Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 by Amanda Waldmann
Last week, we talked about improving general indoor air quality, but today let’s focus on one of the most unexpected issues you can face in the winter - humidity. Humidity is something you normally don’t think about until the summer, but it can be a problem in your home year-round.
First off, this winter has been, to put it nicely, a mess. We’ve had, and are due for more, 40 degree temperature fluctuations and rain, snow, and spring weather all in the same week. We have all four seasons in Michigan, but we have them about ten times a year. Second, humidity still exists in the winter, and it can be more troublesome for multiple reasons:
You’re focusing on the cold. Basements and crawl spaces get COLD during the winter if they aren’t insulated, and if you need to go down there, you’re probably moving as quickly as possible rather than hanging out.
“The smell” isn’t as bad. Heat certainly has a way of amping up the nasty smells that accompany mold, mildew, and ambient moisture, so you might not notice that something smells “off” as quickly in a cold space.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
You’re not there. Michigan is a land of lake houses and summer cottages. Not only are homes like this more susceptible to water issues due to their usual placement near a body of water, but many are often closed for the winter. This means that you’ll be dealing with the effects of months of humidity when you re-open for the summer.
Even if you can’t smell or feel ambient moisture (just a fancy term for humidity) as strongly in the winter, it’s down there working. Moisture in the air gets easily soaked up by support beams and other organic materials - anything from drywall to cardboard boxes to wood paneling - and starts to wreak havoc.
Since water plus an organic food source = mold, a damp basement or crawl space can allow for unlimited mold growth. In addition to the numerous health problems mold causes, infested beams can actually decay over time and threaten the structural stability of your home.
So, what can you do?
A dehumidifier is the first step. Our systems provide dehumidification on a small footprint and will keep your basement or crawl space regulated well below levels that allow for saturation and mold growth.
We also have a number of inorganic and waterproof products designed to protect the walls and floors below your home while also providing a clean, bright look. CleanSpace vapor barrier and SilverGlo insulation panels will protect a crawl space, while the CleanSpace wall system and Brightwall panels take care of a basement. The basement products can be incorporated into a finishing plan or left on their own.
Even if you don’t have standing water, moisture in the air can cause problems all winter long. Don’t spend the spring wondering what that smell is and wishing you’d taken care of it earlier - call today to schedule your free inspection.