In recent newsletters we have discussed asbestos and household mold, a common concern in many homes. For this newsletter we wanted to focus on controlling humidity in your home, especially in the basement, which are prone to problems related to excess moisture.
RTS Environmental Services wants to help by providing you with the facts about moisture in the home so you can take the steps necessary to prevent a small problem from becoming a major crisis.
Keeping Humidity in Check
Whether you use your basement for storage or as a living area, the lower level of your home is vulnerable to damage from humidity that can eventually lead to problems with mold and mildew. Controlling the humidity in your basement is the key to creating a healthy and livable space that your entire family can enjoy.
Household occupants are usually very comfortable when the temperature and relative humidity are maintained within the ranges of 68 to 72 degrees and 25 to 50 percent relative humidity, but maintaining a proper humidity level isn’t always easy. Normal household activities such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, washing and drying clothes – even breathing and perspiring – can raise the humidity level too high.
It has been estimated that the typical family of four converts three gallons of water into water vapor per day. It takes only four to six pints of water to raise the relative humidity of a 1,000 sq. ft. house from 15 to 60 percent. To avoid the problems of excess moisture it is necessary to limit or control the amount of water vapor in the house.
For effective humidity control in your home, follow these suggestions:
- Ensure that the exterior of your home has a sloped grade and moves water away from the foundation.
- Extend the down spouts by at least 3 feet away from your foundation and assure the gutters are free of debris.
- Operate a dehumidifier in the basement especially after heavy rain and humid weather.
- Additional air movement also helps to mix humid air with dry air allowing a dehumidifier to be more effective at drying. Operate an inexpensive circulating fan in rooms with poor ventilation.
- Check your clothes dryer vent to assure it is pushing its exhaust outside and not into your house or attic.
- Retrofit your HVAC unit (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning) to provide effective return inlets low to the basement floor if one does not exist now.
We can help answer these questions…
RTS Environmental Services, Inc.
301-607-6276 Maryland Line