How Humidity (or Dryness) Can Wreck Your Home

How Humidity (or Dryness) Can Wreck Your Home

Taryn Williford
Feb 14, 2011

Maintaining the proper humidity level goes a long way towards making your home comfortable. But if you haven't yet invested in a humidifier or dehumidifier for the air quality, let us give you another reason: Having too wet or too dry air can actually wreck your home.

You might not think a humidifier or dehumidifier is necessary outside of the desert or tropics. But you could be simulating those harsh climates inside your home each time you run the heater or cook up a storm.

Air comes into your house with a certain amount of humidity from the climate outside. But cooking, bathing and doing laundry can all create water vapor and raise the humidity level in your home. And running your heating system does nothing to add moisture to the dry winter air outside, leaving you in an indoor desert without a humidifier.

Everything from your floors to your ceiling fan can benefit from the addition of humidity control:

  • A too-dry home can see it's wall paneling, wood trim and hardwood flooring shrink, causing joints to open.
  • A dry home can develop cracks in drywall and plaster.
  • A too-wet home might see wooden features, like paneling, floors and fan blades, warp and bend.
  • Excess humidity can produce enough condensation to stain ceilings and walls and cause flaking paint and peeling wallpaper.
  • If the humidity of a home is too high, it can lead to the corrosion of metal components and circuits inside your appliances.

To get started on the path to humidity nirvana, measure the humidity level in your home with an inexpensive hygrometer.

A humidity level of around 45 percent is ideal. If you're above or below, invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier to keep your home and appliances looking and running their best.

(Images: Flickr member Old Shoe Woman licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member pealco licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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