When humidity levels in your home rise, you’ll quickly feel its effects. Your hair turns frizzy. Your skin feels clammy. And every breath feels comparable to a day at the sauna.
But humidity does more than make you feel uncomfortable. High moisture levels in the air can also damage your home. If left unchecked, humidity contributes to mould growth and wood rot. Over time, your wood trim and furniture will soften, flake and crumble.
While a dehumidifier can solve some of your problems, you can follow a few more steps to ensure your home stays comfortable and dry.
1. Cover Pots While Cooking
No matter if you want to steam vegetables, boil eggs or fry chicken, your cooking will likely let off a lot of water vapour. Whenever possible, cover your pots and pans while you cook to trap in moisture and conserve energy.
If you must cook in an open pot or pan, disperse some of the steam through a vented range hood and open kitchen windows to improve air circulation.
2. Turn On Your Air Conditioner
Humidity can make cold air feel cooler. If humidity has you feeling chilled, you might feel reluctant to turn on your air conditioner.
However, many air conditioning units feature a ‘dry’ mode that you can turn on without necessarily cooling your home. When dry mode runs, your unit will run the fan at low speeds to improve air circulation and remove extra humidity in the air.
3. Take Colder and Shorter Showers
As with cooking food, showers and baths generate a lot of steam. The steam, in turn, contributes to your humidity levels, and as a result, you’ll likely find more mould growth and wood rot in your bathroom than in your living room.
If your bathroom has a ventilation fan, make sure to use it whenever you take a soak in the tub or hop in the shower. Run the fan until the mirrors and windows no longer look steamy, approximately 15 to 20 minutes after you’ve turned off the water.
When your ventilation fan doesn’t work, crack open a window to allow the air to escape outdoors. You can also reduce your total shower time and lower your water temperature to minimise humidity levels
4. Don’t Overwater Your Plants
Your houseplants absorb water like a sponge, and on more than one occasion, you’ve prodded at the dirt containing your orchids and discovered it had gone bone dry in just a few days. Naturally, you might assume that your flowers and greens would suck any moisture they could from the air to survive.
But though some plant species love humidity, all house plants give off water vapour through tiny holes in their leaves (a process called transpiration). In fact, most plants lose approximately 90% of their water supply in this way, and your home’s humidity levels will jump up as a result.
If household humidity levels seem unmanageable, only water your plants when they feel completely dry. Temporarily place houseplants outdoors, or position most of them in a single, well-ventilated room in your home.
As you select plants for your home, choose species that absorb some water vapour from the air, such as the peace lily or English ivy. Consider plants that also require minimal watering, such as succulents. But remember that no matter which plants you choose, most species will transpire more than they absorb, so don’t mistake them for natural dehumidifiers.
Talk to a Professional About Repairing the Damage
The above tips and techniques can keep moisture levels to a minimum, significantly reducing the likelihood of rot and mould growth. However, if your home has already suffered damage, simply cutting the humidity levels won’t be enough to restore your wood. Talk to a contractor about repairing or replacing your damaged trim.