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High Humidity Have You in Curls? Tips to Lower the Humidity in Your Home

High humidity in northern Illinois can be problematic at times so managing indoor humidity should be a priority for homeowners. Excess moisture in your home can cause discomfort and encourage harmful mold and mildew growth. Lowering humidity levels can improve personal comfort, reduce pest infestations, improve indoor air quality and improve the energy efficiency of your air conditioner. Fortunately, there are simple and easy things you can do to enhance the quality of the air inside your home.

Ventilation

Areas inside your home that lack proper ventilation are prone to humidity build-up and mold. Proper ventilation for even a few hours a day can greatly help reduce home humidity levels. It is important to ventilate areas that create moisture like the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms. Steam coming out of hot showers is one of the biggest culprits of home humidity. Ventilate your bathroom with an exhaust fan, or crack a window if there is no fan, and take shorter, cooler showers during warmer months.

Ensure the attic is properly and sufficiently ventilated in a manner that allows continuous airflow. Make sure ducts and vents are clean and clear for the best possible circulation of air throughout your home. You can also improve airflow by opening windows to create a cross-breeze. Use fans and open windows during cooler mornings and evenings as a less expensive alternative to air conditioning.

Leaks

Water released from faulty plumbing gradually evaporates and adds to the indoor humidity levels. Fix leaky pipes and dripping faucets and toilets. Cover sweating pipes with foam insulation tubes as the condensation also adds to indoor humidity. For air leaks around windows, doors, and vents, use caulk and weather stripping to keep out hot, humid air and keep in cool air.

Appliances

Ensure that the dryer is vented outside, not into an inside space or crawl space. Only run full loads in the washer and dryer to reduce overall use and related humidity sources. Consider using an outdoor clothes line instead of using the dryer or hanging clothes indoors. The use of an electric dryer and indoor clothes lines can both add to indoor humidity levels. In the kitchen, use the exhaust fan or crack a window when cooking on the stovetop, especially when boiling water. Choose grilling over oven use as often as possible.

Air Conditioner

Cool air holds less moisture than warm air so run the air conditioner as necessary but remember to keep windows and doors closed when it is on. Air conditioner drain lines and drip pans should be kept clean and clear. Several times during AC season, wet vac the sludge from the end of the drain line – water will back up into the system if the drain line gets plugged. Clogged filters slow down air flow, so replace or clean system filters regularly to keep air circulating properly. Set the fan to automatic so it runs according to need. Also, have your HVAC system serviced regularly for best performance and ask your HVAC expert if your system is the right size for your home.

Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier makes your home feel cooler so you can increase the temperature setting on your air conditioner and save a little money. Either consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier or use portable dehumidifiers in problem areas of your house. As a bonus, you can use the water collected in the dehumidifier to water plants.

Other Things to Think About

Potted plants give off moisture so consider moving them outside during warm months or concentrate them in one room and cover exposed soil with burlap to eliminate water evaporation. Also, keep cut firewood outside – it contains water that evaporates and adds to house humidity levels when kept indoors.

For problem areas, use a product like Damp-Rid. The calcium chloride particles absorb moisture from the air and the containers are small enough to fit into closets and storage areas. Charcoal briquettes will work in a similar manner if you place them in a coffee can and poke holes in the lid.

Carpet may retain moisture. If you are considering a change in flooring, switch to hardwood for a less absorbent option. Area rugs can also collect moisture when indoor humidity levels are high. Hang them outside or have them dry-cleaned if they become damp.

To prevent water from pooling at and around the foundation, keep gutters clean and direct the downspouts away from your home. Waterproof concrete basement walls and floors as they are susceptible to condensation from underground moisture. Cover dirt floors in crawl spaces with a plastic barrier to prevent the evaporation of moisture.

There are many sources of humidity in your home from a damp basement, to improper ventilation, to an improperly sized HVAC system. Lowering the humidity levels in your home keeps you more comfortable and improves indoor air quality. If humidity has become a consistent problem and smaller changes have not fixed the issue, it may be time to involve a professional. If you are ready to tackle home humidity problems or any other HVAC issue, contact us at GV’s Heating and Cooling today.