Winter here in the Midwest means cold weather, ice, and snow. While this can be great for winter sports like skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling, those dropping temperatures outside generally create dropping humidity levels inside.
Low humidity levels may be fun if you’re a kid and like to scoot around the carpet in your socks in hopes of surprising a sibling with a jolt of static electricity! But, it’s important to know how the humidity levels in your home affect your health as well as the integrity of your house and your foundation. It’s important to pay attention to your basement humidity in winter as well as in the summer.
Why Basement Humidity Matters
Just as the outdoor temperatures fluctuate throughout the year, so do the indoor temperatures and along with that, the humidity levels in your home. While you may not be as aware of basement humidity in winter, health issues can arise from too much or too little moisture in the air.
One of the most common problems that too much moisture can create is mold. You may not realize there is excess moisture in your basement in the winter. That moisture tends to show up as condensation on the windows or on exposed pipes in your basement. In extreme cold, that window condensation may appear in the form of frost – on the inside of your windows! But when that frost melts, the excess moisture collects and becomes a great place for mold to grow. Moisture is also one of the most common attractions for insects in your basement. Once the temperatures rise and the snow melts, you could also be in for an influx of excess moisture, so be on the lookout for snowmelt issues.
If you notice signs of excess moisture in your basement, it may indicate cracks in your foundation. Your basement is the foundation of your home and if excess moisture is jeopardizing your home’s foundation, you need to address it right away.
However, issues with basement humidity in winter don’t always mean too much humidity. When the air in your home is too dry it can increase issues like nose-bleeds or chances of developing illnesses. The drier the air in your home, the longer virus particles can hang around. And no one wants virus particles hanging around!
What Level of Humidity Should My Basement Have?
Most commonly, summer weather can increase humidity and winter can decrease humidity. Warmer summertime air comes into your home bringing its excess humidity with it. This excess humidity in basements is often well above the recommended 30-50% relative humidity levels. Excessively high humidity levels can easily lead to mold and other problems.
When the temperature drops, the humidity levels can also drop, which affects your basement humidity in winter. When it’s below zero degrees outside, keeping humidity at the lower end of the recommended range can help avoid windows from icing over inside. Just be sure not to let the humidity levels drop too low. When humidity levels drop below 25% health problems such as dry skin, nosebleeds, as well as surprise static electricity shock attacks from someone in a pair of fuzzy socks can occur.
How Can I Maintain a Healthy Basement Humidity in Winter Months?
The good news is that here in the Midwest, basement humidity generally stays in the healthy range. So your basement humidity in winter should naturally stay okay. However you will want to keep an eye on it, especially when there’s a cold snap. You can invest in a humidistat to keep track of your basement’s humidity levels. When humidity levels get too high, you can use a dehumidifier to reduce the levels back down to the recommended 30-50%. A word of caution, dehumidifiers can break if temperatures are too cold and don’t overuse them which could lower the relative humidity levels excessively.
Another option for regulating basement humidity in winter and all year long is EverDry’s E-Z Breathe system. E-Z Breathe can make a significant difference in the air quality of your home. This air-exchange system simplifies the process of humidity control, provides better air quality in your basement and throughout your home, and is less expensive to run than a dehumidifier!
Team EverDry is Here to Help!
Don’t wait for your home to become too dry! Call EverDry Toledo today and ask about our E-Z Breathe System. It’s a maintenance-free unit that helps protect your home and family from excess moisture, molds, toxins, allergies, and poor air quality. Schedule your free inspection or give us a call at (419) 841-6055 to get started!
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