Save Your Hardwood Flooring!

Most homeowners know that purchasing and installing hardwood flooring can cost a pretty penny. And if you’re lucky, you may find some nice hardwood under the carpets of your home to refinish.

I was recently asked by a friend to look at their damaged hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, due to having a vented crawl space their floors they were cupping quite badly.  Cupping occurs when the sides of hardwood flooring are higher than the center of the board giving it a concave shape.

There are many reasons why floors cup. It may be from moisture damage due to the air inside the home being too humid. But in this cause it was due to the vented crawlspace under the floors.  It was allowing very wet air to move from the crawlspace up through the floors into the home. This is called “Stack Effect”.

To prevent this from happening it is recommended to keep your crawlspace below 60% relative humidity by encapsulating it. The first step is to seal all penetrations from the crawlspace to the home and from the outside into the crawlspace in order to prevent humid air from infiltrating into these areas. Then a high-quality vapor barrier is laid on the floor and sealed to the walls of the crawl space.  Once that has been done a dual-exhaust Santa Fe dehumidifier is installed to ensure humidity is controlled at all times.

 

How Does a Dehumidifier Control Moisture?

Santa Fe dehumidifiers are designed to control humidity in basements, crawl spaces and other inside spaces.  By controlling the moisture in these spaces there is a reduced risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.  But how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at the internal workings of the Santa Fe Advance2 dehumidifier.

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Humid air is pulled  into the dehumidifier and passes through a MERV-8 filter. The Santa Fe Advance2 uses a high-efficiency filter that captures small particles in the air. The humid air then passes over a cold evaporator coil where moisture in the air condenses. The condensed water drops into the drain pan and runs out of the dehumidifier through the drain tube.  The cold, dry air then moves over the condenser coil where it is slightly heated. Dry air is supplied to the basement or crawl space through the dual outlets.

Blog Post 4: Top 10 Signs of High Humidity

For health and comfort reasons, it’s important to maintain a proper humidity level in your home.  While too little humidity can cause discomfort issues, too much moisture can lead to health problems, discomfort issues, and property damage. Dehumidifiers can help remedy these excess moisture problems.  Let’s take a look at some signs that indicate that you may need a dehumidifier.

First, let’s talk about a few signs that you can’t see but can likely feel. These often contribute to health problems and discomfort issues.  Reducing humidity to control these issues will help create a Comfortable Space.

  • High Humidity
  • Poor Air Quality
  • Sticky Feeling
  • Bacteria Growth

Next, is what you can see. These are common visual indicators that you have a humidity problem which is slowing damaging and destroying your Home and Property.

  • Mold/ Mildew Growth
  • Pest infestations
  • Cupping of Wood Floors
  • Stains on Walls and Ceilings
  • Wood Rot
  • Blistering Pain
Signs of Moisture Problems

Some common tell tale signs that you have a moisture problem.

If you’re not doing so already, take a few moments to look around your home for signs of high humidity. You may be surprised at what your house is trying to tell you.

Next week, in our fifth and final post in this series, we will be discussing how a dehumidifier works to control moisture. We’ll see you then.

Blog Post 3: How Does Moisture Enter the Home?

There are 3 main sources of moisture in your home; the first being air leaks.  Air can leak into the home through walls, roofs and floors and have damaging effects on a house.  Uncontrolled airflow through the shell not only carries moisture into framing cavities, causing mold and rot, but it can also account for a huge portion of a home’s energy use and can cause indoor-air-quality problems.  In a leaky house, large volumes of air – driven by exhaust fans, the stack effect, and wind – can blow through the floor, walls, and ceiling.

The second source of moisture is diffusion through materials.  This is a process by which vapor spreads or moves through permeable materials caused by a difference in water vapor pressure.  An example of this is when the soil becomes saturated and that moisture enters the crawl space through the walls by vapor diffusion.  Installing a vapor barrier or vapor diffusion retarder can help reduce the rate at which the water vapor can move through a material.

The final source is internally generated moisture.  A family of four can add, on average, up to 25 pints of water to the air simply by washing dishes, taking showers, cooking, and breathing. Adding 4 pints of water to the air in a house at 70°F and 30% RH can boost the RH to 50%. Eight pints can boost RH to 70%.

There’s a great article on the Building Science Corporation website which has additional information on this subject. Here’s a quick link Air Leaks How They Waste Energy and Rot Homes.

Next week we will be sharing the top 10 signs of high moisture. See you then.

Blog Post 1: The Basics of Moisture Control! (5 Part Series)

Moisture ControlThis series will cover a variety of topics that have to do with the importance of understanding and controlling humidity and moisture in your home. We will discuss the difference between relative humidity and dew point, and why these are important concepts to understand. We will then dive into how moisture enters and is created within your home. Next we will talk about the top 10 signs of high moisture, and finally we will discuss how a dehumidifier can help control humidity and reduce the risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.

Check out the first part of our series next week, when we discuss the difference between relative humidity and dew point!

What is Stack Effect?

Stack effect is the movement of warm, dry air rising and escaping through the upper levels of the home and cooler, wet air finding its’ way into the lower levels in order for the home to equalize.

Excess moisture in crawlspaces and basements often migrates to the upper levels of the home through a “stack effect”. In essence, whatever air is below the house is also inside the house.

stackeffect_bigStack Effect Contributes To:

  • High Humidity
  • Pest Infestations
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality
  • Mold Growth
  • Musty Odors
  • Damage to Property

Why Dehumidification?
Indoor humidity levels, especially in basements and crawlspaces, can rise dramatically in the summer months and during the shoulder seasons. This is why dehumidification in these spaces is essential for proper humidity control. Santa Fe Dehumidifiers are the solution to healthy, comfortable living.

Spring is in the Air – Time to Get Your Dehumidifier Ready for April Showers

Early Spring is always a good time to check and prepare your Santa Fe dehumidifier before the humidity season:

  • Be sure to change out the filter every 3-6 months.  A clean filter with help the dehumidifier perform efficiently and effectively and ensure that the inside of the dehumidifier stays clean; this will extend the life of your dehumidifier.
  • If your Santa Fe dehumidifier has a pre-filter, vacuum it off every 3-6 months and replace every couple of years (when it starts to breakdown).
  • Check the drain line to ensure there is nothing blocking the condensate from the dehumidifier.  If you have a condensate pump, be sure to test the pump by filling it with water to confirm the float switch is working.  It’s always a good idea to empty your condensate pump at the end of every humidity season before winter.  This will prevent any potential issues in the spring.
  • Be sure to reposition the dehumidistat / control to 50% relative humidity if it was turned off or setback before winter.
  • Be sure the intake and supply of the dehumidifier are not blocked.

Follow these simple steps every Spring to help extend the life of your Santa Fe dehumidifier and ensure effective dehumidification.