We spend the majority of our days inside our homes, not just to rest and be with family but to do other important activities as well. Working from home has become the norm in recent years and even indoor exercising and gardening have rapidly become trends.
Needless to say, we want to feel safe and comfortable as much as we can under our own roof. But what if you find out your comfort is at risk because of a simple element like water?
Dehumidifiers are often touted as a solution to many moisture problems. But is that true? Are dehumidifiers worth it?
Do You Really Need A Dehumidifier?
Depending on your climate, a dehumidifier is recommended and a nice addition to your home. Home comfort is a science of controlling heat flow and airflow through air sealing and insulation. But the other critical factor is getting a good handle on moisture so a dehumidifier can be essential.
What Is Moisture Control And Why Is It Important?
Moisture control is the process of managing the amount of water or condensation in a given space. There are three primary means for water to move through the cavities of our homes and weaken its structure: 1) via air movement, 2) distribution through materials and 3) via heat transfer.
It is crucial to perform moisture control measures because it 1) makes your home more energy-efficient, 2) contributes to a healthier indoor environment, and 3) improves the indoor air quality and overall comfort.
How Can Moisture Be Dangerous?
When we think of water damage, our minds may immediately go to heavy rainfall, snowstorm, and flash floods. These devastations are pretty visible and mainly affect the external parts of the house such as the roof, exterior walls, or garages. Large-scale areas indoors like the main floor can also be impacted, and they are mostly hard-to-miss damages.
But seemingly small amounts of water can also cause serious ruin if left untreated. Conversely, these tiny portions of condensation are so sneaky, they could be secretly harming your interior walls, attic, and basement, or crawlspace.
Water behaves predictably in varying temperatures. If it is hot enough, the liquid will become vapor and stay that way as long as the temperature does not drop. But if the air in a given space can no longer carry the amount of vapor, the excess moisture will condense when it makes contact with a cold surface.
Significant quantities of water on surfaces for a prolonged time can weaken its structure and ultimately destroy it. Wood, drywall, insulation, and cement are susceptible to moisture damage.
What is Moisture Control?
Moisture aims to lessen the negative effects of natural elements involving water in the environment. These include humidity and temperature changes due to climate switches.
Besides identifying susceptible materials to water damage, moisture control involves locating problematic areas around the house. These sections are hard-to-reach places and less noticeable like the different kinds of foundations and attics.
Knowing how water quietly enters your home is also essential. There are three ways moisture can seep through vulnerable materials.
- Via air movement. As air can hold water, it can also transport it from outdoors to indoors, and to different parts of your residence. In fact, the movement of air in a residence is responsible for 98% of transferring vapor. Moisture-laden air comes through gaps, crevices, or any openings around the house. The best cure is to adequately air seal your home to cover any unwanted holes that let in water vapor.
- Distribution through materials. Water can also be distributed or diffused through materials that are not water-resistant. Diffusion is the migration of water molecules from high moisture concentration to areas with low concentration. Ignoring the pull of gravity, water can “wick up” like in a candle via tiny pores in the foundations. The obvious signs of this capillary action are the white lines creeping on the interior walls. Moisture diffusion can be solved through the use of vapor barriers or retarders.
- Via heat transfer. Heat flow is a natural process quietly taking place in our homes. Heat moves from warmer places to cold ones. Along with its movement is moisture, which can disintegrate any house’s components if left unchecked for long periods. One effective way to prevent heat transfer from carrying an uncontrollable amount of moisture is proper insulation.
Why Is A Dehumidifier Important?
A responsible homeowner will be mindful as to how much moisture his home requires, and then remove any excess with a dehumidifier. In the process, it will yield great advantages for years to come.
1. Energy Efficiency
Our trusty HVAC systems not only cool or warm up homes to a comfortable degree, but also keep the space dry. Dehumidifying is a great contributor to a cozy home, yet it requires a sizable amount of energy to accomplish.
If there is an excessive amount of moisture in your living spaces, your air conditioner or heating systems will continuously run over time, leaving you with high energy bills month-on-month. To top it off, pricy repair or replacement expenses would ensue if your AC and furnaces get burned out because of immoderate use.
Performing moisture control measures such as air sealing, insulation, and ventilation will generate savings in the long run. It might also delay the need of having to replace expensive equipment such as cooling and heating devices.
Lack of moisture makes a space dehydrated and stale. But too much water risks dampness and incessant mold growth.
Minor and serious health hazards can occur because of mishandled moisture in a residence. These include allergic reactions to molds, asthma, and other respiratory issues. Children, the elderly, members of the family with immunodeficiency and chronic lung problems are the most susceptible to negative reactions to mold and mildew.
Damp spaces can also be a perfect haven for pests and insects. Small animals and pesky insects could then leave toxic droppings or excrements that may lead to various illnesses.
The safety of your family can also be compromised by burst pipes and electrical damage. Simple element as it is, too much moisture can weaken the integrity of the pipes and cause them to explode. Electrical wirings that commonly run through damp spaces such as the crawlspace and basements are vulnerable to short-circuiting that may eventually lead to a house fire.
Concentrating moisture control measures on problematic areas such as the attic, crawlspaces, and basements will help you preserve your family’s health, safety, and wellbeing.
Most homeowners pay big bucks to keep their abodes a cozy refuge. Costly heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems seem not that expensive if it means a more comfortable home. Other renovation projects also come with significant prices such as air sealing and insulation.
However, moisture control sometimes takes the last place in consideration. This should not be the case because the water in the air plays a huge role in temperature regulation. Even with the help of a sophisticated HVAC in place, your home might still be too hot, too cold, and too humid for your liking.
Increased relative humidity indoors is easily felt and can be quite unnerving.
Water vapor barriers or diffusion retarders are exceptional solutions to the moisture problems as they lessen, if not eliminate, the chance for moisture to seep through tricky areas such as the foundations. Common vapor retarders are made of glass, sheet metal, polyethylene sheet, or rubber membrane.