Many homeowners may not be aware of the potential health concerns associated with excess or insufficient humidity levels in the home. Maintaining accurate humidity levels are beneficial in a number of ways:
Two types of humidifiers are available - portable or installed. A portable humidifier can be placed in any room, but only affects a small area. An installed humidifier is fixed right into your furnace, and increases moisture levels in the whole house. However, installed humidifiers tend to get clogged up and need to undergo regular cleanings for mold and dust.
Humidifiers are also available with warm or cool misting functions. Warm mist humidifiers emit balmy moisture and are more suited to cool climates, whereas cool mist humidifiers emit a fresh mist more suited to hot, arid climates.
Sometimes homes will require a dehumidifier instead of a humidifier. Dehumidifiers take the moisture out of areas when the humidity levels are too high. Although dehumidifiers are not capable of eliminating large amounts of water, they are successful in eliminating moisture on the walls, ceilings and floors, preventing structural damage.
Basements get wet either because of condensing water on the inside of the walls or because of water leaking in from the outside of the walls. Basements leak for various reasons. If your lawn slopes toward your house, your basement will eventually leak, as sloped lawns allow surface water (from rain and melting snow) to drain toward basement walls, so water can enter through cracks in the foundation casing. This will cause wet spots on the walls and standing water on the floor.
Basements can also leak as a result of clogged or broken gutters that allow roof water to form puddles against your basement walls and enter via cracks in the foundation.
To truly solve water problems in your basement, obviously external issues like gutters or lawn slope need to be fixed. Minor leaks in the foundation can be sealed with a waterproofing compound. More serious leaks may require the installation of drainage tiles around the inside of the foundation. A dehumidifier can help with condensation, as can proper ventilation.
An important means of ventilation is using exhaust fans. Exhaust fans throughout a home will help cool the air within and disperse unwanted moisture, steam, odors and smoke. Exhaust fans are most prominently featured in the kitchen and bathroom, but the attic should not be forgotten.
Bathroom fans - work to keep your paint and wallpaper intact, and also do their best to rid the bathroom of mold-harboring moisture that can accumulate on the bathroom ceiling and around the bathroom tub, toilet and sink.
Kitchen fans - are installed in a range hood so they can best get rid of cooking smells, cooking moisture and smoke due to burnt food.
Attic fans - will increase ventilation in your attic, force hot, stale air outside and prevent moisture build-up. A well-ventilated attic will prevent condensation damage to your ceilings and walls, protect your insulation from moisture and mold decay, prevent ice dams, reduce home cooling and heating costs, make your home's interior more comfortable and prolong the life of your roof.