Ten Tips for Controlling Moisture Levels in Your Home

By Jeffrey C. May —

Mold can pose serious health risks – especially for people with allergies and asthma. The key to controlling mold growth is reducing moisture, whether from leaks, high humidity or variations in temperature in your home.

Below are ten tips to help you keep your home drier and thus mold free.

  1. Dry up drips. Even a small water leak can develop into a major mold problem, so check pipes under sinks, and behind your washing machine and refrigerator (if it has a water line). Repair leaks right away.
  2. Mold can pose serious health risks – especially for people with allergies and asthma. The key to controlling mold growth is reducing moisture, whether from leaks, high humidity or variations in temperature in your home.
  3. Watch the hot-water tank. Put a battery-operated floorwater alarm near your hot-water tank, so you’ll be alerted if the tank starts to leak. If you have a central alarm system, consider having a floor-water alarm tied into the system. If you have a gas-fired hot-water heater, plan to replace it right before the warranty expires. Electric hot-water heaters tend to last longer than their warranty, but still, keep an eye on the warranty date.
  4. Control the relative humidity below-grade. Mold growth doesn’t always require standing water. Some molds can begin to grow when the relative humidity (RH) is over 80%.As air cools, its RH rises. Below-grade (below ground level) spaces like basements and crawl spaces are naturally cool and damp, so the RH must be adequately controlled.Use a thermo-hygrometer to measure the RH. The RH should be kept at or below 50% in unfinished basement spaces and in crawl spaces, and below 60% in finished basement spaces.

    Between mid-April and mid-October, add dehumidification as needed, even if your finished basement has air conditioning. Be sure that your dehumidifier is adequate for the space, and attach the machine to a condensate pump, so that it can drain into a sink or to the exterior. That way, you won’t have to empty the reservoir (when the reservoir is full, a dehumidifier shuts off).

    In the winter, you do not need to dehumidify an unfinished basement, but a finished basement must be kept consistently warm, whether in use or not, with the thermostat set at a minimum of 57o F.

    If you have an indirect-fired, hot-water system or tankless system (i.e. the boiler heats the domestic hot water), this will help control the RH, because the boiler operates year-round and produces heat as it does so.

  5. Don’t over-humidify above grade: In the winter, we don’t open windows and doors that much, so moisture can build up in a house in above-grade rooms. If you have an exhaust fan over your cook stove that vents to the exterior, use the fan whenever you cook or bake, and try to cook and bake at the same time.After showering or bathing, operate the exhaust fan in the bathroom. In addition, leave the door open and operate an oscillating fan in the bathroom to help dry surfaces.If you have a central humidification system, keep the RH in habitable rooms under 40% (lower in extreme cold). The same holds true if you use a portable humidifier in any particular room. Always measure the RH with a thermo-hygrometer.

Read the complete article in the April 2018 issue of Healthy Indoors Magazine at: https://hi.healthyindoors.com/i/971754-hi-april-2018/25

Views: 13

Tags: moisture, mold

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Latest Activity

Matt Peiris replied to H.O. Electric's discussion Stop Drinking Bottled Water! in the group News & Announcements
"Cities like Los Angeles now use chlorine AND chloramine to treat their water. While chlorine can be…"
10 minutes ago
Matt Peiris joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

News & Announcements

Share your news and announcements with the community in this group.To post news or an announcement,…See More
10 minutes ago
Michael Dunseith posted photos
11 hours ago
Ron Jones added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

Residential Construction Superintendent for Net Zero Energy Homes: Northern California

At Acre Designs (acre.co), we're bringing Net Zero Energy homes into the 21st century, and we're…See More
18 hours ago
Kim added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

Job Opening - New Construction Specialist - Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, PA Location

New Construction SpecialistAre you looking for a collaborative work environment, colleagues who are…See More
20 hours ago
Profile IconSteve, Todd Crawford and Evangeline Spence joined Home Energy Pros Forum
20 hours ago
Steve liked Alex Jonson's discussion Constant Airflow Regulator
20 hours ago
Mike Berg liked Quinn Korzeniecki's discussion BPI's June Newsletter: Learn How to Get 2 Easy CEUs & Free Marketing Materials
21 hours ago
Kurt Shafer posted a status
"I am now a POWUR solar consultant (http://www,powur.com/kurt.shafer/learn and http://www.Invisco.com/solar"
22 hours ago
Kurt Shafer posted a status
"Invisco sold the high performance ES-6400 and ER-8000 whole house fan products to Thorwaldson (http://www.ThorwaldsonWholeHouseFans.com)"
22 hours ago
Hannah Wood liked Quinn Korzeniecki's discussion BPI's June Newsletter: Learn How to Get 2 Easy CEUs & Free Marketing Materials
22 hours ago
Home Performance Coalition's blog post was featured

Advancing Home Energy Labeling through Data Standardization

Making energy efficiency features visible at the time of home sale is a strategy with…See More
23 hours ago
Mark A. Moeller joined allen p tanner's group
Thumbnail

Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase

Discuss the pros and cons of the equipment you are interested in prior to purchase. Post equipment…See More
Saturday
Franco Oyuela commented on John White's blog post HVAC Maintenance Checklist for Spring Cleaning
"As with a traditional air conditioner or heat pump, ductless mini splits require routine…"
Friday
NKaplan shared Quinn Korzeniecki's discussion on Facebook
Friday
Don Fugler replied to Tom Phillips's discussion Kitchen Ventilation Resources in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Another good publication written for builders/renovators/HVAC professionals was Chris…"
Thursday
Robert Bean replied to Robert Bean's discussion Low velocity consequences in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Hi Chris, Today there is no research that I can find to support less than 500 fpm. As I noted above…"
Thursday
Robert Bean replied to Robert Bean's discussion Low velocity consequences in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Hi Tom, All good comments and questions that need to be explored for residential systems. We have…"
Thursday
Chris Stratton replied to Robert Bean's discussion Low velocity consequences in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Seems like high velocity and low noise are at odds with each other. And one of the biggest…"
Thursday
Matt Sharpe replied to Bob Reuther's discussion log home roof insulation
"Agree that its hard to help without more information. Pictures? IR images? Do IR images show air…"
Thursday

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service