Get rid of house humidity: few tips
Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air and when excessive moisture is present in the home this allows dampness and the growth of bacteria, mould and fungi which can be harmful to our health, say the World Health Organization (WHO). Our bodies respond to humidity by sweating which cools us down, but where you have humidity in the home above a certain level, it causes us to feel uncomfortable and to have other problems like allergic reactions to the organisms that thrive in wet conditions. And because of this, we need to get rid of house humidity, or at least control it.
Not all humidity is bad however, we need some moisture in the air to prevent problems of dry skin irritation, dehydration, breathing difficulties, static electricity and cracking of wood, for example. According to the WHO, we need 30-50% humidity indoors with seasonal variations, to keep us comfortable with allergens at bay. And humidity can be measured with a device called a hygrometer which is widely available in hardware stores or online. The problems with high humidity indoors are that it can cause:
- - Condensation leading to damp and mould and ideal environments for house pests, such as clothes moths, fleas, cockroaches, woodlice and dust mites.
- Allergic reactions to house pests, such as asthma and breathing difficulties in those with respiratory problems.
- Thermal discomfort where we generally feel hot, bothered and sweaty and often lose sleep in such conditions.
- Destruction of soft furnishings, furniture and building fabric
Because of these problems together with the fact that we spend more time indoors during colder months, with more cooking and clothes drying, means that we need to be especially vigilant at this time of year.
Prevention is definitely better than cure in this case as once signs of excessive humidity are visible in the form of damp, mould, housepests or allergic reactions, it is often then a much harder task to cure and get rid of house humidity.
The following is a general guide to help prevent or failing that, to cure excessive humidity in the home. And while we should not aim to get rid of house humidity entirely, we should aim to control it to between 30-50%.:
- Ventilate! To let steam out and allow air to circulate (but not enough to make the house draughty) especially in areas that create moisture, such as bathroom and kitchen.
- Turn heating up or where necessary invest in a humidifier - the proliferation of fungi in your home for example might be caused by an extremely humid environment as well as a not humid enough one, therefore both could be helpful in balancing the moisture content in the air.
- Manage your hot and steamy activities, such as moving clothes-drying in winter to a well-ventilated, warmed environment such as conservatory.
- Use bleach regularly to remove mould from walls.