It’s official. Summer is over. We’re now approximately one week into the autumn season. And that means that Canadians can be guaranteed one thing: much colder days are ahead! And while most of us enjoyed the warmth and sunshine that traditionally came along with the summer season, the time has finally come to admit that those warm and sunny days won’t be back for a while. The sun may shine over the next few months…but it will be chilly out there!
So what do Canadians do when it’s cold outside? Well, they stay inside more often, of course. And, naturally, they turn up the thermostats. And while it’s generally quite enjoyable to stay warm and toasty during our lengthy winters, the heat that we’re inviting into our homes has the potential to bring about legitimate health concerns. With heat often comes humidity which involves added moisture in the air. Moisture, as you’re likely aware, invites mould into your home.
It’s important, therefore, for us all to be mindful of just how much moisture is in the air when we are heating our homes. Preventing mould growth begins with being able to adequately measure air moisture. You see, the warmer the air, the more moisture the air can hold. And the more moisture in the air, the more likely your home will be to develop mould. Mould spores, once airborne, can significantly impact our breathing.
How does mould impact our breathing? When a person is exposed to indoor mould, his/her allergies really begin acting up. This is especially true for sufferers of asthma or other respiratory issues. Mould can irritate our eyes, our skin and our lungs even if we don’t have any allergies. And that’s because mould spores can very easily find themselves living throughout our indoor environments making us all susceptible to coming into contact with them.
How does the heating of our homes promote mould growth? When warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces – say, for example, windows, furniture or walls – it can create condensation. This is because the cooler air isn’t able to hold as much moisture as warmer air. So it forms as liquid on those surfaces. Because liquid is present, it provides the perfect conditions for mould to grow. This is why it’s so important to monitor the humidity in your home.
How is humidity measured? Humidity can be measured with a device called a hygrometer. There is a wide variety of hygrometers which ranges from simplistic instruments to multi-functional devices that can measure both temperature and humidity levels. Temperature readings are available in either Fahrenheit or Celsius and humidity scales range from 1% to 100% relative humidity.
What is an ideal indoor relative humidity level in the winter? “Experts have developed rules of thumb to help homeowners make decisions regarding humidity levels in their houses,” informs Mark Salerno in The Toronto Sun, “For example, during the winter, relative humidity in your home should be between 30% and 50%, or even lower to avoid condensation on windows. High relative humidity promotes the growth of mould and dust mites.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Moisture Monitoring Services that evaluate your home for moisture sources. They may include building envelop failures, leakage issues or occupant-based sources. Our assessments may involve moisture meters, thermal scanning and hygrometer readings. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.