Why is my house damp?
How to reduce dampness in your home
As the days are getting shorter we head towards that time of year when a lot of Kiwis may start seeing condensation on their windows when they wake up after a cold night. Is your house one of the one in five that are damp in New Zealand and if so, what can you do about it?
In our last blog post we explored what dampness is and how it comes about, so let's tackle the problem of getting rid of it!
But first, let's recap how it is created so that we can understand how to reduce it. In short, dampness is caused by excess moisture. Moisture in the home is introduced in many different ways, for example by cooking, showering, washing and even breathing!
A regular family can produce astonishing amounts of moisture without knowing it:
- Breathing actively can produce 0.2 litres per hour per person
- Drying clothes inside can add 5 litres of moisture per load
- Cooking can add up to 3 litres a day
- Showers and baths produce 1.5 litres per person per day.
- One person spending an average of 14 hours (including sleep) at home will produce 0.03 litres of sweat every hour.
No wonder so many of our homes are unhealthy! Obviously we can’t stop undertaking these activities – they are all part of normal living and in some cases life itself.
High levels of moisture that doesn't have anywhere to escape can however cause damage to your furniture, interiors and house structure, as well as encouraging the growth of mould and mildew that can cause serious health problems for you and your family. So what can you do about this?
While the creation of moisture in your home is unavoidable – it will always be there – it is important to try to reduce it as much as possible. Below we put together a few tips for you, some of them you can start implementing straight away:
Hang your laundry outside
The first thing you can do is starting to remove as much moisture as you can at the source. As you saw from the statistics above drying a load of laundry can product as much as 5 litres of moisture in your home if you hang it inside, so take it outdoors if you can!
Put a lid on it
Start putting lids on your pots and pans when you cook, this does not only reduce moisture getting released into the kitchen but it also helps you save energy. In addition you should make sure that you have a good kitchen rangehood installed above your stove, that can extract the cooking steam and odours outside.
Open doors and windows
Try to open the windows and doors for a few minutes every day to air the house out – although this may not an option all year around. A basic rule is that if it’s too wet outside to hang your washing out – then it’s too wet to open up your windows to avoid getting damp air in too!
Sometimes dehumidifiers can be effective for targeting moisture in specific rooms, but they don’t have the power to “dehumidify” the whole house and improve air circulation – making this a more short-term solution rather than a long-term solution. Depending on which model you have they can also become quite expensive to run if you have them on all day and night.
Extract ventilation in bathroom
Make sure you have extract ventilation in the bathroom to give the moisture from showers and baths a place to escape. Close the bathroom door and open a window while you shower to further increase the effectiveness of your bathroom extract fan, and put the extractor fan on a few minutes before you shower and leave it on a few minutes after until most the moisture has cleared.
Install a whole house ventilation system
The most effective long-term solution is a whole house home ventilation system. This will provide adequate year round ventilation at all times – even when the house is closed up all day while you are at work or school (when we can start going there again!) and even when you might be away longer periods of time like on holidays.
Ventilation systems bring in fresh, dry, filtered air into your home, replacing the stale, moist air. This will minimise rot and mould, resulting in a healthier house for your family to live in and healthier air to breathe. Furthermore, dry air is easier to heat than moist air, so this will ease the workload of your heat pump or other what source, which will save you money on your energy bill.
At Unovent we have ventilation systems for all your needs, including both balanced and positive pressure ventilation systems for the whole house as well as extract ventilation for bathrooms, kitchen and attics.
If you want to want help reducing the dampness in your home, give us a call! Our team is still working throughout the lockdown period and happy to help you choose a system that is right for your needs. We will work with you to find a suitable time for installation as soon as it is safe to do so so that you and your family can start breathing fresher air as soon as possible.
Unovent's Xgen - Revolutionary home ventilation
Unovent's Xgen is a game changer in home air ventilation. Designed in New Zealand for New Zealand conditions, it is less expensive and cheaper to run than other systems. Using only 12 Volts, like many LED lights, the ceiling-mounted Xgen draws filtered, dry air from the roof cavity to help maintain airflow and healthier air quality. The Unobrain®’s smart sensor detects temperature and humidity and automatically turns the fan on to help reduce moisture and condensation.