Learn to Improve the Relative Humidity in My Home
During the colder winter months, many homes become dry, uncomfortable and maintain low levels of moisture in the air. A closer look at why the air in our homes is so dry in the winter will help homeowners better understand why our homes dry out and how to best resolve it.
What Causes Dry Homes in the Winter
In winter, the air inside of homes is warmer than the colder air outside, which causes it to rise. Therefore, most homeowners are unaware that the warm air inside of homes rises (like a hot air balloon rises into the air). As a result, throughout the winter, warm air in our homes rise through the many holes and gaps into the attic. Essentially, we pay to heat our attics which is very inefficient and expensive.
Up in the attic, there are large holes and gaps that the builder never sealed. Unfortunately, most homeowners remain unaware of these gaps as well. Holes and gaps, such as chimneys and plumbing vent stacks, rise from the house to the attic. Or, where wires and ductwork run from the attic to the house and where recessed canned lights, dropped soffits, kneewalls and attic hatches connect the living space to the attic. Finally, these types of holes, gaps, and cracks between your home and your attic are quite common.
The warm air rising creates the underlying problem behind dry homes. How? The warm air rising from the house to the attic causes an equal amount of cold air from outside to enter your home and replace it. Additionally, cold air does not contain (or hold) as much moisture as warm air. As a result, the cold air entering the home remains extremely dry. Ultimately, this causes very low humidity levels in the home. Plus, the more cracks, gaps and holes that connect your home and attic, the larger the potential problem. As more warm air rises in your home and escapes, more cold air replaces it. It is a vicious cycle.
How to Fix the Underlying Issues that Cause Dry Homes
To permanently fix these problems, all holes, gaps and penetrations in the attic need to be sealed using spray foams, foam boards, house wraps, tapes, caulks and other sealants to ensure the warm air from your furnace that you already paid to heat is blocked from rising up into the attic.
However, air sealing transforms dry, uncomfortable homes into comfortable homes. It turns dry homes that are expensive to heat and cool into efficient homes that retain their moisture levels throughout the year.