How to Effectively Minimize Summer Humidity in Your House
July 11, 2018
Inside the home, excess humidity can permeate the air very quickly during the summer. It’s usually uncomfortable for most, and can get out of control before you know it – with foggy windows, musty smells, and even clammy skin. The fact is, things don’t have to get out of control before taking corrective measures. Knowing what the causes are, and what to look for, will help you prevent any discomfort for yourself and your home. For the benefit of personal comfort, and to benefit the house’s structure itself, it’s a good idea to minimize higher-than-usual humidity.
Some handy tips for reducing summer humidity
1. Proper ventilation is key for reducing indoor humidity. This is particularly important in the kitchen, bathrooms, and basement, which can be the primary sources for humidity. Having the HVAC fan on continuously has the potential to help if it has the ability to detect humidity.
2. Running the air conditioning system will reduce indoor humidity. Especially if it’s properly calibrated. If it’s too costly, there are other measures to adopt.
3. Exhaust fans (kitchen and washroom,) should be used whenever any form of steam is created – no matter how great or small. In the washroom, hot showers create much humidity, and in the kitchen, cooking produces a lot of air moisture.
4. A free-standing dehumidifier is a good option for removing humidity from the air, especially in the basement. Dehumidifiers work better in a confined space and must be regularly emptied.
5. In some homes, depending on the age, adding “wrap insulation” to plumbing pipes can reduce the potential for “sweating”. This would be considered more of a control measure.
6. Weather-stripping and window caulking reduces undesirable airflow, thus balancing the indoor temperature and reducing humidity. Storm windows are also an effective option. An alternative to replacing storm windows is to use window insulation.
7. “Crawl spaces” and basement walls are often a major source of humidity. These areas can be effectively waterproofed and/or insulated (with spray foam) as a preventive measure.
8. In the roof and attic, air and water sealing will keep the space dry and prevent unwanted collection of air moisture. Attics and roof cavities should be properly inspected yearly.
Dealing with crawl spaces
“Crawl spaces” experience higher humidity because of the proximity to the ground. It’s possible to control air moisture with a vapour barrier and an application of spray foam. Either option is an effective remedy for arresting humidity. Still, ventilation is absolutely essential.
Blower door tests can help
A blower door test identifies air leakage pathways in a “building envelope”. Air leakage in the attic and roof can affect various dynamics, one of which is indoor humidity. Often, an inexperienced contractor or DIYer will apply attic insulation, but not properly air seal the area. After the testing, specific fixes can be implemented, including air sealing and topping up insulation with a professional contractor.
Incentives for retrofitting
Energy efficiency rebates and incentives are available to homeowners when installing new home insulation, and other energy upgrades, including an air sealing component. These can help to offset the cost of both product and installation. These retrofits address overall energy efficiency.
Great Northern Insulation
Working with Great Northern Insulation, homeowners can address everything from thermal insulation, to air sealing, to air moisture (and humidity). As energy efficiency experts, GNI offers practical remedies for the attic, basement, crawl space, and exterior walls. Remedies include window film installation, air sealing upgrades, and complete window retrofits. Submit a contact form on our homepage (www.gni.ca) or call us at 1.800.265.1914 for a free, no obligation in-home assessment.