Florida has a lot of great things going for it, but pretty much every homeowner on the Gulf Coast has at least one horror story about the sometimes aggravating humidity. Maybe you had a bathroom water leak behind one of your walls, and the professional contractor you hired to dry it and replace the drywall said it was fixed but then you discovered rampant mold growth a few months later.
Or maybe your flooring has started to cup or buckle in spots and you’re not sure why it’s happening. Homeowners also often forget the nails and screws holding their home together are made of metal and prone to rust and corrosion in our climate, which could negatively impact the structural integrity of your home.
So what can you do about mold or other damaging aspects of excessive humidity and moisture?
Preventing Wood Floors from Buckling or Cupping
Most people notice issues with buckling or cupping when there are drastic swings in humidity levels inside the house, or under the house, if you have a raised-floor home with a crawlspace. Wood flooring in humid climates like ours should be properly acclimatized before it is installed, which is intended to prevent drastic expansion or contraction.
Wood will absorb some moisture, which causes it to expand. Conversely, when humidity drops, especially when it drastically falls, the wood will contract. This can affect many parts of your home but is often most noticeable when it affects your flooring.
If you’re just now noticing buckling or cupping after years of not having issues then something has likely changed in your home, likely the humidity level in the home or below the home. For example, if you’re running the air conditioning in your house, which also dehumidifies the air, but the crawlspace vents of your raised floor house are clogged or otherwise blocked, you may have a much higher level of humidity below your floorboards than you do in your home, which may cause your flooring to buckle.
Preventing Mold Growth
The prevalence of mold among Panhandle area homes has a lot to do with all the humidity in the air. Mold is often the result of some issue, whether it’s an undetected plumbing leak, standing water below the house or just high humidity leading to an elevated moisture content in the wood of your home. But mold can actually occur without any damage once the moisture content of wood rises above 15 percent. Screws and nails in that wood will actually start to corrode once the moisture level hits roughly 18 to 20 percent.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent mold growth, buckling and other negative impacts excessive humidity have on area homes.
- When you upgrade your HVAC system make sure you’re installing a properly sized unit. Even if you’re a fan of the weather, it’s still important to run it during the hot, humid months to ensure humidity levels aren’t vacillating wildly within your home.
- If someone in your house takes a hot shower run the bathroom vent fan for 10 to 15 minutes afterward to prevent moisture from infiltrating your home.
- The same goes for cooking, where it’s a good idea to run your stove vent to prevent excessive moisture buildup.
- An obstructed clothes dryer vent can also result in excessive humidity buildup, so making sure the vent is in proper working order and unobstructed is important. If your humidity levels are still over 60%, even after implementing all the above suggestions, you may want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
- If your home does have a crawlspace, even a shallow one, make sure there’s no standing water in there and that there is adequate ventilation.
- A professional contractor may also be able to cover the ground in your crawlspace with plastic sheeting to prevent moisture from rising up into your crawlspace.
If You’re Struggling with Humidity, Contact Duggins Services
If you suspect your home is being affected by mold, or your flooring is obviously cupping or buckling, contact Duggins Services. Our professional disaster restoration technicians use advanced, industrial-grade humidifiers and drying equipment to remove all unwanted moisture from your home. We also offer sanitizing treatments to remove any traces of mold or mildew, as well as follow-up flooring repair.
For immediate emergency service call our 24-hour toll-free hotline: 850-474-9005.