How to Get Rid of Moisture Naturally in Your Home
When summer arrives, are you surprised by how quickly a little increase in humidity can make you uncomfortable? That extra moisture in the air makes you sweat more, and your home suffers in several important ways, too. Mold and mildew can build up in dark, damp corners downstairs. And that’s one of the main reasons why it’s so important to dehumidify your basement.
Your tools, photos, jewelry, electronics and documents all stand to be impacted by excessive moisture in the house. By stopping condensation, you can help prevent these important items — and your appliances — from experiencing water damage and corrosion-related problems.
Today, we’ll explore how to dehumidify your home and look at other ways to keep moisture-prone areas humidity-free. Take a look at our tips on keeping your home dryer during the damp months and get rid of humidity in the house.
Causes of Moisture in a House
Here are common causes for moisture buildup in your house:
- Rainwater and melting snow seep in to the basement
- You’re not using a bathroom ceiling fan when bathing or showering
- You’re taking long, hot showers
- Preparing food by boiling water and not using your range hood (kitchen vent hood)
- Leaking roofs
- Poorly vented dryers
- Indoor plants
- Leaking and sweating pipes
- Moisture leaching through masonry
- Leaving your windows open on hot humid days
Why Get a Dehumidifier?
The main reason you should get a dehumidifier is to reduce the relative humidity in your home. With lower moisture levels, you may find higher temperatures are more tolerable. Here are a few common questions about dehumidifiers:
There are pros and cons to having humidity in the house. During the winter months when homes tend to be excessively dry, a little humidity can really help you to feel comfortable in your home. When your house experiences annual extremes in humidity, wood and other materials can become stressed through expansion and contraction over time. That’s why it’s so important to not only dehumidify your basement, but the rest of your house too.
Many dehumidifiers on the market today that do their job in the same fashion. Dehumidifying benefits your health and the health of your home:
Keep moisture low for health reasons. Health-related issues are common among homes where humidity levels are consistently high. Ideally, relative humidity levels should be around 30 – 60 percent. When you’re in climates that push above 80 percent humidity, your home can begin to harbor fungi, bacteria, viruses and mold that cause respiratory and health concerns. And if windows are left open when it’s hot and humid, people with respiratory issues may feel uncomfortable.
Dehumidify your basement and your whole home benefits. Even if dampness in your house is limited to your basement, you’re still better off getting that moisture out of your home. HVAC systems that circulate air across the house often intake air from the basement. That can distribute mold and fungal spores that collect in the basement throughout your home.
How to Choose a Dehumidifier for Your Home
Selecting the right dehumidifier is based on a few key details about your home and the way you want your dehumidifier to perform. Start by getting the square footage of the space you want to dehumidify. Then look for a dehumidifier which is rated for that square footage plus the relative humidity found in your area. Sizing tables on most manufacturer’s websites will help you to choose a good fit. How to reduce high humidity in-house is a question that can be answered by reviewing the options available at your local hardware store. There are two basic ways to dehumidify your home:
Refrigerant dehumidifiers. These work by condensing moisture in the air into water with cold evaporator coils that collect and store condensed water. Using a compressor, these dehumidifiers tend to be more bulky and heavier than the competition. Additionally, they don’t perform as well at colder temperatures and consume more energy than their counterparts.
Desiccant dehumidifiers. Using drying agents like silica gel, desiccant humidifiers pull moisture out of the air by forcing air through water-absorbing gel packs. These systems are typically less heavy and quieter than the refrigerant types, and one big benefit is that desiccants work equally well in cold temperatures. On the downside, you’ll need to replace the gel packs once they’ve been fully saturated.
Air conditioning will dehumidify your home. Turning on the AC is effectively the same as running a refrigerant dehumidifier. If you’ve ever wondered why AC units drip water, it’s because those evaporator coils are doing their job. Adjusting the temperature even a few degrees down and closing your windows can help keep the humidity down.
Make Your Own Dehumidifier
Perhaps the noise of a dehumidifier is too much to deal with. Or maybe you’d rather not pay an electric bill to manage your humidity issues. You can easily turn to home remedies for absorbing moisture by making your own dehumidifier. They may not work as well, but they can get the job done. Dehumidify your basement naturally with these DIY tips for handmade, moisture-absorbing answers to dampness in your home:
Using Rock Salt to Absorb Moisture
If solving your moisture problem is something you’d like to do inexpensively, rock salt may be your answer. Because rock salt is “hygroscopic” it absorbs moisture from the air. If your plan is to pull the humidity out of a damp basement, start with a fifty pound bag of NaCL (sodium chloride) to make your rock salt dehumidifier. These can be found at most big box hardware stores. While you’re there, you’ll also need 2 five-gallon buckets. Here’s what you’ll need to do next:
- In one bucket, drill several small holes into the side and bottom of that bucket
- Nest the drilled bucket into the other bucket
- Fill the bucket up with NaCl rock salt
- Collected water will drip into in the outer bucket over time
- Empty the outer bucket as necessary
- Refill the rock salt as needed
- Does salt absorb moisture? Yes, it does. And without using any electricity!
Baking Soda as a Moisture Absorber
Our next natural dehumidifier DIY-hack is to use baking soda. Remove dampness by filling a small bowl of sodium bicarbonate (aka: baking soda) and place it in the room you’d like to dehumidify.
Although it’s not as effective as rock salt in combating humidity, it’s good for enclosed spaces where moisture is an issue. That’s why you’ll find it used in refrigerators. Pick up a large 13.5 pound bag online or at the hardware store, and you’ll have enough to last a while. You’ll need to occasionally stir the baking soda and eventually replace it to reduce dampness in your home.
Other Home Remedies for Absorbing Moisture
There are many DIY options available to make your own dehumidifier. Home-made charcoal-based dehumidifiers are a good alternative. You can use the same nested five-gallon bucket setup as provided above, and you can use charcoal that would otherwise go right on the grill.
Another simple way to dehumidify your basement naturally is by simply turning on the furnace fan. Circulating the dryer upstairs air into the basement’s damp air helps to regulate humidity.
You can also dehumidify your basement without a dehumidifier by using over-the-counter products like non-toxic silica gel, which is highly water-soluble. Passive hydrosorbent packs are available online in various sizes. Whether you reduce high humidity in the house with a dehumidifier or by natural means, there are real benefits that come with keeping a dry home. Allergies can be reduced when you take mold, mildew and bacteria out of the equation.
Keeping your home safe and healthy is what we’re all about. And when it comes to preventing water damage, your American Family Insurance agent can help you find peace of mind by building a custom policy for your home.