It's no secret that the most persistent problem plaguing many homes is humidity and water damage. This is a particular nuisance in sub-tropical regions like Southeast Asia. But what many people don't know is that humidity is a growing problem in households around the world. Modern homes are more tightly constructed and better insulated than ever before. But this means that our homes don't breathe. There are no gaps that let slips of air and in and of the house.
This is a real problem in newer homes that are full of highly processed materials that emit harmful chemicals and toxins. Many experts claim this has led to an unprecedented rise in the amount of allergies and respiratory problems being reported. But even if you have escapes all the above problems, a home with humidity problems is almost certainly going to suffer from mould damage in future years.
So what is the good news in regards to humidity? Well, environmental experts are paying more and more attention to the quality of our air. This means the technology for combating humidity and purifying your air has advanced in recent years. Let's have a look at just a few key tips and tricks to beating humidity within the home.
Good ventilation is extraordinarily important when it comes to controlling excess moisture. The kitchen and bathroom are normally the areas most affected by humidity. So observe where the water vapour travels and ensure there is an adequate route for water to escape.
Ventilation can be both forced and natural. A good quality exhaust fan should be used over the cooktop and it's usually needed in the bathroom as well. It is also important to open up the doors, windows, vents or chimneys.
We need to allow our homes to breathe—but in all the right places. Cracks and gaps in the wall should be adequately sealed and caulked to prevent moisture entering the home. A dripping tap, chipped bathroom tile, inadequate storm water drain or a broken awning can each, over time very quietly wreak expensive damage on the home.
There are even insulation barriers that can be built outside the home. The image above shows how RenoBuild Algarve have erected a sort of envelope around the original walls of a home.
The good thing about a humid environment is that your houseplants will normally flourish and imbue the home with a lovely, green feel. But while plants may absorb water, they also release water and can easily compound the problem of excess moisture.
No need to throw out your beloved plants though! Just position them close to an outlet, vent or window so there is an outlet for that extra water. Over time you might even replace them with plants that both require and emit less water.
Moisture sensors can be handy installed around the house. They provide a precise indication of the humidity levels so issues can be tracked over them. The best part about them is that they can be integrated into air conditioning systems and dehumidifiers. When the humidity reaches a certain level they will automatically start the systems to start cleaning your air. If you are worried about your budget, hygrometers are a cheaper alternative.
It's common to balk at the price of a new air conditioner. But just consider that newer, energy-efficient air conditioners use almost half as much electricity as units from just ten or more years ago. Of course, they will also be more effective at cleaning the air. Be careful about running both an air conditioning unit and a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will force your air conditioning unit to work harder to cool the air. It is better to explore the options of using one single unit with an air-conditioning specialist.
Natural solutions are often the best when dealing with humidity. Try to create a cross-flow of air throughout the home and open doors and windows every day. If you are in the planning stages of building your home, discuss the issue of ventilation and cross-flow with your architect. You could design a passive system that combats almost all these problems before they even begin!
While you're in the mood, have a look at 10 things people with a clean house always do.