Fighting Back Against Salina Weather through Dehumidification
For any property owner or manager living through the unpredictable seasons of Salina, Kansas, the saying, “It’s not the heat! It’s the humidity!” probably rings true. And those high humidity days don’t just affect your hair or general comfort; they can also affect the very structure of your home. High humidity levels can dampen the organic materials of your home, including wood and insulation, and anywhere that there is poor ventilation, such as in basements or attics, there is a risk of moisture buildup.
That buildup of moisture can feed the mold already present in the environment. That’s right; a certain level of mold passively exists in every environment. But these levels are generally completely safe! Spores can float harmlessly through the air until they are over-exposed to moisture, at which point they begin to eat, root, and spread.
Prevention through Attention
That’s right! When it comes to mold and moisture, the best offense is a good defense. By monitoring and maintaining consistently safe humidity levels throughout your home, you can stop any mold problem before it starts. At or below 55% humidity, your indoor environment should be protected from new growth. You can check your levels with an affordable humidity gauge, sometimes called a hygrometer.
What is a Hygrometer?
Hygrometers range from simple to complex, but they are all essentially sensors that are intended to measure humidity levels. Hygrometers are designed to measure the quantity of water held in the atmosphere by using the temperature of condensation or by comparing changes in electrical capacitance or resistance. The science behind them aside, these days most hygrometers have digital screens and usage is as simple as switching yours on and reading the output humidity percentage. Some hygrometers can even record data or keep track of humidity levels over time. From simple to complex, using one of these tools can be the easiest way to stay on top of your indoor humidity levels.
However, if a hygrometer isn’t readily available, here are some other signs you can look for when humidity becomes a concern:
- Condensation in colder months: if you notice frequent fogging or water droplets forming on the inside of glass windows or exposed surfaces
- Visible mildew or visible mold: this is one of the most late-stage, telltale signs of excessive humidity
- Material warping: peeling or bubbling of paint or laminate surfaces could be the result of high humidity
- Hair: having a bad hair day? Though slight increases aren’t always physically noticeable, your body may register a more sudden uptick in humidity levels. So if you notice extra frizzy hair or a swampy feeling to the skin, a high humidity percentage may be the culprit
Reducing Indoor Percentage with Dehumidification
Okay, so you’ve been monitoring your home humidity levels, and they are on the rise…now what? Thanks to your vigilance, you may be ahead of the mold curve. But in any case, alongside testing our goal should be to reduce sources of excess moisture. Otherwise, any problems are likely to return. Moisture reduction takes on many forms at varying price points, so it can be best, to begin with affordable solutions. We recommend some of the following:
- Improved ventilation: for any enclosed areas, try to improve ventilation by clearing blockages and making sure any air ducts are unobstructed and working. In any area that is sealed, we recommend placing fans for circulation during high humidity periods.
- Home repair: leaky pipe, drippy AC unit? These are problem areas that can undermine any efforts to maintain healthy humidity levels and prevent mold growth. As part of implementing any serious maintenance strategy, it is critical to reducing unwanted extra water sources. Check prime culprits like leaky roofs, old pipes, and dripping ventilation units. Even an unsealed window becomes a repeat offender on rainy days. Cut off the problem at its source.
- Using a dehumidifier: once the environmental factors are accounted for, one or more dehumidifiers can be tremendously helpful in maintaining desired indoor humidity levels. A well-placed dehumidifier will help remove excess moisture from the air. There are also whole-house dehumidifiers, which can be installed as free-standing units or alongside your home’s central heat and air, though both times are more expensive solutions.
If you live in a high humidity area like Salina in its muggiest months, then a dehumidifier can be a great tool for maintaining a mold-limiting humidity level. These days, there are so many options on the market priced for a wide range of budgets that it can be difficult to know where to start.
What to Look for When Choosing a Dehumidifier
When shopping for a dehumidifier, pay attention to size (or area of effect), type, and efficiency level.
- Size: as a general rule of thumb, a simple dehumidifier intended for small, single-room use will hold about 10 pints of water for 500 square feet, and require another 4 pints of capacity for every additional 500 square feet. But for very damp problem areas, you may need to go beyond this capacity. Typically, any worthwhile unit will specify the square footage they are capable of supporting.
- Efficiency: we recommend prioritizing efficiency for a device running around the clock. The last thing you need is an overpriced electric bill. Any Energy Star-rated units should use at least (approximately) 15% less energy compared to conventional units.
- Type: there are three primary categories of dehumidifiers – desiccant, refrigerant, and the whole house. Each type is different and offers different advantages and drawbacks. For budget solutions, compare desiccant and refrigerant dehumidifiers. For a more long-term, once-and-for-all solution, whole house dehumidifiers maybe your best option.
The minutiae of moisture maintenance can be a headache! But a damaging mold infestation is far worse. Developing a moisture reduction strategy protects both you and your home, now and for the long-term. Tackling the problem and worried about current moisture or mold levels? We provide all kinds mold services which includes: mold removal, mold assessment, mold inspection, mold remediation and mold testing services in Salina. Feel free to give us a call, we offer 24/7 emergency services, 888-609-9670. At Lamunyon, we want the best for you! Don’t hesitate to take care of your biggest investments: your health and your home.