Moisture Management in Your Home
Last year we suffered with rainy day after rainy day, however even moderate water problems can cause moisture problems in your home. Let’s look at some of the causes of moisture and ways we can incorporate moisture management in your home.
Moisture Management Methods
Proper ventilation in your home is essential to healthy living. Airtight homes, such as many modern energy-efficient homes, can trap moisture inside the walls, leading to mold, mildew, fungus and allergens. Ensure that air can flow through rooms by placing furniture an inch or so away from walls.
Attics are prone to moisture collection, so venting systems here are essential. (See our post Attic Ventilation Protects Homes). Make sure bathroom fans, and dryer and kitchen hood ducting, do not vent into the attic or crawl spaces, but rather to the outside of the home. Look for signs of condensation on windows throughout the home, or attic walls.
Drains are meant to clear away water and redirect it away from your home. The most common systems are your gutters and downspouts. Clean and inspect your gutters regularly to ensure that water can flow easily and that there are no areas that are pulled away from the roofline. Reattach gutters if necessary. Make sure that downspouts direct water away from your home’s foundation. Clear bushes and debris that touch the house to allow air to flow, and grade the ground to slope away from the foundation.
Inspect your home yearly, looking on the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Check walls for cracks and holes that could allow moisture to penetrate. Review plumbing systems for signs of leaks. Make repairs quickly.
Look for air leakage around ceilings, walls, floors and baseboards and caulk them as needed. Insulate basement walls.
Health Hazards of Excessive Moisture in the Home
When mold, mildew or fungus is allowed to accumulate, your body will react with an allergic reaction. These contaminants can also be serious for those with respiratory problems, like asthma. (Read about the Critical Signs of Mold in Your Home.) Health symptoms of mold exposure can include coughing, itchy skin and eyes, runny nose, rash, sore throat, congestion, and nosebleeds.
What are Mildew and Mold?
Although mold and mildew are both fungi, they have different appearances and properties.
Mildew has a powdery appearance, and can appear as grayish-white or brown splotches. You may be able to smell mildew’s musty smell. It generally lives only on a material’s surface so it can be cleaned away with a bleach or vinegar solution.
Mold offers a fuzzy presentation and is darker than mildew. It can appear as black, dark green or bright red. It also can smell musty. Mold can be harder to spot, as it can appear as simply a dirty spot. But if you uncover mold on a surface, there is a good likelihood that there is mold beneath the surface as well. Mold removal can be extensive and expensive.
Moisture Management for your Home
During your home’s construction, it should have been wrapped with a water-resistant membrane, installed between the frame and the siding material. For moisture management, moisture barriers should be installed in crawl spaces below homes. Wooden trim, siding, and other wooden structures like decks, should be sealed after installation, and regularly thereafter.
In bathrooms, tile can leak water, so a water protectant should be installed behind the tile. Drywall should be moisture-resistant, and mildew-resistant paint should be used in high-humidity areas such as bathrooms.
Moisture Management Inspections by Först Consulting Group
One of the types of inspections performed by Först Consulting Group is Moisture Management. Our expert inspector will go through your home’s interior and exterior to look for areas where moisture may be, or may become, a problem. We will note in a detailed report areas where improvements or repairs can be made, and give estimated costs of those repairs so that you can budget and negotiate with contractors, if necessary, although many moisture management solutions are easily done by the homeowners themselves.
Contact Först Consulting Group to schedule your Moisture Management Inspection.