There are many sources of moisture in the home. Cooking, showering, houseplants, and people are some expected sources. Crawlspaces and basements can add to the humidity as well. And no matter where it comes from, too much humidity can promote the growth of unwanted microbes, mold, mildew and bacteria. It should be a healthy home, not a lab experiment.
Consider some steps to avoid high humidity in the home:
- Gutters and good grading can help divert water away from the foundation.
- Cover dirt floors in crawl spaces and basements with heavy duty plastic, it reduces odors and moisture
- Ensure that clothes dryers are properly vented to the outdoors.
- Use ventilation fans to remove moisture generated by showering, bathing, and cooking.
- Reduce the number of plants in humid areas.
- If you burn wood, don’t store it in the basement.
- Do not open basement windows and doors in the summer to dry out the basement. This can make the problem worse by allowing moist outdoor air into your cool basement, causing increased condensation. Crawlspaces (and basements) may not need venting, sometimes it makes it worse. I’ve talked about this here
Most of the time we know we have too much moisture only after it’s too late. Wet stains on walls and ceilings, rotten wood, condensation on the windows, and musty smells let us know something is wrong. Clearly indoor air quality suffers, so it’s best to keep your eye out for trouble. Suffer from allergies? You might be creating an ideal situation for the growth of the bacteria and mold that cause them. Our homes are made of mold food: wood, sheetrock, paper. It should be a palace not a Petri dish!