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Q and A's about trapped moisture

For the last couple of weeks, we've been talking about avoiding trapped moisture in your home. It's up to no good inside your four walls!

Over the years in our work at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, we have inspected and directed the rehabilitation of hundreds of moisture-damaged homes. From the foundation to the roof, our inspections overwhelmingly identify improper ventilation as the main source of expensive problems to the homes in this country.

Today we're answering some questions related to moisture problems. And, we're giving you some practical living tips to reduce moisture inside your house. See if any of these apply to you and your home!

Q. How can I keep moisture out of my home to begin with?

Pets, muddy boots, rain jackets and umbrellas can bring a lot of moisture into your house every day – especially this time of year.

Keep a towel near the door for your pooch and your boots. Shake off your umbrella outside, or better yet, leave it with your boots on your covered porch or garage. (Make sure that wet towel gets to the wash so it isn’t creating a problem itself!)

Keeping wet items in an aptly named mud room – with the window cracked, or fan on as needed – is a great way to keep the moisture in a good place. Dry off items there.

However, not all homes are equipped with such handy rooms. Use garages, porches, even carports to air dry your gear. And if those aren’t options, you can always make good use of your fans, windows and that daily towel that goes into the wash.

Q. When I use my dryer, I notice that the windows often fog up on the inside and the whole room seems a little muggy. How do I fix it?

A. You should be very concerned about any condition that creates moisture inside your home. Extra moisture from doing laundry is one of the worst!

In this situation, you will find lots of lint, too. Most likely the dryer is either not properly vented to the exterior, has a blocked vent or has holes in the vent pipe at the back of the dryer.

The fix will be simple and cheap in any event. Pull out the dryer, turn it on and find out where the air is entering into the room. Check all the connections and clamps.

Even a pinhole type leak in the exhaust hose is a problem that should be eliminated.

For clothes driers, always use as short, smooth and straight a pipe as possible, with a flapper vent through the wall. Never vent the dryer just under the house. This will create very expensive foundation rot problems.

Q. What are other practical things I can do to keep the house drier on the inside?

A. When the air gets saturated so does the soil. The number one thing to do is to lay 6 mil. black plastic on top of the bare soil under your house. This alone will stop a tremendous amount of humidity from entering your home by being pulled through the floor.

In addition to keeping wet stuff, like umbrellas and rain gear, outside under cover to dry off, don’t forget to leave your vented bath and kitchen fans on longer after baths, showers and steamy cooking.

If you don’t have fans, get them and be sure to vent them to the exterior of the house.

Also be certain your dryer vent is vented outside the exterior wall of the house and is leak-free; insulate your house and weather-seal all windows and doors; check your attic and foundation for the proper amount of vents.


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