A Contact The Experts

Ask the Builder - Gary Demke

February 2007

Tips For Controlling Humidity In New Homes

Generally this time of year Amron Homes will get one or two calls from customers regarding window condensation. Some folks are concerned there may be something wrong with their new home.

Firstly to explain why condensation occurs we must understand exactly what condensation is. Condensation is the change of water vapour in the air to liquid water when it contacts a cooler surface. It occurs because air can only hold a limited amount of water vapour at any one temperature. The lower the temperature, the less amount of water vapour the air can hold.

Window surfaces in homes are cooler than the air surrounding it, so hence this is where condensation occurs.

Yes, new homes contain more moisture. As much as 36 litres of moisture a week is released from new building and finishing materials during the first 18 months of occupancy. New homes are far more air tight so they will hold more moisture not only from the building materials but from washing clothes, washing dishes, cooking, showering, and even house plants.

To control humidity we need to know how to reduce the amount of humidity we create.

Here are some pointers:

1) Don’t can your garden vegetables on a cold day with all the windows closed. (Cooking for a family of four generates 0.92 litres of moisture, so imagine what canning produces.)

2) Contain areas that generate lots of moisture, example bathrooms. Try to keep doors closed and fans running. Plus remember to keep showers short. (Each shower generates 0.23 litres of moisture. Does your family shower in the morning, turn off the bathroom fan and head for work and school?)

3) Reduce the number of live plants in the home, especially in the winter. (Plants generate around 0.48 litres of moisture per day.)

4) Turn on washing machines or dishwashers once with full loads rather than several times with partial loads. (Dishwashing generates 0.45 litres of moisture and washing clothes creates 1.96 litres of moisture.)

5) Shampoo carpets only in the summer.

6) Own an electric range. (A gas stove adds 1.24 litres of moisture a day.)

7) Externally vent your clothes dryer. (Non-vented introduces 11.97 litres of moisture.)

We also need to know how to control humidity that is already in our home and how to remove or lower it.

1) Open a window for a brief period to ventilate the home. (Outside winter air is very dry so it will immediately absorb moisture when it enters and leaves your home.)

2) Keep your furnace fan running continuously.

3) Ensure that cold air returns are not blocked by furniture.

4) Keep window coverings open when possible. Even remove bug screens so air can circulate.

5) Keep houseplants away from windows.

6) Operate your kitchen and bathroom fans even if not cooking or showering.

7) Open your fireplace damper to allow moisture to escape.

8) Don’t hang your clothing to dry inside the home.

I’ve really just touched on this issue but if you have any concerns or questions contact us @ Amron Homes 548-3137.



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