There are many sources that can cause moisture in your home, including:
- Plumbing, flashing, and roof leaks
- Damp basements and crawl spaces
- Cooking, showering, and indoor line drying of clothes
- Improperly vented combustion appliances and clothes dryers
- Flooding and sewer backups
- Poorly maintained gutters, downspouts and drains
- Landscaping and plants that block crawl space vents and drainage systems
While some signs of excess moisture maybe obvious, like condensation on windows, often times they are hidden in the crawl spaces and basements of the home. This polluted air below the house will eventually move to the rest of the house, often times carrying odors, contributing to poor indoor air quality and causing uncomfortably high humidity levels. Studies show that as much as 50 percent of the air in a home comes from these below-grade areas.
Moisture is also the fuel that feeds the fire for mold. Mold needs water to grow – without it mold cannot grow. Mold also needs a food source and a temperature between 40 degrees and 100 degrees F.
Effects of Moisture on Your Home
Excess moisture in your basement or crawl space can cause mold to grow. Mold can grow in or on almost anything in your home, including furniture, carpet, wood, dry wall, and insulation. Too much moisture can also cause wood to buckle, split and even rot, which may weaken the structure of your home. It can even cause peeling, chipping or cracking of paint.
Effects of Moisture on Your Health
Mold, bacteria, cockroaches, and dust mites have been linked to triggering allergies and asthma attacks and may even cause children who do not have allergies or asthma to develop either condition. Exposure can cause coughing, sneezing, wheezing, upper respiratory irritation and asthma symptoms.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s offers A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.