When it comes to protecting your home interior from the effects of excess moisture, there’s a lot you can do to get high humidity levels under control and prevent related issues like condensation, mold, rot, and even health issues that can spring from indoor moisture problems. You might, for example, undergo a home energy audit to find areas of your structure where outside air is creeping in, along with exterior humidity. And once you seal up leaks and make your home airtight you can think about installing fans, ventilation, and de-humidifier components to your HVAC system that will suck up and expel excess moisture from your living spaces. But what about the rest of your home interior? Most homeowners pay plenty of attention to the rooms they spend their time in, and you may even go the extra mile to address unfinished areas like your attic or basement, but what about the crawl spaces that exist between and around your living spaces? Mold, mildew, and rot can fester in these areas and you’ll be none the wiser until a wall collapses or a floor caves. How do you eliminate and prevent moisture in these areas?
For one thing, making your home more airtight can help to eliminate moisture throughout your whole structure, not just the spaces you see. So beginning with a home energy audit is probably your best bet if you’re experiencing high humidity throughout your home. And if you’re not sure, think about buying a hygrometer to measure the relative humidity in your house. You can find a basic one on Amazon in the $10-20 range. Once you’ve pinpointed problem areas and made the necessary repairs to rid your home of outdoor moisture, it’s time to take a look at your fans, vents, and ductwork to see if they’re helping or hindering when it comes to controlling moisture in your crawl spaces.
The place to begin is with fans, including the vent hood over your range and the models in your bathrooms that you turn on to suck up steam when you shower. You need to find out where these fans vent the moisture-laden air they suck out of your home. Ideally, they should be venting to the outdoors, and if they’re located near exterior walls this is probably the case. But if they’ve been improperly installed, they could be venting into other enclosed spaces such as cupboards, wall cavities, the attic, or crawl spaces, dumping their payload of humidity exactly where you don’t want it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t even the biggest potential issue many homeowners face. If your home features inadequate materials where ductwork is concerned, condensation could present a major problem in your crawl spaces where HVAC ducts are routed. Any time you’re dealing with extreme temperature differentials, condensation could become an issue, especially if there’s already excess moisture in the air. If you get into attic or basement spaces and notice that visible ductwork is sweating, there’s definitely a chance the same problem resides in the walls and crawl spaces in your home, especially those that run along exterior walls. If this is the case, you may want to upgrade the ductwork in every crawl space in your home, using insulated products instead of cheap sheet metal that transfers air to every space it passes through. So start by calling a reputable vendor like Buckeye home inspections to pinpoint problem areas and then make the changes necessary to eliminate moisture throughout your home, even the areas you can’t see, and prevent future problems.