You know your rental unit has too much humidity when the windows in your home fog up, making it difficult to tell what the weather is like outside. WHile too little humidity can lead to dry skin and bloody noses, too much humidity can lead to excessive heat in the home as well as structural damage. In some extreme cases, it can even cause damage to the structure of your home.
Most homes should have a humidity level between 30% to 50%, but if your home has a higher level, then it’s time to get it under control before the humidity causes real trouble. Here’s why your home’s humidity levels are high and how you can bring them back down.
Reasons for high humidity indoors
There are several reasons why the humidity in your rental property may be higher than it should be. Once you understand what’s causing it, then you can work to lower it.
The design of the home and the construction materials used for it might be playing a role in the excess humidity. Homes with little air flow tend to trap and hold humidity. In bathrooms without an exhaust fan, the hot air from the shower has nowhere to go (unless the user cracks a window every time he or she showers), so it hangs in the air, potentially causing mold.
While you do want a rental unit with good insulation, too much insulation around windows can stop the airflow of your home, potentially keeping too much warm air inside. On the other hand, too little insulation can let humidity into your home.
Climate can also contribute to the humidity in a rental unit. In Washington, DC, the heat and humidity skyrocket, meaning you’ll be running fans and air conditioners all summer long. If your home has poor airflow or insulation, then the humidity can become trapped, making your home feel sticky and your body feel clammy.
Of course, if the air conditioner itself is too big for your apartment, then the unit will turn on and off too frequently, which will stop the unit from pulling humidity out of the air. If you’re a landlord adding an AC unit to your rental property, make sure you choose one that is the correct size.
If you’re unsure that your home has too much humidity, then there are ways to tell. If there is too much humidity, then the house or apartment will feel hot and sticky, like you just stepped out of the shower. Even if you’re not moving, you’ll have a hard time keeping your body from sweating. As mentioned, you’ll also see moisture building up on the windows. Mold may also develop in damp, dark places around the home as a result of too much humidity. Mold thrives in damp and dark spaces, so poor airflow and too much humidity will create the perfect environment for mold to grow.
5 ways to lower humidity in a house or an apartment
Once you know you have too much humidity in your home, there are ways you can stop it from building up and keep your home’s environment enjoyable. Here are a few easy solutions:
Ventilate in kitchens and bathrooms
Both of these rooms build up humidity easily. Whether you’re cooking or bathing, all of that steam will rise up and become trapped in the room if there is no ventilation or air flow.
In the kitchen, add a ceiling fan and make sure all the windows open to allow air to move in and out of the room. If you have a range above the stove, then it should have a fan, which can help circulate the air when someone is cooking.
In the bathroom, install an exhaust fan if you can. That might not be possible in older homes in Washington, DC, but it’s the best way to control humidity in the room. If you cannot add an exhaust fan, make sure you crack a window when showering. If you’re a landlord, remind your tenant to do this when he or she moves in.
Take short, cool showers
A hot shower will create steam that will hang in the air long after you’ve turned off the shower. If your bathroom does not have an exhaust fan, then it’s best to take shorter, cooler showers when possible. This is more important in the summer, but showers should also be kept shorter in the wintertime since you don’t want that window open for long.
Turn on fans
Keeping the fans going throughout your house will increase your air circulation and keep your humidity levels down. Ceiling fans in the living room and bedroom can be on all day if needed.
Fans use less electricity than AC units, but if you’re concerned about wasting energy, renters can buy small, postable fans with timers so the fans aren’t running all night. If you’re a landlord, opt to install fans with speed control. If renters keep a fan in the living room going on all night, then at least they can use a lower setting to decrease the amount of electricity used.
If you haven’t installed fans in most rooms of the house, consider it to keep temperatures and humidity levels in check. A little extra work there might save you from massive humidity problems later.
Do not overwater indoor plants
Those with a green thumb love having lots of indoor plants, but all plants release moisture into the air, which could increase the humidity in the air. You don’t have to throw out your plants, but you should be very careful not to overwater your house plants. Doing so may release too much moisture into the air, causing humidity levels to rise.
Keep indoor temperatures relative to outdoor temperatures
On hot 90-degree days, it’s hard not to keep the AC unit or fans running constantly, but if the house or apartment is too cold, then humidity levels may rise. In general, your home’s temperature should be between 68 and 78 degrees, depending on the time of the year.
Too much humidity in the air can make a home, renter or owned, unbearable to live in. If you rent your home, contact your landlord or property management company to see what can be done about the humidity. At Atlas Lane, we know renters hate too much humidity, but it’s not good for landlords — or their bottom lines — either. We work with both sides to come up with good solutions that encourage tenants to resign leases and protect the landlord’s investment property. Contact us today to learn more.