Keeping the proper amount of moisture in the indoor environment has a number of important benefits, from increased comfort for residents to greater longevity of the building or home. A buildup of moisture in the home can damage the structure, while at the same time exacerbating certain health conditions and encouraging the growth of mold and mildew. Keeping that excess moisture under control is therefore an important part of proper home maintenance.
There are of course a number of ways homeowners can control the moisture in their homes. One of the most effective is to build the home with moisture control in mind. Including a purpose built humidifier or other such appliance can help prevent the buildup of excess moisture and control humidity levels in the air much more efficiently than other methods.
It is also important for the new home to provide not only a way to prevent excess moisture from entering but to ensure that any moisture that does make it indoors has an efficient way to escape. In the past, many building methods were too efficient, trapping any excess moisture inside and encouraging the growth of mold, mildew and other moisture related problems. It is important, therefore, for the home to provide plenty of ventilation to allow that trapped moisture a way to escape.
One way to keep that moisture on the outside of the home is to design the home and land in such a way that excess moisture runs off. The ground surrounding the foundation of the home should be graded so that it slopes down and away from the foundation at a rate of between ½” and 1” per foot. In addition, the water exiting downspouts should be directed away from the home, discharging a minimum of a few feet away from the home’s foundation. The drainage system, including downspouts and gutters, should be checked regularly for damage or blockage, and any problems found should be addressed at once.
It is also important to design the roof of the home to keep water away from the home. No one roofing strategy or material will be right for every home, so it is important to consider the climate when making these decisions.
No matter what the climate, however, it is important for the home to be well ventilated in order to control the buildup of excessive moisture. Exhaust fans should be placed in the bathroom and kitchen to whisk moisture out of the home, and a mechanical ventilation system should be used to ventilate the entire home.
When choosing an air conditioning method, it is important to size the equipment properly, and to keep in mind that a larger air conditioning unit is not necessarily superior. The key is to size the air conditioning solution to the home or room being cooled. An air conditioner that is too large for the room or the home could create an excess of moisture. It is important as well to ensure that any built in central heating and air conditioning solution is properly sized and running at peak efficiency.
Last but not least, it is important for homeowners to be ever vigilant and always on the lookout for any signs of increased moisture. Mold and mildew are of course classic signs of excess moisture, but it is important to look for other telltale signs as well, such as wet spots on drywall or paneling, and standing water outside the home. Keeping on the lookout for such problems, and addressing them promptly, is one of the best ways to keep excess moisture, and the problems it can create, at bay.