Keeping your home comfortable has just as much to do with humidity as temperature. If your HVAC dehumidifier doesn’t work properly or you don’t have one installed, your indoor air can become uncomfortable, and a number of other issues can develop. Here are four problems that can be caused by high indoor humidity.
1. Mold Growth
If you have ever faced mold in your home, you likely know that the most important ingredient for mold growth is moisture. Homes with high indoor humidity can have enough moisture in the air to promote mold growth on almost any exposed surface. Mold caused by indoor humidity is most often found on cool, porous surfaces, as these are the areas where condensation can cause mold to take root.
Even if there is no visible mold in your home, humidity could be fostering a secret mold colony inside your walls or HVAC ducts or in other unseen areas. Watch out for an unexplained musty odor if you’ve been dealing with humidity problems, as this is a telltale sign that mold could be hiding in your home.
2. Water Damage
Condensation that settles on wood, drywall, and other porous surfaces throughout your home can lead to water damage. These materials will continually absorb moisture as it condenses from the air. This means that the longer the air in your home is more humid than it should be, the more likely water damage is to develop.
Knowing the signs of water damage will help you take proactive steps to dehumidify your home and prevent it from worsening. Watch out for peeling paint and wallpaper, swollen or sagging drywall, warped wood flooring, and water stains on walls, floors, and ceilings. Visible condensation on windows and other glass surfaces is a sure sign that there’s enough moisture in the air to cause water damage.
3. Pest Infestation
Like all living creatures, insects need water to survive. Many insects, including common household pests such as termites and ants, will instinctively seek humid climates that have a greater likelihood of harboring the water they need. Combine this with the insect-attracting smell of damp wood, and your humid home may soon harbor unwanted guests.
While getting your home’s air to the proper humidity level will make your home less likely to attract pests, this may not be enough on its own. It’s important to remember that the air outside your home may be just as humid as your indoor air. Be sure to seal cracks around doors, windows, and your foundation to minimize the risk of pest infestations even after taking steps to dehumidify your home.
4. Health Problems
The most serious impact of high indoor humidity isn’t the effect it can have on your home but the effect it can have on your family. Humidity inhibits the body’s ability to cool itself, as sweat does not evaporate properly. In particularly hot and humid homes, you may notice symptoms such as faintness, mental sluggishness, and muscle cramps. In extreme cases, heat stroke can be a real risk.
High humidity can also cause health problems indirectly by increasing the number of contaminants in your home’s air. Allergens, mold spores, bacteria, and viruses all stay airborne longer in humid air. Pay attention to frequent allergy flare-ups, respiratory problems, and other unexplained health changes that may be caused by high humidity, especially if symptoms are more pronounced when at home.
As these examples demonstrate, humid indoor air can cause many more problems than simply making your home uncomfortable. Contact us at Steele Bros Heating, Inc., if you are dealing with high indoor humidity so we can help you stay cool and breathe easy at home again!