once you’ve remodelled and fixed your humidity problems, don’t just stop there. When the weather permits it, allow the air to flow through your house and why not bring in a few indoor plans that feed on humid air like peace lilies, reed palms, or ferns?
I work for VBathroom, a bathroom furniture and accessories retailer operating in Perth. I help homebuyers and renovators every day with their bathroom renovation projects.