Do the bottoms of your windows look like the marks of a glass of lemonade placed on a table in the heat? Your home may have a moisture problem. Here’s what you need to do to fix the situation.
Do you think the humidity level in your home is too high? You are not alone in this situation, but you must act quickly to limit the damage.
You can tell if the humidity is too high by the musty or musty smell. Mold growth is another warning sign; then you will find black, white or green stains on walls, ceilings, window edges, carpets and fabrics. Also watch for peeling paint and warping of the floor.
Keep in mind that the more water, the more likely mold will form. These microscopic fungi damage the materials they grow on. They also release toxins and spores that cause respiratory problems and many allergies.
To detect the presence of mold, avoid using an air quality test. Health Canada notes that such a test will not show you the source of the problem. “Since mold is a natural part of the environment, there are always mold spores in the air,” the federal ministry also clarifies.
The humidity level of the house should be between 30 and 50%. There is more static electricity downstairs, and the airways can become dry and irritated. And beyond 50%, bacteria, mold and mites multiply. For people with asthma or respiratory allergies, a humidity level of 40 to 45% is appropriate.
To prevent mold, clean all surfaces regularly and vacuum to remove spores from your home. Get a hygrometer to keep track of humidity levels. As soon as the arrow exceeds 50%, react. A dehumidifier will come in handy while you wait to find the source of that large amount of water in the air.
First of all, remember that excessive moisture leads to mold, which can damage the structure of your home. Condensation on windows may seem harmless to uPVC window frames, but it can seep underneath and damage the wood.
Warning: If mold covers more than one square meter, if it keeps reappearing despite your cleaning efforts, or if you don’t know the cause of this problem, contact a company with experience in dealing with moisture problems urgently. Make sure he is licensed by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec and check with the Office de la Protection du consommateur to see if there have been complaints against him.
Good to know: in the case of a new house, the humidity level in the first year may be higher: the concrete in the basement and the construction wood are not completely dry. This is what often explains the traces of condensation at the bottom of the walls.
>> Also Read: 5 Simple Tips to Control Humidity in Winter
Four sources of moisture that appear over time
• seepage. Water can enter your home in several ways. In the basement, the composition of the soil, the slope of the ground, or even the deterioration of materials are common causes of water seepage. A clogged French drain or a problem with the storage tank can also lead to water intrusion. The same is true when the gutters are clogged or improperly installed, or the putty on the doors and windows has dried out. When in doubt, call an expert to find the source of these infiltrates.
• Heat in the space under the roof. Is there enough ventilation in the attic (“loft”) of your home? Is there enough insulation? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, your home is in danger. An ice dam can form on the roof, which will lead to water seepage during the spring thaw.
• Poor evacuation of moist air. Our lifestyle can produce a lot of moisture. Steam is generated during showering and cooking, as is the case when drying large amounts of laundry indoors. Plants and aquariums also increase the amount of water in the air. However, some bathrooms and kitchens are not equipped with a fan or extractor fan to remove damp air.
• Basement is not suitable for intensive use. Most basements built before the 1970s were not intended to be used as playrooms or bedrooms. Owners who have refurbished them without knowing it are surprised to find moisture problems on walls or carpets.
>> Read also: When should the roof of the house be defrosted?
Eliminate problems permanently
To permanently solve problems with humidity in the house, you first need to fix the structure.
• Leaks. Be sure to locate the source of these leaks (roofing, siding, attic, gutters, drainage, etc.) and get the job done quickly.
• Exhaust fan in the bathroom. Installation or replacement of the fan is mandatory. Get in the habit of running it during showers and baths. To be effective, your fan must release at least 50 cubic feet of air per minute. Choose a product certified by the Home Ventilation Institute, which guarantees that an independent laboratory has verified the noise and airflow data. You will find this information on models sold in stores.
• Kitchen hood. Turn it on as soon as you start cooking. It must be able to extract at least 250 cubic feet per minute. Exhaust ducts should ideally go outside, and especially not into the attic, so as not to create another problem with moisture. Again look for a device approved by the Home Ventilation Institute. Also, consider installing a heat exchanger or air conditioner that can also act as a dehumidifier, dehumidifying the air.
• Dryer. Consider purchasing a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels in your home. This device can be useful if you want to make your basement more comfortable or if you have not yet found the cause of high humidity in your home.
• Life habits. Before going to bed, leave the blinds or curtains parted to allow heat transfer from the room to the windows and to prevent excessive condensation on the glass. Clean out basement closets and other cool areas where mold can grow. Also avoid long showers and do not dry clothes indoors. Also limit the use of a humidifier.
>> Read also: How to choose a dehumidifier