Does your home have a winter humidity problem?
We all need a certain amount of humidity inside our homes for our comfort and health. But too much or too little humidity can result in a host of problems, ranging from condensation on windows and moldy bathrooms, to far more serious problems such as permanent structural damage or respiratory allergies.
The most reliable way to measure the humidity in your home is with a hygrometer – a small, inexpensive and easy-to-use tool available at most hardware, department, building supply and electronics stores. In general, your indoor Relative Humidity (RH) should drop to about 30% in very cold weather.
If your house is too dry during the winter, it’s probably leaking too much air. Sealing up the house by weatherstripping and caulking will improve humidity conditions indoors and may reduce your heating bill at the same time.
If your house is too damp in the winter or there is excessive condensation on the windows, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a number of practical tips you can use to help solve your humidity hassles, including:
Make sure your home doesn’t have any excessive sources of moisture, such as a leaky or damp basement. If you do locate a source of excessive moisture, fix it as soon as possible before the coldest weather sets in.
If your house is still damp, try increasing the ventilation by leaving a bathroom fan running, and then check your hygrometer in a couple of days to see if the relative humidity has gone down. If you do see a drying effect, consider replacing a noisy or inefficient bathroom fan with a small, quiet and energy-efficient model that can run almost unnoticed, while also saving you energy and money.
Finally, for some homes, installing a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) can also be a good solution for winter dampness. While the installation costs for an HRV will be higher, they can also result in significant savings over the long run.
For more information or a free copy of the “About Your House” fact sheet Measuring Humidity In Your Home or other fact sheets on virtually every facet of owning, maintaining or renovating your home, ask CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit our website at www.cmhc.ca. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency and a source of objective, reliable housing information.
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