Handling Humidity Under Your House

Handling Humidity Under Your HouseHumidity effects inside your house may originate from more than just the obvious source. Here in western Indiana, ample humidity is definitely part of our natural climate. However, humidity infiltrating your house may also emanate from causes unrelated to today’s weather. The crawl space or basement under your house can harbor hidden sources of water vapor that continually migrates upward into living spaces, causing a variety of humidity effects including inconsistent comfort control, poor air quality, structural damage and toxic mold growth.

Plumbing Pipes

Household plumbing typically extends through the crawl space or basement. Pinhole leaks or seepage at joints of supply lines can keep a crawl space chronically wet and represent an ongoing source of water vapor infiltrating the house. Condensation dripping off cold water pipes is another common moisture source.

Fixtures Leaking

Bathroom fixtures may conceal leakage that seeps through the subfloor and into the crawl space or basement. In addition to rotting floor structure and promoting mold growth, water leakage from a defective shower pan beneath the stall or a leaky bathtub drain connection can keep the zone under the house persistently damp.

Roof Runoff

Overflowing gutters hammer the ground below with cascading water that penetrates deep into soil. Excessive soil moisture may migrate through cracks in basement walls and cause “wet basement syndrome” that triggers high humidity upstairs.

To get a handle on household humidity effects, here are some steps to eliminate the most likely causes.

  • Contact a plumber to check out plumbing supply and drain lines routed under the house or in the basement.
  • From the crawl space or basement, visually inspect the underside of bathroom sub-flooring for evidence of covert seepage from fixtures directly above. This may appear as darkened areas and/or deterioration.
  • Keep gutters clog-free and be alert to formation of ice dams on the roof. Also, make sure downspouts extend at least three feet from the house to prevent discharge from seeping into the basement or crawl space.

Paitson Bros., your source for comfort control since 1922, has more hints to track down and eliminate humidity effects that impact the household environment.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

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