Musty House

How to Help a Musty Home

We’ve all been there. You walk into a home and instantly feel musty. It’s in the smell and feel of the air. Now, what if that home is your home? Is it safe to live in such an environment? This is what we found ourselves in when we bought our home that felt like we stepped right back into the 1970s. We got right to work figuring out why it was so musty and what we could do about it because I couldn’t stand the feeling for one more minute.

High Humidity

High humidity is a big problem in homes. Not only is it uncomfortable, it can cause a whole host of health issues. Breathing and digestive issues are the most common ailments people experience in high humidity situations. Some people have allergic reactions or suffer asthma-like symptoms as a result.

Your health isn’t the only concern, though; high humidity can wreak havoc on your home too. You may start to see mold growth, which has its own host of problems. You may also have condensation on your windows or have an ‘odor’ to your home. Eventually, you may get used to the smell, but when visitors come over, they are sure to smell it right away. Not only is it embarrassing, it can be damaging to your health.

Knowing how to get rid of high humidity is the key.

Get Rid of the Moisture

Your first step is to get rid of the moisture. This sounds easy, but it requires a few steps and a lot of sleuthing.

Walk around your home and look for obvious signs of moisture. Are there any leaking faucets or pipes? Make sure that you look under cabinets and at faucets that you don’t use often. Leaks are often found in the most unforeseen places. Don’t forget about the toilets too – small leaks can lead to big problems.

Also, check the exhaust fans in the bathrooms. Do they work? Do you use them? It could be a situation where no one uses the fan yet takes hot showers every day – the humidity adds up and leads to big issues in your home.

Other areas you can check include:

  • Dryer vents
  • Roof leaks (get a professional to check for you)
  • Foundation leaks
  • Excessive use of a humidifier

Taking the Necessary Steps

Once you know the culprit, it’s time to take action. First, get a dehumidifier. Use it in the rooms that seem to have the most humidity. If you can afford it, I do recommend buying a whole house humidifier, but if you can’t, a portable one will work for the time being.

Next, you need to increase the home’s ventilation. The cheapest way is to open windows and doors. Of course, if you live in the frigid temperatures, that may not always be possible. As often as you can, though, open those windows and get that air circulating.

Even on the days that you can open the windows, it’s imperative that you use the fans throughout your home. The bathroom and kitchen are the two most crucial places. Every time someone showers, turn on the fan. Let it run for a few minutes after the shower too. Also, turn on any fans in the kitchen, family room, or laundry area whenever you run an appliance that involves moisture – sink, dishwasher, and washing machine.

Make Repairs

Unfortunately, sometimes fixing the humidity level in the home requires a little investment. Check your windows. Are they inefficient? They may be letting moisture into the home. Upgrading the windows can help with your home’s efficiency and decrease the moisture – you kill two birds with one stone. In addition, new windows typically help your home’s value, so you’ll see a return on your investment.

Pay for a professional inspection of your plumbing, the roof, and the foundation. Leaks can’t always be seen with the naked eye, especially an untrained eye. Professionals can come in and spot the issue right away. In fact, the sooner you do this, the better. I waited too long to get my roof inspected. The leak got so bad that we ended up with mold growth throughout the home. Eventually, I had to replace the whole roof or run the risk of having to pay for mold remediation.

If you think the moisture has affected your carpeted flooring, consider replacing it. Ideally, replacing the carpeting with hardwood will help reduce the risk of excess moisture in the home. You can see moisture on hardwood – you can’t see it on carpeting. This is another hefty investment in your home, but you’ll see a nice return on your investment because of it.

The most important thing you can do is find the source of the humidity issue. Letting the issue continue only creates more expensive repairs. Plus it’s bad for your health. Trust me, I dealt with respiratory issues for months before we figured out what was going on. I wish I had known that it was something as simple as the humidity levels in my home. Now that I know, I will keep a careful eye on my home’s humidity levels and call out the professionals right away should I see an issue.