Bolster your home's moisture resistance with these tips.
Identify red flags
Common signs of unwanted moisture include:
- Excessive, continuous condensation around windows
- Musty smells
- Standing water, especially under the home and around the foundation
- Surface discoloration and stains
- A higher-than-usual water bill from unseen plumbing leaks
- Decaying wood and other materials throughout your home
- Flooding events, such as bursting pipes or excessive rain, that release large volumes of water into or outside your home
Be on the lookout
Make regular home moisture inspections a priority. It's important to inspect more around walls, on the roof, under sinks, near water lines, downspouts, sump pumps, hose bibs, etc. A lot of the problems may be hidden leaks and by the time people notice them, they have a real mold problem. Smart home systems also offer automatic water detection features, such as those that will isolate the supply line in the event of a pipe or hose break.
Your home's relative humidity should be roughly 30-50%, and buying an inexpensive hygrometer to keep tabs on your home's humidity levels is a good idea. Some tips to combat humidity: Run a dehumidifier, decorate with moisture-absorbing houseplants and set your air conditioner's fan to automatic.
Right-size your air conditioner
All too often, people invest in oversized units, says Nick of ICY Home Services. "And that's not good, especially in the South, because it doesn't run long enough to remove enough moisture from the inside air and can cause condensation to collect on surfaces," he adds. Also keep your unit's condensate drainage line to the outside clean and clear of debris. "Keep plants and shrubs trimmed several feet back to ensure good air flow around the HVAC units," says Nick.
Your gutters and downspouts should drain away from your house. Water should never linger near your home's foundation, and Nick recommends checking your gutters every few months for debris or installing quality leaf guards. "Don't buy those foam insert ones from the hardware store, they cause more harm than good and can actually cause backups and damage to your fascia/soffits. Invest in a quality protector that will keep the leaves out of your gutters and prevent the accumulation of ice and frozen debris in the winter," Nick says.
Ventilate hot, humid areas
Proper circulation prevents warm, moist air from condensing on cooler surfaces through evaporation. Here are some ventilation best practices:
- Ventilate your attic and crawl spaces
- Vent all interior exhaust fans to the outside
- Run bathroom ventilation fans while showering and for 5 to 10 minutes after showering
- Install louvered doors or louvered devices installed into walls to provide air circulation for small rooms and closets
- Use ceiling fans to circulate air in occupied spaces
- Open doors and windows when possible
Pay attention to your building's envelope and improve barriers
We recommend boosting your wall and attic insulation based on your climate and installing a vapor barrier to prevent soil gasses and moisture from seeping into the crawlspace. Weatherization measures, informed by a properly trained blower door test technician, can also help to improve energy efficiency while reducing moisture intrusion and higher than normal humidity levels.