Moisture can make a home colder and less healthy but tackling it is not as challenging as it seems.
We all suffer with humidity in New Zealand and things just seem to get worse in winter. We feel the need to keep heaters on all the time to keep rooms dry, or have to cope with the cold breeze to keep windows open, which often can result in more moisture inside the house due to the constant rain.
On top of the damp weather, pretty much everything we do causes moisture inside the house*: cooking can add up to 3 litres; washing and drying clothes inside can add 5 litres of moisture per load; breathing (yes, that’s right) produces 0.2 litres an hour per person; and showering adds an average of 1.5 litres per person per day.
In the shower case, a home with 4 people would have 6 litres of moisture being released into the air daily. To prevent this, the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) recommends putting a lid on the shower box – also known as Showerdome® – to avoid dampness in the bathroom and adjacent rooms.
You can’t stop breathing to avoid releasing moisture, but there are other small changes you can adopt to make your home dry and warm. Have a look at the recommendations by the EECA and the Ministry of Health:
- Eliminate avoidable moisture – dry clothes outside in the backyard or carport.
- Use extraction fans (vented externally) in the kitchen, bathrooms* and laundry.
- Air out the house regularly – open doors and windows to create a cross draft, or use a ventilation system***
- Open your curtains during the day and close them at night. Your windows let heat in during the day. Closing curtains before sunset keeps the heat in, and the cold out, at night.
- Keep the home warm – insulation and heating improve ventilation effectiveness and reduce the risk of mould growth on cold surfaces.
- Wipe off any water that has collected (condensation) on walls and on the inside of windows. Doing this helps to keep your home dry and easier to heat, reducing the cost of heating.
- Use lids on pots when cooking to reduce moisture and save energy.
- Keep furniture away from external walls (especially uninsulated walls) – leave a gap of 10 cm or more to avoid mould growing behind furniture in winter.
- Keep mattresses off cold floors – put them on a bed base to let air circulate underneath.
- Leave wardrobes slightly open for ventilation.
Check out more useful suggestions to tackle moisture in the house by the EECA here
* Information from NZ Herald
** You won’t need it if you have a Showerdome® shower top
*** We recommend Unovent® home ventilation system