Humidity is a problem that we encounter in many homes, including recent ones. When its presence in the ambient air is higher than the recommended limit, it presents a danger for your home, but also for your health.
If it forms brown spots on your walls and ceilings, or even mold, it is already well established. It then threatens the quality of your home and can cause allergies and respiratory problems among its occupants. It is necessary to act quickly and well to treat the cause of this humidity. Here are some tips to guide you.
A damp house? What are the symptoms ?
For a home to be healthy, the ambient air must not contain more than 45 to 50% humidity for an average ambient temperature of 20°C. When the signs of humidity appear, it means that the air is loaded with more than 75% humidity, which can be dangerous for your health.
The symptoms of too high humidity are numerous: saltpeter, dry rot in the wood, dark spots or rings forming on the walls and ceilings; joints are falling apart; upholstery, upholstery and coatings peel off; the paint swells and blisters on the surface; a musty smell, mold or fog on the windows (apart from your shower outlet) appear.
When you notice these symptoms, it is imperative to act quickly. Otherwise, your home will continue its slow deterioration and will be damaged in its structural parts. It may also become a hazard to your health. A damp house has consequences for its inhabitants and the bacteria and molds that develop there can cause allergies, respiratory and joint problems, etc. Don’t wait to act, your health is at stake!
Where does the humidity come from?
The presence of humidity in a home can have several origins, which can even sometimes be cumulative.
If you notice damp spots on the floor, it may be capillary rise. The water naturally present in the ground is absorbed by the poorly built foundations and rises in the walls, causing significant damage, but fortunately reversible.
Water infiltration can be seen by the appearance of damp spots on interior and exterior walls. This problem is mainly visible in old constructions whose coating has become porous and/or is poorly insulated, but it is also possible on newer constructions that are poorly designed and have microcracks around windows, doors, joints and roof.
Condensation and lack of ventilation
This type of phenomenon generally occurs when the ventilation is defective or when the accommodation is not properly ventilated. If you notice damp spots and traces of mold in the bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom, it may be condensation. This is formed by the sudden presence of a large quantity of water vapor (when cooking or taking your shower or your bath) which cannot be evacuated properly. As a result, this water vapor settles on the walls and forms stains.
Most older homes suffer from poor insulation. On the other hand, if new buildings are well insulated, they require good ventilation to allow air to circulate and renew itself and humidity to escape naturally.
Leaks from pipes and drain lines
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is generally not noticed until several months after its onset, or even several years. When damp spots form, it means your wall is already waterlogged.
When a house is built, it goes through several stages, from digging the foundations and laying the screed to the final finishing touches. Most of these steps require a certain amount of water, therefore a significant drying time. If these deadlines have not been properly respected, the humidity is stored and ends up coming out little by little.
What are the possible solutions against humidity?
To avoid embarking on expensive work for nothing, it is advisable to call on a professional to carry out a diagnosis and identify the real cause. Be that as it may, do not content yourself with covering the traces of moisture with paint, paneling, upholstery or various coatings. You would only push the problem away and you would soon see those misery caches getting covered in stains again. Hiding the humidity does not help to cure it and will make you spend unnecessary money on beautification work. The other mistake not to make is to coat the walls with insulation or anti-humidity product. It just keeps the water inside the walls. As a result, she stretches out until she finds another way out. Finally, don’t buy living room dehumidifiers thinking they’ll solve the problem; yes, they collect excess moisture, but this is only a bandage, not a treatment!
The professional will be able to identify the causes of the humidity and establish the right action plan, intended to overcome it definitively. To do this, several solutions can be proposed to you:
- Completely rethink the ventilation and clean the current system. If necessary, it should be increased and better sized for your home. The installation of a VMC (controlled mechanical ventilation) also makes it possible to evacuate the humid air from the various rooms.
- Install a waterproof membrane on floors and walls in contact with the ground to better isolate them from water.
- Dry the walls using appropriate treatments and devices.
- Set up a water drainage device all around your home.
By calling a professional quickly, you will avoid wasting time and money and making the wrong diagnosis. Make several quotes with different providers and choose the one that suits you, able to do a serious job.
For information, ventilation is compulsory for all housing built since 1982. It can take the form of a so-called single-flow (controlled mechanical), double-flow (to heat the fresh air), so-called VMR (distributed mechanical) or VMI (mechanical by insufflation).
Daily anti-humidity tips
There are small rules and tips to avoid the formation of humidity:
- Ventilate your home and ventilate it properly: this is the basis! Ventilate your house every day for 5 to 10 minutes. The air is renewed and excess humidity is evacuated naturally. Complement these simple gestures with adapted and functional ventilation.
- Don’t dry your laundry just anywhere: if you can’t leave it outside, prefer a well-ventilated room to prevent the humidity from the laundry from evaporating and settling on the walls.
- Never block the air vents: they are sometimes – especially in ultra-insulated modern houses – the only way to let the air in.
- Keep the ventilation system on, even at night. The evacuation will be done automatically and regularly, leaving no time for humidity to settle.
- Watch for cracks forming around windows and doors. But do not fill them anyhow, otherwise you risk moving the problem without solving it.