We tend to think of humidity as a summertime problem, when the air outside is often hot and sticky. But as uncomfortable as outdoor humidity can be during the hottest months, indoor humidity can be an even bigger problem during the winter months.
It’s during the coldest season when we spend the most time indoors, and some of the things we do around the house can put a lot of moisture in the air. With no open windows to help facilitate evaporation, that moisture gets trapped in the indoor air, creating a clammy sensation. In extreme cases, the high humidity can promote mold and mildew and damage wallpaper, drywall and wood.
To keep indoor humidity near normal levels during the winter, be thoughtful about the following habits:
Stay Drier With the Dryer
Hanging clean clothes out on the clothesline is the most energy efficient way to dry your laundry, but it’s not an option in freezing temperatures. As a result, homeowners sometimes hang clothes to dry indoors. But all that moisture has to go somewhere, and as your clothes dry, your indoor air gets wetter.
Some homeowners even disconnect their dryer vents to the outdoors so that the hot air the dryer expels will stay in the house. While it’s true that there is a warming effect, this introduces a massive amount of humidity into your home.
A nice, hot shower is one of the most satisfying experiences during the middle of winter, but the steam and condensation it produces can cause serious humidity issues in the home. If your bathroom has an exhaust fan, it’s especially important to use it during the coldest months.
If there is no exhaust fan, it’s important to do what you can to avoid too much condensation. Briefly open a window to dry things out, or limit shower time to control the moisture.
Any time you boil a pot of water on the stove, you release moisture into your indoor air. So just like with your bathroom, it’s important to make use of the exhaust fan in your stove hood if you have one.
Other tricks to avoid kitchen humidity include using lids as much as possible when boiling or simmering, and running a small dehumidifier in the kitchen when there’s lots of cooking going on.
I Would Watch Your Wood
If you have a fireplace, you might enjoy cozy fires on the coldest nights. But to keep those fires going, you’ll need dry wood. And to keep your firewood dry, you might be inclined to store it indoors.
If the wood is already completely dry, this won’t make a big difference. But fresh, green wood will shed gallons of water over a matter of weeks. You should always dry this wood in a covered outdoor pile.
Get Control of Moisture
Do your household moisture problems go beyond clammy air? Reach out to your local plumbing pros for help tracking down and correcting the problem.