Eco-Coach

Green your life at home, work & play

Too Dry or Too Wet? January 13, 2012

Depending on the difference between the humidity of the outside and inside air, your house can either be too dry or too wet. In the winter time, outside cold air is drier than that in your house, which causes the air in your house to dry out. If your home is too dry, a humidifier can help, though you may need to weatherize your home to better seal it from outside air. However, most often a too wet home causes the most problems, such as mold and mildew growth, infestation by dust mites, cockroaches and bacteria, and structural damage. There are many causes of excess moisture, including leaky plumbing, a wet attic or basement, humidifiers, gutters, downspouts and drains, and of course flooding and sewer backups. Anything made out of wood, paper or cardboard in damp areas can also create mold growth, which can cause asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.  Maintaining appropriate moisture levels in your home is important to keep it healthy and green:

  • Find and fix all plumbing leaks (even small leaks can lead to mold growth)
  • Install and use exhaust fans in kitchen and bathrooms (especially when cooking or after showering)
  • Change the water in your humidifier once a day and clean weekly
  • Open windows or use fans to increase air circulation
  • Direct water away from your home’s foundation with landscaping and correctly situated downspouts
  • Repair all cracks and holes in walls
  • Keep gutters clear to prevent water buildup
  • Ensure that dryers have external exhaust fans

Just a quick walk around your home can save you thousands of dollars in repairs if you catch the problems early. For more tips on how to identify and fix moisture problems in your home, check out this article from Oregon State University.

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