Does Your Home Have a Humidity Problem?
Too much or too little humidity can result in a number of problems, ranging from condensation on windows, moldy bathrooms, and musty basements, to far more serious problems such as permanent structural damage or respiratory allergies.We all need a certain amount of humidity in our homes for our comfort and health. But too much or too little humidity can result in a number of problems, ranging from condensation on windows, moldy bathrooms, and musty basements, to far more serious problems such as permanent structural damage or respiratory allergies.
The most reliable way to measure the humidity in your home is with a hygrometer — a small, inexpensive and easy-to-use tool available at most hardware, department, building supply and electronics stores. In general, your indoor RH (or Relative Humidity) should drop to about 30% in cold weather. In summer, the Relative Humidity shouldn't exceed 60% in your basement.
If your home has a humidity problem, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a variety of tips to help you control the problem before it gets out of hand, including:
Reduce or remove sources of moisture. Consider installing exhaust fans in the bathroom or kitchen. Provide adequate heat to all rooms in your home to keep surfaces warm and to avoid condensation. In winter, seal up leaks with weatherstripping and caulking. This will increase humidity if the air in your home is too dry, and will also reduce your heating bill. Use a dehumidifier in the basement from spring to fall, and keep basement windows closed during that period. If your home is too humid in the summer, a dehumidifier is often the easiest and most effective solution. But with so many options available, how do you choose the one that's right for you?
When selecting a dehumidifier for your home, make sure to: Buy the most efficient unit available, such as a highly energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® qualified model. Choose a unit that can be attached to a hose and run to a drain to avoid having to empty it out every day. Select a model with a low noise level. Make sure that the unit you choose has a defrost cycle, especially if the dehumidifier will be located in the basement.
For more information or a free electronic copy of the "About Your House" fact sheets Measuring Humidity in Your Home and Choosing a Dehumidifier, or other fact sheets on virtually every facet of owning, maintaining or renovating your home, visit our Web site at www.cmhc.ca or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. CMHC is Canada’s national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing expertise.