Excessive moisture due to lack of ventilation is terribly uncomfortable, especially in moisture-prone kitchens and bathrooms where everyday activities mean heightened humidity is a part of the deal. As well as causing discomfort for all the family, high moisture levels also cause considerable damage to the home and are the primary cause of damp, mould growth and mildew, as well as unsightly peeling paint or wallpaper and unpleasant musty odours.
Whilst a little humidity is only natural, excessive moisture should be dealt with immediately, especially during the summer months as warm air holds more moisture than the colder air we are exposed to during the cooler seasons. But what can every homeowner do to ensure their humidity levels don’t skyrocket above the recommended 35 to 45%?
Take care when cooking
The majority of excess moisture is produced during cooking in kitchens so ensure you use every kitchen gadget you have to hand to reduce the stuffy side effects of home humidity. The extractor fan on your oven or cooker is your best friend when it comes to lowering humidity levels in the kitchen. Always remember to switch on the fan when cooking, especially when using the hob to boil water and food products, this will ensure any excess steam created during the cooking process is drawn into the extractor and transported outside.
The extractor fan will work to balance the overall temperature in your kitchen and prevent it rising so high that you need to switch on your air conditioning unit to cool the place down, which in turn will increase your electricity bill. If you don’t have an extractor fan, simply open your windows and doors to allow humid air to escape.
Check your windows and doors
Maintaining a kitchen with reduced moisture is not just about allowing humid air to escape when cooking, you must also pay attention to humid air coming into your home from the outside, especially during the warmer summer months. Make sure you check the condition of your windows and doors, the seals that keep your windows and doors airtight and moisture-free can deteriorate over time letting any humidity from the outside in. Also look for gaps in exterior brickwork and internal walls (especially around plug sockets and vents), seal any holes that may be causing humid air leaks into your home.
Turn up the heat!
Excessive moisture is more likely to collect on surfaces in your kitchen if they are cool so make sure your kitchen is at room temperature or above to counter surface run-off and moisture build-up. Any excess moisture that has collected on surfaces (especially on wallpapered or unprotected painted walls and ceilings) can cause a lot of damage, so avoid calling in the decorator with this simple trick!
Invest in a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are a great investment for kitchens that are prone to moisture. These useful devices are designed to keep humidity at bay and most models are compressor-driven, pulling air into a series of cool and warm coils to remove moisture and release dry air. Dehumidifiers can be used to tackle moisture in any room in the house to provide a happier, healthier and more pleasant place to live and work. Dehumidifiers used in both residential and commercial environments have also been proven to prevent mould growth, moisture build-up and discourage the insects (i.e. centipedes, silverfish, roaches and spiders) that love moist surroundings.
A dehumidifier is a great gadget to have in your kitchen and there are numerous models on the market to cater to the moisture levels you experience in your kitchen to keep you covered all year round!
As well as spending his free time sharing ventilation and other home improvement advice, Martin Davies works for http://www.airandwatercentre.com/, the UK’s leading supplier of air and water quality enhancing products.