Home Energy Guide: Top Tips To Reduce Home Moisture
Home moisture problems can be extremely complex to solve, especially in Minnesota. With cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers, everyone has experienced moisture problems in their home at some time.
We want you to have the best home possible. That’s why we’ve put together a home energy guide with some tips on how to reduce moisture, saving you time, energy and money. The solutions below are often some combination of reducing the moisture coming into your home, increasing the ventilation, and improving the thermal performance of the building materials.
Since every home is unique, be sure to have someone come inspect for the above issues to provide recommendations!
Odors will increase in intensity relative to how much humidity is present. Musty smells signal mold or mildew, and possibly rot.
Frost & Ice
If you’re seeing frost or ice on the edges of your window panes or frames, that can mean moisture trouble.
One of the most obvious signs of moisture is a general feeling of dampness in the air. Try to remember how the air in your home feels, so you can tell when it starts to get moist.
If you notice discoloration on walls, carpets, cupboards, etc., this may be a sign of moisture damage or the beginnings of mold or rot.
Wood can begin to swell and warp when it is wet, and will eventually begin to rot. Watch for rot, or in extreme cases, fungi growth.
When moisture is in the air, you may see water condensing on the outside of your plumbing.
Moisture may be damaging paint. Exposed surfaces are a major signal of moisture-caused paint damage.
Moisture may move through concrete or masonry. In the winter, with freeze/thaw cycles, the damage can be even worse, causing crumbling.
Poor drainage is a major exterior moisture cause. Construction details like flat ledges, bad flashing and inadequate drip edges can cause problems, and lake of maintenance can lead to water intrusions.
Seasonal changes in moisture like rain amounts, ground water tables and more can also affect the ability of your home and landscaping to properly drain.
Consistently high outdoor humidity can also cause problems, like mold, mildew and decay. Typical foundations can be permeable to water vapor migration, so you’ll need proper ventilation for basements, crawl spaces and interior living spaces.
Foliage close to your home can block ventilation or air circulation, as can objects stored near walls like firewood. Be sure to keep air flowing around your home to reduce moisture and allow proper drainage.
Construction materials contain a large volume of water, which is then released into the house as they dry. All new homes need a mechanical ventilation system, especially during the summer and winter when homes tend to be sealed the tightest against the weather.
Poor ventilation of high moisture areas such as kitchens and bathrooms can lead to moisture damage.
Attic bypasses are areas where warm air escapes into your attic, such as light fixtures, between walls, etc. This warm moist air leaks into your attic and can cause damage. Sealing this bypasses can reduce attic moisture damage.
People generate a lot of heat and moisture. Generally, you want at least 250 square feet of living space per person or you may have moisture issues.
If you’re storing wood for your fireplace or workshop inside your home, water can evaporate out of the wood and add to your moisture issues.
Cooking, bathing, watering plants, washing clothes and other household activities can really add to the moisture in a home. Reducing these activities or reducing the water used for these activities can help.
When warm, moist air hits a cold, dry surface, condensation can occur which leads to moisture or frost damage. Rooms shut off from the rest of the house or not properly ventilated, like storage areas, closets and bedrooms, can be problem areas.
Improper use of humidifiers can lead to excessive moisture. Humidifiers should only be used sparingly, and generally only used in homes with over-ventilated space.
Any plumbing leak will add moisture to the home, no matter how small. Run each water source independently for 10-15 minutes and listen and watch for leaks.