Living in the South, we’re all familiar with high humidity – it’s just a part of life here, along with the heat and good manners. But that doesn’t mean the humidity is always welcomed, and it can definitely cause some problems in your house, including mold and mildew. Running your air conditioner can help to reduce the humidity in your home, but what are some other options?
Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate!
Having a home that is too sealed can cause indoor air quality issues. In order to stay healthy and comfortable, the air in your home needs to be able to circulate, and that includes removing sources of water laden water from your environment. Having a good ventilation system can go a long way towards helping to keep the humidity levels in your home at a comfortable level.
Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms should all have ventilation fans leading outdoors, preferably away from your air conditioning unit. If your vents are too close to your outdoor A/C unit, you run the risk of the high humidity air re-circulating through your home (along with any cooking odors, if you’re venting your kitchen).
No ventilation system? Crack a window and use a fan
Some older homes may not have adequate ventilation for humidity-producing rooms. In that case, it’s time to invest in a good portable fan and crack a window. It may not be as effective as a ventilation system, but it will still help to keep extra moisture from becoming trapped in your home.
Install attic fans
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that the attic can be a problem area when it comes to moisture, but it’s definitely a real problem in the South. If there is a roof leak, moisture can seep in and mold can begin to grow unnoticed. One way to make the situation better is to install attic fans that routinely circulate the air and help to keep things dry. It’s also a good idea to regularly check your attic for leaks – it’s always better to catch them when they’re small, before they grow into major issues.
Seal window leaks
It doesn’t take a lot of water to begin raising humidity levels to an uncomfortable point. Fixing small leaks can go a long way towards improving humidity levels in your home, as well as protecting surrounding construction materials from damage. If you notice window leaks, seal them quickly. If you have older windows, consider replacing them with energy efficient windows that are custom fit to your home for a perfect seal.
Watch out for flooding & water seeping into foundation
Having good drainage around your home can protect from moisture seeping into your foundation, which can be another source for mold and mildew. Make sure gutters drain water away from the foundation, and that there are no areas where water pools against your home during storms.
Have an unused fireplace? Make sure air can get through, but rain can’t get in
Fireplaces are cozy in winter, but if they’re not properly maintained they can cause a number of issues, including humidity issues. Air should be able to flow through your fireplace, but you don’t want rain to come in. A professional should be able to assess your fireplace and make sure it’s working properly.
Reduce the length and temp of your showers
Long hot showers may be relaxing, but they definitely increase the humidity levels in your home. Come summertime, it may be a good idea to lower the temperature and take shorter showers in order to reduce the humidity level of your home.
Cover those cooking pots, toilets, and aquariums
Any open body of water in your home has the ability to evaporate, creating higher humidity levels in your home. That means you should cover your aquariums, close your toilet lid, and use covers on cooking pots whenever possible.
Keep the plants in check
While indoor plants are great for improving air quality, too many plants can start to really boost humidity levels in your home. If your house is starting to resemble the Amazon, it may be time to cut back on the greenery. If you want to keep the plants around, try moving some outdoors during the summer and bringing them back in during the winter, when lack of humidity tends to be a problem.
Invest in a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier, whether a portable unit or a whole home system, can reduce the overall humidity in your environment. While it can be effective on it’s own, combining it with the tips listed above can help to create a comfortable living space even during the most humid of summers.