There are many hidden sources of moisture in your home that can lead to serious problems, such as mould.
To keep moisture levels in check, consider these tips:
- Bathrooms are an obvious source of moisture build-up. Contractor and TV personality Mike Holmes recommends keeping the fan going for at least half an hour after a shower.
- Check regularly for water infiltration around window and door sills, as well as other intakes into the home, such as dryer vents and cable wiring.
- Determine the humidity level in your home. Health Canada recommends keeping the humidity level close to 50% during the summer and 30% in the winter.
- When the temperature drops below -10 °C, maintaining a relative humidity of around 30% is recommended.
- Regularly inspect caulking around sinks, tubs and showers. Even a tiny break can cause water to leak gradually into the wall or floor, causing damage you may not notice for months.?
- Clean up wet spills as soon as possible. Be particularly careful with hardwood floors, as water can seep through and become trapped.
- Repair leaking faucets and pipes immediately. Even a small drip can add significant moisture inside a vanity or kitchen cupboard.
How to Maintain the Correct Relative Humidity
Home interior temperature and relative humidity is often a matter of personal preference, however, exceeding recommended levels can lead to health issues in your home.
High levels of humidity will cause condensation, mould, musty smells, allergic reactions and damage to walls and interior finishes.
Low levels of humidity on the other hand, especially in the winter will cause breathing difficulty, sore throat, static electricity and dry skin. Finding a perfect balance can be a little difficult especially in older homes.
Three steps that you can take to try prevent condensation issues from occurring in your home.
It's not always your window's fault.
1. Monitor and adjust generated humidity levels in your home to recommended levels
2. Promote good air circulation in your home by opening blinds and drapes and directing heat towards walls and windows
3. Promote good ventilation in your home by using bathroom fans, ensuring dryer vent hoods are sealed and unobstructed. Occasionally open two windows at opposite sides of the house for a couple of hours
Condensation Prevention Factors:
- Energy-efficient windows are less likely to have condensation
- Installation of the window frame as close as possible to the interior finish
- Insulation of the space between the window frame and the opening around the perimeter of the window
- Ensure good air evacuation for cooking and showers;
- Take shorter showers
- The seal between frame and opening on the exterior and interior
- Ensure window treatments do not inhibit or impede the movement of air at the surface of the window
- Make sure basement is well-drained and protected against excessive moisture
- Ensure crawl spaces are covered with 0.15mm (6 mil) polyethylene
- Avoid drying firewood in the house
- Avoid hanging laundry inside the home
In short, the phenomenon of condensation is a seasonal problem that arises when the weather gets very cold, and it can be easily controlled by adoption of certain habits and the optimization of building mechanicals.