Common Humidity Control Problems in New Homes
You might expect new construction to be perfect, but this is rarely the case. Even if your home is structurally sound and up to code, you may notice upon moving in that you experience some humidity problems, especially if you live in a hot, humid climate to begin with. Unless your house is sealed tight like a drum and equipped with proper ventilation (like a heat recovery ventilator, for example), the outdoor environment is going to affect your interior atmosphere. And while you can certainly hope that leaky pipes aren’t a problem for many years to come when you buy a brand new structure, you just never know what quality of construction you’re buying into, so it pays to understand what can happen if you fail to address moisture control problems, as well as how you can go about dealing with humidity issues in your home.
If you’re experiencing moisture problems indoors, there could be a few significant side effects, and you might not even realize the humidity is high until you start to see the warning signs. Mold and mildew tend to be the most visible indicators of excess moisture in your home, and they may show up in expected areas like the bathroom, kitchen, or basement, or you might find them in odd places. If mold or mildew only seems to be confined to one location where you wouldn’t expect moisture, you may have a leak somewhere that needs to be fixed. Of course, you may also see accompanying water stains, which should help you to pinpoint the problem. In a way, this could be a blessing since the source will be relatively easy to find and fix for good.
Whole-home moisture is a much larger problem and it could lead to serious issues like rot in your home, as well as health issues related to respiration. Excessive moisture could lead to coughs, colds, and even pneumonia, and it can certainly intensify asthma or allergy symptoms. And fixing the problem is going to entail a lot more than simply plugging a leak and repairing water-damaged materials. You’re going to have to take a holistic approach to the problem, starting with pinpointing areas where air is leaking between the seams.
A home energy audit can help you here, since the professional technician that conducts the inspection and tests will deliver a report detailing any areas of poor insulation or air leaks. From there you can seal leaks and beef up insulation in order to protect your home. However, you’ll also need to install proper ventilation to compensate for the airtightness and lack of air flow. But even with a home that’s practically hermetically sealed, you may still experience humidity problems. In this case you should turn to the moisture-reducing features provided by dehumidifiers. Purchasing portable units is relatively inexpensive and you can place them throughout your home wherever they’re needed most. Or you could simply install a whole-home system attached to your HVAC. Of course, if you’ve bought into the advantages of the ductless mini split units, you won’t necessarily have this option. But there are still plenty of ways to identify humidity problems and solve them when you know what to watch for.