We are surrounded by moisture. There’s rain from above, water from below, humidity, household moisture generated from breathing, plants and cooking, and more. However, we do have control over a few key areas: where and how our homes experience moisture from the outside and the inside, and the choice of materials used at these locations. Below is information on how to control moisture in your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I keep my house healthy and safe after a flood?
- How can I address condensation on my windows? Are energy-efficient windows a good idea?
- Should I turn off my air conditioning when I go on vacation?
- Is it a good idea to get a device that attaches to the dryer vent, collects lint and directs air into the house instead of outside?
- How much can I save by covering electric outlets and sealing holes in walls around outdoor faucets and wiring?
- I’m allergic to mold. What can I do inside the house to improve my health?
- I have mold growing on my bathroom ceiling despite having a bath fan. What should I do?
- My house feels uncomfortably humid. Would a stand-alone dehumidifier be a good way to fix this problem?
- I don’t see any holes in my HVAC ducts, but should I still have them sealed to improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality?
- I found black spots that look like mold around the edges of my windows. Could these be harmful? What should I do?
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory Buildings Research – National Renewable Energy Laboratory Buildings Research page with field test best practices and information on how to plan and conduct one.
- Damp Indoor Spaces and Health by the Institute of Medicine – Article about damp indoor spaces and health. Table 1 shows findings of the association between health outcomes and exposure to damp indoor environments.
- EPA Mold – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency page about mold. Has basic information and links to a variety of resources.
- NC State Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Program – NC State’s Family and Consumer Sciences Program website about housing and energy. Discusses different programs and includes a variety of resources about home energy and living.
- National Center for Healthy Housing – The National Center for Healthy Housing website, a nonprofit dedicated to securing healthy homes for all. Has many resources for making homes safer and healthier.
Additional Advanced Energy at Home Topics
Many homes built on crawl space foundations in the Southeast suffer from poor moisture management. Symptoms are commonly noticed in the humid spring and summer seasons but can occur any time of year. Occupants typically call a heating and cooling contractor to address the problem, but it is often the result of poor moisture control in the crawl space.
Incorporating New Technologies
We continue to add new technologies to our homes to make our lives more efficient, convenient, affordable, customizable and environmentally friendly. Sometimes these devices and appliances can be overwhelming, but there are a number of ways we can make them work for us and meet our goals and needs.
Indoor Air Quality
The buildings we live in affect our health in many ways. In recent years, research has linked poor health impacts to characteristics of the building environment, including the presence of moisture, airborne volatile organic compounds, allergens, particulates, radon and combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. Increasingly, policymakers like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy have sought to improve home conditions to enhance the health of the constituencies they serve.
Saving Money Through Energy Efficiency
We all use energy in one form or another in our homes, whether electricity, gas, kerosene or even oil. Ideally, this energy usage is not an expensive shock when each month’s utility bill arrives. However, keeping track of the growing number of devices that plug in, on top of our existing appliances and electronics, can be dizzying. Fortunately, there are a number of ways – both simple and more advanced – that we can work to lower our utility bills and improve our energy efficiency.