Water Vapor Moisture in the air. We need it, we want it.
It can make you feel comfortable, or it can make you feel uncomfortable. Too much is bad for the house, and too little is also undesirable. So what’s a person to do? Let’s start with what we need.
Did you know that, in winter, some homes are dryer than the Sahara desert? True.
We heat the air in our homes without adding moisture, bad news for our sinuses and our furniture. Also, if the relative humidity in our homes is what it should be, between 50-60% in summer and a little lower in winter, we can save money on our utilities bills. Adjust this figure to suit your needs best, but most will agree that this is a good starting point.
So, in summer we can be comfortable at higher temperatures and in winter be comfortable with lower temperature. So a meter will pay for itself in no time, as well as our health. Ask your doctor about that.
How do we add or subtract moisture? It’s easy in the summer, set your central air to 55 % relative humidity. In the winter we need to add water vapor. This can be done in several ways, most folks will have a humidifier on their forced hot air furnace.
If you have hot water or steam, you will need to add water vapor manually. In the “olden days” we would put a big pot of water on the stove and let it boil on low heat to add moisture. Today you can buy a machine to add the moisture, but you must check on it to keep it filled.
Now for the problems. Too much moisture can cause MOLD. I am told that there are over 100,000 species of mold. For this post, I will only talk about the few that make our lives miserable. Mold can make us very sick, and can destroy our homes. Wherever there is moisture, cool temperature, little light, there is mold.
Mold spores are all over. We breathe it in the air and it’s on our clothes, shoes, and pets. There’s no getting away from it, but we can make our homes less susceptible to mold by following a simple maintenance program.
First and foremost, remove or reduce moisture in areas that don’t get sunlight. A simple way to do this is to vent the area. Remember mold spores need moisture and little or no light to thrive.
Second. Remove the food source. Mold spores eat organic material. So, paper and glue, found on the inside of wallpaper, earth, wood, clothes, almost anything. I know if you removed all of these things you would not have a house left, but that’s the place to look for mold. Clean shower stalls with a bleach solution if you see black stains in the corner or at the bottom at the shower doors, shower curtains, or under sinks. Be careful here, read directions on the label of the product you are using. Again, easy to remember, take away the food source, moisture, and vent the area. Don’t give the mold a chance to build a colony!
For even more information on Mold, see the Weather Channel report