Creating a Safe and Healthy Home Step 3: Eliminate Moisture, Keep it Dry

— Written By

Water is absolutely essential to our basic survival. We must have clean fresh water for drinking and cooking. And our lives are made much more healthy and comfortable by having clean water for bathing and cleaning. Water is so essential to our well-being that we pipe fresh water directly into our homes and pipe waste water out. But our buildings have very different needs than the people who occupy them. Water in all its forms, liquid, ice (frozen) vapor (gas) is a killer of our buildings. Excess moisture in buildings also creates conditions that have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

window condensation

Consider the following:

  • High moisture levels in houses over an extended period of time lead to structural problems, rotting wood framing members for example. It is estimated that 10% of the annual timber production in the United States goes to replace wood that rots in service.
  • Termites cause about $1 billion in damage to wood structures in the United States each year. Termites require significant amounts of moisture in or near the wood they eat.
  • Too much moisture in homes negatively affects indoor air quality and human health.
  • Allergy-inducing biological pollutants such as mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments
  • Pests such as rats, mice, and cockroaches in homes create many health-related risks. Keeping a home dry helps keep these pests out.

Written By

Sarah Kirby, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Sarah KirbyState Program Leader for Family & Consumer Sciences & Professor Call Dr. Sarah E-mail Dr. Sarah Agricultural & Human Sciences
NC State Extension, NC State University
Updated on Jun 24, 2019
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