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What Excess Humidity is Doing to Your Home and How You can Prevent it

Is another hot, humid Iowa summer taking a toll on your home? One of the first signs that your home is experiencing high humidity problems is persistent window condensation. Paying close attention to this symptom can help you solve indoor air quality issues before they harm your family’s health or your home.

What is window condensation?

Condensation on windows takes the form of a light layer of moisture that develops on the window glass. It occurs when the surface is cooler than the dew point temperature of the air that is in contact with the surface. It’s important to remember that when condensation appears on a window, the problem isn’t the window itself; it’s the excess humidity in the home.

How do I know if I have a problem?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, healthy indoor relative humidity levels range between 30 and 50 percent. To decide whether or not the condensation on your windows is a problem, watch when and how often it occurs. Condensation can occur and last for a couple of days as a result of quick changes in temperature. If, however, condensation covers all or most of your windows throughout the year, contact the service team at Wyckoff Heating & Cooling.

What are the effects of humidity issues if left unresolved?

Unaddressed condensation issues can be destructive to property and harmful to your health. Lingering moisture can drip onto window frames and promote mold growth and rot. High humidity levels can also create mold on ceilings, bubbling of wallpaper, and a breeding ground for dust mites.

Where is condensation coming from?

In addition to the typical Iowa humidity, a large amount of excess humidity in your home originates (and stays) indoors. Unlike older homes, new construction homes are energy-efficient and airtight. Great for your utility bills, it also makes it more difficult for water vapor to escape. Indoor activities that create humidity include: showering, cooking, cleaning (certain products, mopping) and laundry.

What can I do to eliminate condensation?

Ventilate: Help excess humidity escape your home by utilizing exhaust fans in areas where water vapor originates, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Using exhaust fans for 15 minutes after showering and cooking will help to remove water vapor from the air. Be sure to run the range hood fan in your kitchen when cooking.

Circulate using fans: Circulation dries air and also makes your home feel cooler. Ceiling fans are great, energy-efficient options to keep air in motion. Portable fans can also be used to circulate fresh air through confined areas. Open windows on days when the humidity drops.

Identify and seal cracks: Check for any cracks in your ceiling that allow attic humidity to enter your living space. Use caulking to close cracks around the long joint between walls and the ceiling, and repair gaps around the perimeter of recessed ceiling lights and anywhere vent ducts or plumbing pipes pass through the ceiling. 

Maintain your clothes dryer: Pay close attention to the condition of the dryer vent. Check it regularly for lint accumulation that can block the flow of exhausting air and discharge water vapor into the air.

Dehumidify: In areas with persistent, but small, condensation problems, such as basements and crawl spaces, use a portable dehumidifier. But, for more serious humidity issues, a whole-home dehumidifier may be necessary. How does it work? The equipment is installed directly into your heating and cooling ductwork to extract humidity as it passes through. Humidity levels inside your home can be adjusted with a digital humidistat.

Schedule routine check-ups: Your air conditioner works hard throughout the hot Iowa summer. Give it a little TLC while it works overtime. Your air conditioner plays a significant role in your home’s humidity level, by extracting water vapor at the evaporator coil. As part of Wyckoff’s Peace of Mind planned service agreement, you could invest in two routine visits for as little as $14 a month. During this visit, our professional will clean the air conditioner coil and inspect refrigerant levels, both critical to managing the humidity in your home.

 

 

 

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