Information and solutions for a safe, healthy,
comfortable, durable and energy efficient home

Mold and Moisture

You need water to survive, but your home definitely does not. Throughout the year a house is bombarded with moisture in some form – liquid rain, solid ice or water vapor. Problems can develop with structure as well as your own comfort and health. How well does your home handle water?

What’s the Problem?

Moisture in, and around, your home can cause:

  • Rotting wood – Compromises structure and attract pests.
  • Ice Dams – Can damage the roof and cause leaks
  • Frost/water on underside of roof deck
  • Ceiling and wall stains
  • Soggy insulation – Lowers R-Value
  • Condensation or Frost on windowpanes – Can rot wood frames
  • Mold and mildew in walls, ceilings, floors and around windows - Can cause serious health problems.

How does moisture cause these problems?

  1. Basic physics tells us that water moves from wet to dry areas. Here’s an example: Water in soil seeps into porous dry foundation walls, then moves into the dry basement floor, then wicks into carpet and wood baseboard, etc. Rain or melting ice can do the same starting at the roof and moving down.
  2. Moisture also moves from hot to cold. Water vapor in warm, humid air condenses into liquid on colder surfaces such as windows and walls.

Solving the Problem

New homes can be designed and built with comprehensive weatherproofing systems and humidity controls. It’s a bit harder to fix water problems in an older home built before current technology was in place. The best first step is to hire a Certified Energy Professional who can pinpoint all the causes of moisture problems. She’ll then provide a prioritized ‘Scope of Work’ plan that could include:

  • Sealing air leaks in walls and ceilings
  • Adding exhaust fans in bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens
  • Grading soil to slope away from the house
  • Fixing or adding gutters and downspouts
  • Adding interior or exterior drain tile at the foundation footing
  • Fixing water leaks
  • Improving crawl spaces- Moisture barrier on floor
  • Adding dehumidifiers
  • Lowering settings on furnace humidifiers to 35% or below

Let the Energy Pro know about any upcoming plans for remodeling. Weatherproofing can be easier and more cost-effective when walls, ceilings etc. are already opened up.

She will also check for carbon monoxide and other pollutants before and after changes to ensure you and your family are safe.

Next steps

  1. Read the Most Important Step
  2. Find a Certified Energy Professional
  3. Hire the appropriate contractor(s) recommended in the Scope of Work
  4. Review additional resources to build your confidence:

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