Regulating the humidity in a home helps with comfort in the form of breathing, relieving dry skin, sinus problems and sickness in general. Breathing is easier and the air feels more pleasant. It can also contribute to the health of the home itself. Condensation occurs when the air has too much moisture in it, high humidity. Water may then deposit on various surfaces that are cooler than the air itself. Several things can contribute to high humidity besides the weather outside, such as cooking, dishwashers, clothes dryers, bathing and long showers.
If the home has a crawl space under the floor, inadequate ventilation or insulation can cause moisture in the home. Rainfall draining towards, rather than away from the foundation, can also collect in the crawl space. Sufficient crawl space ventilation can help keep a crawl space dry, but in some cases installation of a sump pit and pump and possibly even drain tile to collect and funnel water to the sump pit could be necessary. If you’re having a problem, weigh the options available to find the best solution.
Condensation that forms on windows and other surfaces in your home can cause damage to window trim, frames, drywall, floor coverings and sub-floors as well and the interior framing.
To reduce condensation in a home, the moisture saturating the air needs to be reduced. Just as steam from a shower can fog a mirror, warm air holds more moisture. When the air cools, it releases the moisture. There are other things that can be done to reduce the moisture and the condensation:
- Adjust humidifier setting in heating season. (Turn humidifier off in cooling season.)
- Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
- Circulate the air; ceiling fans can help with this
- Open windows to release warm air
- Raise temperature
- Add weather stripping
- Window insulation kits
- Storm windows
- Move plants that release moisture in the air
- Use a dehumidifier during cooling season
The average life of a bathroom exhaust fan is about ten years with kitchen fans lasting about fifteen years. Regular cleaning can increase the life of the fans. Bathroom exhaust fans should be vented to the outside and should be run for 15-20 minutes after using the bath or shower to remove the moisture that causes mold and mildew. (Note: In the Wichita metro area, many homes have been constructed with bathroom exhaust fans expelling into the attic rather than terminating at a roof or side wall vent, and this can also result in condensation forming inside the attic.)