By Amy F. Goodmann

Did you know that a family of four can consume up to 18 gallons of water in the form of humidity inside a home in the space of a week? All that water stemming from cooking, showering, washing and drying clothes, and even breathing has to go somewhere.

One of the more visible indicators of high humidity in a home is in the windows. If your home contains excessive moisture and it is cold outside, the first place you will see it is in your windows. This does not mean necessarily mean that there is a problem with your house’s windows. The majority of windows condensation simply indicates that your home needs increased ventilation to lower the amount of moisture in the air or you need to reduce the sources of humidity.

If your home is older consider that generally older homes have more cracks and openings in their construction which allow natural air into the home and help to reduce moisture. On the other hand if your home is of newer construction your home will be more sealed to moisture loss. Excess moisture so to speak will be trapped in your abode.

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While this may be helpful from energy efficiency standpoint, this stagnant air contributes to condensation and creates the potential for condensation on surfaces that are cooler than the dew point.

Humidity is generally created by cooking food, running the dishwasher, filling the sink with hot water, showers, hot tubs, washers and indoor vented dryers, basements, and crawl spaces that channel dampness from the ground into the home, breathing and perspiration.

In addition to these potential sources of moisture, wood, plaster and other building materials in a new home absorb moisture during humid summers and gradually release it after the first few weeks of heating your home in the fall.

The best way to combat this condensation and moisture is to first to decrease the amount of moisture into the air. This may involve adding ventilation, eliminating sources of humidity or removing humidity from the air after it has been generated. To lower the humidity in the home what can you do?

First run exhaust fans in the bedroom during showering or in the kitchen while cooking. It is best to take shorter showers and install water restricting faucets. This will lower both your humidity and water bill. It may be better for you to use the microwave oven, slow cooker or outdoor grill more often. As well you should check and reroute drainage away from your home to minimize the moisture in and around the basement and foundation. Install a humidifier in basements and other damp area and turn off furnace as well as other humidifiers in your house. Lastly open your drapes and blinds to allow warm recirculating air to circulate throughout the area.

Why is reducing humidity important to you and your home? Windows are the most costly component of home building and repairs. Occasional beads of moisture on the glass after a hot shower or steaming food on the stove will not create a problem. However if your windows are ‘sweating’ without a cause or for long periods of time then your windows could become damaged. Wood pains and sash can warp and become difficult to operate. Paint and other finishes may peel and become discolored. Other areas of the home can also become damaged, such as insulation, exterior siding and drywall. Black fungus – deadly for disease and respiratory troubles may even begin to appear.

The average American family can consume up to 18 gallons of humidity a month. This humidity can cause your home construction problems as well as health concerns to your family. Prevent these problems through proper preventative home moisture control.

About the Author: Amy F. Goodmann


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