How to Naturally Reduce Humidity in Your Home
The Pacific Northwest is rainy. It’s no secret. With the drizzle comes humidity, even during the cooler winter months. When relative humidity levels reach 50 percent or higher, your home is at risk for pest infestations, corrosion, rot, water stains and harmful mold growth that reduces indoor air quality. Complementing your HVAC system with simple humidity control techniques will help prevent the harmful, costly effects of excess moisture while increasing comfort levels.
Think your HVAC system needs a tune up? Learn more about when to schedule, the benefits, and more from our experts.
Tips for Portland Homeowners: Humidity Control 101
Remedy leaks and drainage problems immediately.
As soon as you notice a leak on your property, fix it. Excess water not only invites pests, it also increases relative humidity levels. Inspect your property after it rains to see where the water flows. The landscaping and hardscaping should divert water away from your home.
Carpets feel plush underfoot, give homes added warmth, and are great at trapping water. Replace carpeting with flooring and mats in areas of the home that are at high risk of becoming damp, such as entryways, bathrooms, the laundry room, kitchen and garage.
Everyday tasks like bathing, blow-drying your hair and cooking add moisture to your home. It’s not enough to take shorter showers or turn up the heat. When water evaporates in response to higher temperatures, it’s in a vapor state instead of a liquid state. This means that it’s still hanging around your house even if you can’t see it. When the vapor contacts a cool surface, condensation forms.
To get rid of moisture in the air, you must have proper air movement, or ventilation, in your home. Use the exhaust fan in your bathroom as you bathe and for at least 30 minute after you finish. If the bathroom has a window, crack it open if the weather permits. If you see fog on the bathroom mirror or if the walls are wet from condensation, the moisture in the bathroom is still present. Another way to help increase air flow in a bathroom throughout the day is to leave the door open when the room isn’t occupied.
When you cook, use the stove’s exhaust fan to divert moist air outside.
If you notice the windows in your home fogging up when you do laundry, consider installing an exhaust fan near the appliances. When the weather is nice, line-dry clothes and linens outside. If you notice a lot of dust around the washer and dryer, inspect the dryer’s vent hose to ensure it is attached well. The hose should vent outside the home instead of between the walls or into the attic.
Replace the HVAC air filter.
When dust, pollen, dirt and other contaminants clog up HVAC air filters, it hinders the equipment’s airflow, making it more difficult to condition the air well. Replacing the filter every month reduces wear and tear on the system, keeps the humidity control functions in good working condition, and helps improve the air quality in your home.
Gather your plants.
Plants are brilliant at scrubbing the air in your home. Water-loving plants, however, may increase relative humidity levels. If you have a passion for plants that need water daily, place them in one room instead of throughout your home. When the weather is nice, move them outside. Alternatively, opt for plants that don’t require a lot of water, such as orchids, air plants and succulents.
Use desiccant products.
Some areas of a home—such as closets, cabinets and basements—are more humid than others because of restricted airflow. When leaving the doors open and using a fan isn’t practical, use desiccant products, like desiccant bags, canisters, or even electronic desiccant dehumidifiers instead.
Desiccant products use hygroscopic substances like calcium chloride, silica gel or activated charcoal that attract and hold water molecules. Some products dissolve in the water they absorb, leaving the desiccant material above and a watery solution below. Others turn color when saturated. Electronic desiccant dehumidifiers often contain a desiccant material and fan. The device draws moisture from the air and deposits the water into a canister that you empty periodically.
Keep firewood covered and outside.
If you have a fireplace, it might seem tempting to keep extra wood inside your home or garage so it’s readily available. Wood that’s been outside absorbs the moisture in the air, even when it’s covered. When you bring firewood inside, the moisture in it will evaporate as the lumber attempts to reach a state of equilibrium with the environment. Instead of brining a big stack of firewood into your home, which might accidentally bring in pests, only bring in what you’ll immediately need.
Read more tips about how to reduce excess moisture in your home and learn why it’s important for the health of your home and loved ones.
Humidity control is a vital component of home maintenance. If your efforts don’t seem to be enough, call AAA Heating and Cooling to schedule a free consultation to learn how our dehumidification options help improve air quality and protect your investment.