Relative humidity is often a difficult concept for many homeowners to wrap their heads around. Many of us first learn about humidity in the pages of science textbooks. But, beyond the classroom, relative humidity is a reality that affects your home in many ways.
It can adversely affect your home’s living environment by fostering mold growth, attracting pests, and lowering comfort levels. That’s not to mention runaway humidity can also cause wood root, which can lead to structural problems in your home.
What Is Relative Humidity?
Expressed as a percentage, relative humidity is a term that describes the volume of moisture in the air. That means that the air in a room with 55% humidity is holding 55% of the moisture it could potentially hold. If this goes to 100%, you will end up with a thick condensation.
Many variables such as air saturation, prevailing temperatures, and dew point all affect the relative humidity in your home. Since all these variables keep changing, the relative humidity of your home will fluctuate as well.
For your home to remain dry and mold-free, you have to control the relative humidity. You can create a dry, comfortable indoor environment by keeping relative humidity at 30% in the winter and below 50% in the summer. Anything higher will set the stage for secondary problems.
Measuring Relative Humidity
Record the current pressure point inside your home and divide it by the pressure point at which moisture saturates the air. The other option is to use a psychrometer, which has two thermometers. One measures the wet-bulb temperatures and the other dry-bulb temperatures.
Why High Humidity Levels Are Bad for Your Home
Starting with indoor air, high humidity levels will foster the growth and spread of harmful microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, and mold. All these can spoil the quality of indoor air and cause respiratory health issues like asthma and allergies.
Another thing that high relative humidity does is instigate wood rot. Wooden structures like rim joists and beams will start decaying. And these might leave you with frail support structures, bouncy floors, ruined artwork, and furniture.
When moisture starts building up indoors, you will also find yourself running your air conditioner more than you’re used to. In other words, you will use a lot of energy to create a comfortable indoor temperature. And this translates into higher monthly utility costs.
Effects of Low Humidity Levels on Your Home
Low moisture levels around your home can leave you with a dry, irritated mucus membrane. That’s not to mention the dry air can worsen your asthma and allergies. You and your loved ones may also experience chapped lips and dry skin.
On the other hand, air that’s too dry will also affect your wooden structures and construction materials. For instance, floors and ceilings might crack and the wooden doors and windows may shrink and pull away from their frames.
Controlling Relative Humidity
There are many measures you can take to beat bck moisture. We recommend these three.
Encapsulate the Crawl Space
Covering your crawl space with a 20-mil plastic vapor barrier will stop moisture-laden air from infiltrating your crawl space. The material is spread over the walls and floor and goes around beams. What this does is lock moisture and make it more difficult for critters to come inside.
Seal up Crawl Space Vents
Open vents are a conduit for moisture and outside air. So, you have to seal them. We can help you with this. By closing the vents off with durable, airtight vent covers, you will stop warm and moist air from getting into the crawl space. Remember warm air carries with it a lot of moisture.
Get a Dehumidifier
Another thing you can do to bring down relative humidity levels is to dehumidify the below-the-grade areas in your home. An energy-efficient dehumidifier will dry out the air in your basement and crawl space, which floats to your home. Your indoors will feel mess muggy and become less attractive to creepy crawlies and nasty mold.
Don’t let moisture build-up and cause all kinds of problems. Get a powerful dehumidifier and other solutions from Foundation Recovery Systems and beat back the moisture. Contact us to request a free crawl space inspection and quote today!