Ways to Better Manage Your Home’s Humidity Level
Both high and low indoor humidity can be a major problem. When the relative humidity in your home is too high, condensation can start to form on your walls, ceilings, and inside your ductwork, leading to a potential for both water damage and mold growth. When the humidity level is too low, the dry air can potentially lead to wood and leather furnishings starting to crack or warp. Dry air can also make it feel more difficult to breathe and worsen any breathing issues or respiratory problems. The good news is that managing your home’s moisture level and preventing high humidity issues usually isn’t all that difficult, and today we’re going to look at some tips that can help you to do just that.
Leave Windows Closed and the AC Running Throughout the Summer
Outdoor humidity is usually highest from midnight until the early morning and then quickly decreases once the sun is fully out. This is precisely why you really shouldn’t ever sleep with the windows open in more humid places, like Detroit, where it can tend to get quite muggy during the summer. Any time you open your windows, lots of moist air will come inside and quickly raise the humidity level in your home. Much of this moisture will then seep into your walls, carpets, floors, and furnishings. When this happens, your home will always stay far more humid as your AC won’t have an effect on all of the moisture that’s soaked into the building. All this moisture can also make it nearly impossible for your AC to keep up and thus force it to work overtime to keep your home cool and dry.
Shutting off your air conditioning before going to bed and opening your windows may seem like a good way to lower your cooling costs. However, the truth is that the effect is quite minimal since all of the moisture will make your AC work harder and need to run longer once it turns back on the following day.
Turn On Exhaust Fans in the Bathroom or Kitchen Whenever Bathing or Cooking
Lots of heat and moisture are produced any time you use your stove or oven and also when you take a bath or shower, and this can quickly make your home hotter and more humid. Much of the moisture will also absorb into the walls and ceilings and then slowly evaporate into the air, causing the entire home to be more humid. The easiest way to prevent this issue and keep your home less humid is to make sure you always use the exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom every time you cook and bathe. You should also leave the fan running for at least 10 to 15 minutes after cooking or bathing to ensure that it has enough time to draw all of the heat and moisture outside.
When cooking, it is also a good idea to cover your pots and pans with a lid whenever possible. Keeping your pots and pans covered will help to trap much of the steam and heat and prevent as much moisture from being released into the air as possible.
Ensure All Doors and Windows Are Fully Sealed
Exterior doors and windows are typically some of the biggest sources of heat gain in a home, and all of your windows and doors can also allow lots of moisture to seep inside if they aren’t properly sealed. This is why it is important to have your windows and doors resealed on both the inside and outside of the building every few years to ensure that they aren’t leaking. It is also a good idea to regularly check around windows and doors to see if you can feel air leaking in. You should also regularly check the weather stripping around all windows and doors to ensure it isn’t cracked or missing as a lack of weather stripping will also prevent them from sealing properly and allow heat and humidity to seep inside.
Install a Moisture Barrier in Your Crawl Space and Make Sure It’s Well Ventilated
Crawl spaces are often one of the biggest contributors to high indoor humidity. This is partly because most crawl spaces have a dirt floor that absorbs moisture from the soil surrounding the building. Another reason is that crawl spaces tend to trap lots of heat and humidity that then rises up into the rest of the home. These issues can easily be prevented by installing a moisture barrier on the floor of your crawl space to keep the moisture in the dirt from evaporating into the air and seeping into your home. It is also important to ensure that the crawl space has adequate ventilation so that all of the heat and humidity can escape outside.
Run the Dishwasher and Do Laundry in the Early Morning or Late Evening
Despite the fact that humidity tends to be lower during the middle of the day, most experts still recommend never running the dishwasher or doing laundry during the day in the summer if possible. Washing machines, dryers, and especially dishwashers give off lots of heat and humidity. If you run these units during the hottest parts of the day, all of the heat and humidity they give off can force your air conditioning to work overtime and limit its effectiveness. It will also lead to your home becoming more hot and humid and potentially make it more difficult for your AC to ever keep up. If you wash dishes and do laundry during the early morning or late evening when your home is cooler and the outdoor temperature is lower, you can reduce the problem as your AC will be much better able to manage the additional heat and humidity that your dishwasher or laundry units produce.
Install a Whole-Home Dehumidifier
By far the most effective option for keeping your home’s humidity level in check is by using a whole-home dehumidifier. This type of unit is installed within the return air duct that leads to the air handler compartment where the AC evaporator coil is located. Whenever your air conditioning turns on, the dehumidifier will run and use cold refrigerant to absorb and remove much of the moisture from the air flowing through your ducts.
When installed correctly and working properly, many whole-home dehumidifiers can remove more than 8 gallons of moisture from the home’s air in a day. Not only will this help to keep the home much drier, but it can also reduce the strain on your air conditioning and contribute to lower cooling costs. When the dehumidifier runs, it both removes lots of moisture and slightly cools the air before the air then flows into the air handler compartment and over the evaporator coil. By slightly cooling the air, the dehumidifier can help to make your AC cool more quickly and run for less time. Removing moisture from the air will also improve the effectiveness of your air conditioning and shorten AC run times since it is always easier to cool dry air than it is to remove heat from much more humid air.
Use a Whole-Home Humidifier to Prevent Issues With Dry Air During the Winter
Just as it can help to prevent high humidity issues during the summer, a whole-home humidifier can be a great option for overcoming issues with overly dry air during the winter. A whole-home humidifier is also installed in your ductwork and works to release warm, moist air whenever your furnace is running. This is important because winter air is almost always much drier and also because your furnace saps most of the remaining moisture out of the air that passes through it, and the easiest way to overcome these issues is by having a whole-home humidifier installed.
At C & C Heating & Air Conditioning, we can help you overcome your home’s humidity issues and also improve the indoor air quality in your house. We install whole-home humidifiers and a range of other IAQ units, and our team can also handle any heating and cooling repair, maintenance, and installation needs for customers throughout the Greater Detroit Metro area. For more information or to schedule any HVAC or indoor air quality service, contact us today.