Clay’s Blog

Humidity and Your Home

Left unchecked high humidity can make an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, mold and fungi. Nobody wants that in a business or in their home.  Twenty years of HVAC experience lead to a very advanced humidity control protocol at Infinity Mixed Martial Arts to remove all the moisture after an evening of classes.  The humidity protocol in our home is far simpler but no less important to our health.  Most people don’t realize what the correct humidity can do to improve their quality of life but anyone with a respiratory illness will attest that humidity control is extremely important.

 

Humidity is both a blessing and a problem.  Too little humidity and your hardwood floors and furniture crack and squeak, your nose itches, asthmatics suffer.  Too much humidity and you get mold (fungi), dust mites and chemical interactions with the products in our homes.  Who hasn’t heard a horror story of black mold in a former grow-op home from the high heat and humidity?  In our climate it is fairly rare but not unheard of to have a home with too little humidity; Homes where the forced air furnace fan runs 24/7 without control can have this problem. This article will deal with lowering humidity but a de-humidistat as shown below, hooked to that constantly running furnace, may solve issues of low humidity as well.

 

 

Homes with many people, homes where the bathroom fans are inadequate, homes where all the windows are closed up tight all the time, homes with very little air circulation can have issues with high humidity.  Without using a gauge you can often still tell the humidity is high if there is water in the windows or mold on the window frames, the hard floors and hard surfaces feel damp, doors don’t fit well and stick plus hard-wood floors can buckle.

Note that windows and window frames, behind blinds that are always closed, can have humidity issues without the rest of the house having high humidity.  If this is the case in your home try tilting the blinds inward towards you and leaving them open a few millimeters, this allows warm air to rise through the blinds and the current will dry the window.  Blinds tilted away from you, whether open a little or not, do not allow the natural heat rise current between them.

 

Oddly we also often find homes left too cool have too much humidity.  One client left the house at 64F all the time and she couldn’t lower the humidity with the bathroom fans.  Once we heated the home up to 70F for a week the humidity evaporated into the air and was allowed to escape via bath fan.  This doesn’t mean she can’t turn the furnace down at night, it simply means the house needs air warm enough, for a long enough time, to evaporate and remove humidity.

 

Do you have a de-humidistat? or ever wondered what this thing is on your wall and what it does?  When you turn the dial you should hear an audible ‘click’ and then perhaps a faint fan noise somewhere in your home.

This ‘click’ point will give a good approximation of the current relative humidity in your home at the location of the dial.  You can see the word ‘off’ is at the high end of the humidity scale and the word ‘on’ is at the lower end of the numbers.  Therefore this dial turns something on if you want the humidity lower and turns it off if you want the humidity to get or remain higher.

 

 

In most homes this dial will turn on the fan in the shared bathroom at the highest point in your home.  In some homes it will turn on the forced air furnace circulation fan too.  If nothing happens when you turn the dial, check to see if the bath fan is already on because the bathroom was recently in use. Unfortunately in some homes it has simply been disconnected and no longer does anything.

 

Chances are if your house was built in the last 30 years you have a de-humidistat like this somewhere, from 1981 to 2007 a de-humidistat was standard in most homes and jurisdictions. If you have one of these do yourself a favour, set it for 45% and leave it alone.  If after two weeks the fan is still running check the dial to see how close you are to the set point, I will bet your humidity has dropped and you are fairly close.

 

Our home, though only 4 years old does, not contain a de-humidistat.  Even though we hang dry many of our clothes in the hallway our humidity sits at a fairly constant 46%.  How?  Three things; firstly there are always a MINIMUM of two windows open, to the ventilation stop, on our top floor;  Secondly one bath fan is always left on; thirdly our furnace fan is set to circulate 10 minutes of every hour.  The only exception to these settings is when an Arctic outflow drops the temperature and the humidity so low everybody suffers.

 

Ideal range is 45% to 50% for most people.  This seems to also be the recommendation from the major HVAC suppliers and health Canada, who widen that to 30% to 55%.  All agree though that anything over 55% is hazardous.

 

We hope this information has been of some help to you and wish you well.  Please do not hesitate to contact me at 778 809 4662 with HVAC and construction related Real Estate questions or call Johanna at 778 549 7972 for current market conditions and reports.  We are always here to help.

 

Clay and Johanna

The Importance of Showing your Home Often

Imagine coming across a “Home for Sale” listing on the internet. It’s in a community you’re seriously considering. You and your family are excited. You can hardly wait to view the property and see if it could be your next dream home. Then, there’s a problem. When you contact the agent, she ...

Continue Reading

Take a Walk on the Boardwalk (or Sidewalk)

If you’ve played the game Monopoly, you’ve probably picked up the Chance card that reads, “Take a walk on the Boardwalk. If you pass Go…” That’s good advice when shopping for a new home. When you see a property you like and you’re thinking of making an offer, spend some time ...

Continue Reading

Goal Setting Tips from the Motivational Masters

This is traditionally the time of year in which people set goals for the year ahead. But, unfortunately, most people who set goals – especially New Year’s resolutions – never achieve them. How do you beat the odds? Here is the rundown of what the most popular experts advise. Tony Robbins recommends ...

Continue Reading

Things to Check During the Weeks After Moving Day

When you purchase a new home, the most exciting day is closing day. That’s the day you take possession of the property and, in most cases, move in. But the process isn’t necessarily over. There are still some important details to take care of in the weeks and months after ...

Continue Reading

Don’t Forget Home Insurance

When you’re buying or selling a home, there are so many details to look after that it’s easy to miss something. One thing you don’t want to forget is insurance. Once your property has sold, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know the date that ownership of ...

Continue Reading

What to Look For, Room by Room

When viewing a home for sale, many buyers look at the property from a “macro” perspective. They ask themselves questions like: “Is it large enough?”; “Are there enough bedrooms?”; “Is it in a nice community?” While those questions are important, it also pays to consider a potential new home from ...

Continue Reading

How to Buy the Right Home, Quickly

You’re in a rush. You have just three weeks to find and buy the right home. Whoa! How are you going to make that happen?Don’t stress. Here are some tips that will help: • Get a pre-approved mortgage. With this document, you’ll know exactly what you can afford. A seller will ...

Continue Reading

Staging the Three Most Important Rooms

When your home is shown to potential buyers, every room is important. However, there are three types of rooms that buyers tend to pay particular attention to: kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. How do you make these rooms look great? Use these staging tips from professionals. In the kitchen, make sure the stove, ...

Continue Reading

Little Touch Ups that Make a Big Difference

You are probably already aware of the major things you need to do around your home to get it ready for sale. These include getting rid of clutter, doing minor repairs, and making everything clean and tidy so every room is as much of a showcase as possible. But there are ...

Continue Reading

When to Consider a less-than-ideal Home

Obviously, when you’re searching for a new home, you want to find one that is ideal. It should be your next dream home. However, sometimes it pays to consider at least some properties that don’t meet all your criteria. After all, you never know whether one of them is actually ...

Continue Reading