Flooding from storms and broken pipes can cause immediate damage your home and belongings. However, the typical humid subtropical climate of Georgia might also be creating problems in your house. Humidity can deteriorate a building slowly over time; an extra damp year could allow moisture to creep in and cause havoc.
In Atlanta, many homes are much higher than the 45% suggested for optimal comfort and health. High humidity, 60% or above, for extended periods, can decay structural materials. After a prolonged period, the potential for mold or rot of wood, drywall, and other interior surfaces skyrockets. Signs are a clammy feeling air, warped wood floors, sticking doors, condensation on windows, musty odors or mold growth in closed spaces.
Check the following areas for trapped vapor that could potentially invite mold growth or even more problems:
Crawl spaces or below ground workspaces are especially susceptible; water from the ground combines with the dampness from the air to create condensation below surface grade. Keep foundation vents open to keep it dry. You may need a dehumidifier to control humidity levels. Crawl spaces should generally be covered with polyethylene or other thick, solid vapor barriers to keep moisture out. Muggy air can also build up in attics. Consider increasing wall insulation or using vapor-retardant paints. Caulking and weather stripping along gaps and cracks on the baseboards, doors, and windows will seal and minimize moisture issues.
Stored food can become inedible; if humidity exceeds 60 percent, dry food will draw in that moisture and then grow stale. Canned foods may rust or leak due to reacting to water vapor; any puckered or swollen cans should be thrown out. Keep the doors open for better ventilation. Add silica gel packets or other moisture-absorbing materials in your food pantry to help battle vapor buildup.
Though some insect infestations are related to the presence of mold and mildew (because that’s what they eat), others are related to high humidity alone. Insects (such as mites, cockroaches, and beetles) simply find damp environments to be warm and cozy. Actually, these insects do not drink water; they absorb moisture directly from the air. Mite populations, in particular, thrive in environments with 80% RH but are minimized when the relative humidity is decreased below 50%.
When your home’s humidity level reaches above 50%, it encourages mold. These fungi reproduce by tiny spores, invisible to the naked eye, that float through the outdoor and indoor air and start growing when they land on warm, moist surfaces. Not only can mold and mildew cause damage to whatever it’s growing on, they can also pollute your home’s air and increase the occurrence of colds, allergies, and other illnesses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, molds produce allergens, irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances.
When indoor moisture levels are too high, the excess buildup in your walls and ceilings can cause costly structural damage from rotting, warping and corrosion.
Visible signs of decay include:
Professional disaster recovery companies like Champion Cleaning Systems repair and prevent damage from excess water (and water vapor.) State-of-the-art detection equipment locates hidden moisture in order to limit structural problems and future mold growth. The team provides critical services and tools to handle basement floods, appliance leaks, sewage backup, and more. With Champion Cleaning Systems, you can always expect:
To schedule a cleaning appointment, report an emergency or discuss moisture in your home, please call Champion Cleaning Systems at (678) 780-4170.