Smart Strategies For Reducing Household Humidity Levels

If you live in area where flooding is a possibility, has a high annual precipitation rate, or a great deal of atmospheric humidity due to proximity to large bodies of water, you're probably interested in various strategies that you can use to moisture-proof your home. After all, damp household environments are magnets for fungal pathogens such as mold and mildew, and these scourges can can cause significant respiratory distress in many people. Following are several strategies for reducing interior humidity levels and having a healthier home:

Use Clay, Ceramic, and Stone Tiles

It's almost impossible for these materials to sustain water damage, and they are an attractive alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting. These materials are also very low maintenance, requiring only enough sweeping and mopping to keep them clean. Polished concrete is becoming an increasingly popular flooring choice for those who want to keep humidity levels down. If you like the look and feel of fabric on your floors, using area rugs made of moisture-resistant fibers such as sisal, linen, and woven bamboo.

Use Decay-Resistant Wood

There's a reason why First Nations people have traditionally carved their trademark totemic art out of western red and yellow cedar trees -- this wood stands up to the characteristically damp and cold conditions of the Canadian and Alaskan coastal villages where totemic art is a strong part of the local culture. Many homes are built with cedar lumber in these areas as well because they simply last longer than those built with weaker wood. Cedar can also be used in the following ways:

  • As decking. If you want a long lasting deck that won't begin to decay and fall apart after a few rainy seasons, you can't go wrong with cedar.
  • As sub flooring. Even if you decide on using finished flooring materials like tiles or polished concrete, it's important to have moisture-resistant sub flooring such as cedar.
  • As siding. Cedar is fairly porous, making it a good siding choice because it has a highly insulating value. Porous wood also absorbs noise better than other materials.
  • As roofing. Roofs are exposed to the brunt of the rain and snow, and durable, moisture-resistant cedar shakes and shingles can prevent your roof from rotting and leaking.

Although all woods expand and shrink with atmospheric temperatures, this is minimal with cedar. The wood maintains its structural dimensions even in periods of dramatic temperature changes. It's also resistant to insects and fungal pathogens.

If you would like to purchase cedar wood through a private retailer, rather than have your contractor buy it, then check out Rocky Mountain Forest Products.

Use Proper Ventilation Techniques

Air that's being circulated doesn't have the ability to retain nearly as much humidity as air that's stagnant and still. It's particularly important to run an exhaust fan in bathrooms. laundry rooms, and kitchens when household occupants are in the process of bathing, doing laundry, or cooking. Also, if you've got an air conditioning unit in your home, remember to check it often to make certain that its air ducts are free of mold and other fungal growth. Otherwise, your AC system will be blowing spores throughout the interior atmosphere of your home.

  • A low cost alternative to running exhaust fans in the rooms mentioned above is to simply open a window whenever possible.
  • You should also make certain that appliances that use vents such as dryers and stoves are vented to the exterior of the home -- many vents lead to attic spaces, and this puts humidity right back into the home's interior atmosphere.

You can also choose to use waterproof paint on interior surfaces such as walls as well as use foam or fiberglass insulation. Keep in mind that creating and maintaining a home environment that is conducive to keeping humidity levels down will require a combination of several strategies.