If you’re breaking a sweat over household humidity, these tips can help
There are few things worse than sweating your way through the August muggies—but excess humidity is often a year-round problem for homeowners with airflow issues in their kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. High indoor humidity is more than just uncomfortable; it can peel your trendy wallpaper, encourage mold and mildew growth, and even cause structural damage when left rot and decay are left to fester.
The good news is that you can evict excess moisture pretty quickly if you implement the right mitigation strategy. The tips we discuss below will help you learn how to lower humidity in your house and control it.
1. Seal It Up
One of the most important things you can do is check for air and water leaks throughout the house. Inspect walls, windows, and doors for drafts. Then, seal those problem areas with insulation, caulk, or rubber cement. Excessive humidity in your home can also cause window condensation.
At the same time, you need to be on the lookout for damp areas or water leaks, especially in the basement. A damp, leaky basement will increase the humidity levels throughout your home, so fix your leaky pipes ASAP. You can also conduct an easy DIY with plastic sheeting to test your concrete’s moisture level.
2. Use Exhaust Fans
It’s probably no surprise that your kitchen and bathrooms are pretty much the saunas of your home. They’re often the most humid areas in your living space. For that reason, you should make it a habit to use exhaust fans in these rooms, especially when you’re cooking or showering. Otherwise, that moisture is just going to disperse throughout the house.
3. Put All Fans on Deck
Exhaust fans aren’t the only type of fan you can use to combat humidity. Ceiling fans can help, too. While ceiling fans and standing fans can’t lower humidity on their own, they will increase airflow and help prevent humidity from settling. Ventilation is key in preventing that soggy, stuffy feeling resulting from excess indoor moisture.
4. Be Mindful of What’s In Your Home
Paying attention to what you bring into your home isn’t just good housekeeping practice; it’s also a great way to control humidity levels. For instance, if your clutter is taking over your basement and attic, you’re creating prime conditions for moisture buildup. Air can’t circulate freely with too much junk in the way.
It’s not just the clutter that can cause a problem. Indoor plants may be beautiful, but you may spike humidity levels if you overload your home with greenery. This is especially noticeable during the cold winter months when the windows stay closed.
5. Invest in a Good Dehumidifier
One of the best ways to lower humidity in your home is to invest in a high-quality dehumidifier. As its name suggests—dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air in your space. When placed in a damp basement, for example, this unit can help dry the area and prevent mold and mildew.
Many homeowners take a room-by-room approach to humidity control, but if you have more than one problem area to address, you may want to install a whole-house dehumidifier. A whole-house humidifier costs between $100 and $300, not including the cost of labor for installation. Keep in mind that this project requires the services of a local HVAC contractor.
6. Install Central AC
Air conditioners lower humidity—by collecting moisture in its coils and draining it outside your home. The result? Cool, dry air. A new HVAC system costs$5,000 to $12,000. Yes, it’s an investment, but it can help eliminate that sticky, humid air that makes summer extra sweaty.
7. Clean Your Gutters
Clogged gutters trap water. And water with no place to go will rot the fascia boards and send moisture directly into your home. This raises indoor humidity levels and puts your walls and ceilings at risk.
To prevent clogs, clean your gutters once or twice a year (or hire a local gutter cleaning service to do the job for you). If you live on a property with a lot of leafy trees, you may want to consider installing a gutter guard.
8. Encapsulate Your Crawl Space
Moisture can sneak into your home from the earth beneath your foundation by way of a crawl space. To prevent the issue, encapsulate your crawl space with a vapor barrier. The cost of crawl space encapsulation is usually around $5,500—but your waterproofing contractor might also suggest installing a dehumidifier for maximum effect.
If encapsulation isn’t within budget, consider installing fans in your crawl space to improve ventilation. Good ventilation will help move moist air away from your home, so it doesn’t seep in through the floor.
9. Open Your Windows and Doors to Improve Ventilation
When it’s humid outside, it may seem counterintuitive to open your windows but think about it: More ventilation means less opportunity for damp air to settle in your home. Don’t open your windows (or your doors) on a rainy day, but a little cross ventilation will do wonders for drying out your home quickly.
10. Hang Your Clothes Out to Dry
Hanging clothes on a drying rack indoors —literally—brings humidity into your space. If you’ve got the space for a clothesline, dry your garments outside. This will help the moisture evaporate outside your home as your clothes dry instead of trapping it inside.