Condensation on windows, bubbling paint, and mold build-up are some of the signs of high humidity in your home. High humidity levels over time can lead to damage to your home’s structure, appliances, and furniture, but more importantly, your health could be at risk. If your home feels too humid, there could be several sources you can check out and fix. In this post, I’ll discuss possible causes of high humidity in your home, plus some additional steps you can take to bring it down.
Here are 9 Possible Causes of High Humidity in Your Home
- Oversized Air Conditioner
- Everyday Activities
- Rising Damp
- Bad Ventilation
- An Abundance of Indoor Plants
When it comes to air conditioning, a bigger size is not always better. An oversized air conditioner in your home will cool down your home too fast and in short cycles then turn off. Why is this a problem?
An air conditioner not only cools down your home, but it can also help remove moisture from the air. An air conditioner removes moisture as air passes through cold evaporator coils. Because the evaporator coils are colder, moisture condenses and is collected or passed through an air conditioner’s drain line.
To dehumidify, an air conditioner needs time to work. The longer it runs, the better it removes moisture from the air. The problem with an oversized air conditioner is it runs too fast in short cycles. This leaves less time to dehumidify, and moisture is re-circulated back into your home.
Apart from moisture problems, an oversized will lead to temperature inconsistencies and increased electric bills because the system is constantly starting and stopping during short cycles.
Climate is defined as the long term average weather in a place. Climates can be classified according to different meteorological variables like temperature, precipitation, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind.
The climatic conditions of the place you live can have a direct influence on how humid your home gets. For example, in Florida, the humidity in a home will be higher than that of a home in New England. In Texas, where it is hot like Florida, it is dry. If you live in a climate that has high humidity like Florida, it is most likely your home will also be humid.
Coastal areas and areas that experience high rainfall will also have an impact on the humidity levels in your home.
Our daily activities can also increase the moisture in our homes. This is especially if these activities give off a lot of moisture. Some of the activities that can increase humidity in your home include taking long hot showers, boiling water or cooking, drying laundry inside, and using gas heaters.
Taking a shower makes bathrooms often very humid places. As the moisture mixes with air, it can move to other areas in your home, thus increasing the humidity. One way of tackling moisture from taking baths is by installing a bathroom exhaust fan. A bathroom exhaust fan, unlike normal fans, works by pulling out excess moist air outside and limits moisture build-up in your home. Taking cold shorter showers when possible can also reduce the moisture that is released into the air.
Boiling water or cooking can also add moisture to the air as the water evaporates. Installing a kitchen exhaust hood can help direct excess moisture outside. Using slow cookers, which gives off less moisture than stovetop cooking and oven is also a good way to go.
Gas heaters can also contribute to moisture problems because they release water vapor as a byproduct of combustion. If a room is not properly ventilated, or the gas heater is not flued, the water vapor and other combustion pollutants will be released directly into the room.
Another home activity that increases humidity is drying laundry inside. A load of laundry can release up to 2 liters of water. Drying your laundry indoors means for every load of laundry, you will be releasing up to 2 liters of extra water into the air. Drying laundry outdoor should be a quick solution to this problem. You can also vent the dryer outside to release the moisture outdoors.
Rising damp is a rare type of damp that occurs when moisture from the ground travels up via walls through a process called capillary action. Rising damp varies depending on the groundwater level, pore structure of masonry materials, and the rate of evaporation away from the wall surface.
Including a rise in the humidity, rising damp can also have several undesirable effects like decorative spoiling, erosion of building fabric, increased heat loss, and mold growth.
To treat rising damp, check the dampproof course (DPC) and make sure it is not bridged or destroyed. If the DPC is not is good condition, this should be your main culprit. Contacting experts to treat the DPC membrane should solve your problems.
Leaks around a water spot can also cause a rise in humidity. Check around your home and make sure there are no leaks around ductworks or pipes that carry water. If the problem is a water leak, the best thing to do first is to turn off the water to reduce the chance of more destruction and the amount of water wasted.
If you fix the leak yourself, dry out the area thoroughly, and replace any moldy materials. Minor leaks can be fixed by caulking, but extensive works might require experts. If the area has significant water damage or mold, it might need to be remediated.
A simple task like opening windows and doors when possible can reduce moisture build up in your home.
Proper ventilation is one of the factors that will influence the humidity level and also the air quality in a home. When the ventilation is good, air circulates and refreshes itself. As air moves around, it will also carry away excess moisture, thus preventing excess moisture. With bad ventilation, humidity build-up is not inevitable.
Rooms where moisture is regularly created like kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms, should be properly ventilated.
Installing vents and exhaust fans is one way of improving ventilation. Opening windows and doors and placing fans around your home will also improve air circulation. Running the air conditioner should also work.
Plants can be a source of humidity. Plants lose water through a process called transpiration, which adds water vapor to the atmosphere.
The more indoor plants you have, the more they transpire, and the more the humidity levels rise. If you want to increase humidity, plants are a good natural source. However, if you have high humidity problems, keeping plants outside is the best thing to do.
Plants such as Peace lily, Dracaena, Spider plant, and Calatheas can add more moisture to your home. Watering the plants excessively can also increase humidity through evaporation of water through the soil.
Home renovations are good because they improve the property. However, home renovations can also turn to a source of moisture and other unwanted effects. If materials such as plaster cement do not have enough time to dry, they can remain humid, which can later cause problems.
Proper ventilation when renovating or leaving enough time for the materials to dry is advised.
Tackling Indoor Humidity
The most obvious way of reducing humidity in your home is by using a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are very useful, especially in crawl spaces and basements that are humid or feel damp all year round. There are different dehumidifier options you can find for almost every area of your home. For a good dehumidifier, check out the hOmeLabs HME020030N Dehumidifier. You can also check out our list of the best dehumidifiers with a pump.
Air conditioning, proper ventilation, moisture-absorbing materials, and dehumidifying plants can also work to reduce the humidity. Read our post on how to dehumidify without a dehumidifier.