How Kiwis Tackle Moisture Problems in the Home

If you live in a house that struggles with moisture and dampness, it can be an embarrassing and annoying problem to deal with. Wiping down crying windows, constantly trying to get rid of damp smells and moving furniture away from the walls to make sure it stays dry – these aren’t things that people want to do. But rest assured, if you’ve got a damp house, you’re definitely not alone.

Moisture is a common issue in New Zealand homes and people are dealing with it every day. It can feel like a constant job with the damp waiting to creep in as soon as you turn your back. So, how are Kiwis dealing with moisture issues in their homes? 

Below, we’ve gathered a bunch of information and tips especially for New Zealanders coping with moisture problems at home. Take a look below to figure out your best defence!

How Do You Know if Your Home is Damp?

Before we get to the fixes, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of the various ways you can spot dampness creeping into your home. While it’s sometimes easy to see where this is happening, having a thorough knowledge of the prime areas for moisture means you’ll be able to tackle it before it develops into a bigger problem.

Rotting surfaces 

One of the biggest signs of moisture is rot in your floor or walls. This is a signifier that moisture has been invading your home for a long time and that you might even have an issue with how much water is making its way inside. If you can see or feel parts of your walls or flooring giving way due to rot, it’s important that you immediately find the root cause.

Musty smell 

An obvious indicator of dampness is the unpleasant musty smell that permeates a house with moisture issues. The smell could be present in your entire home, in specific rooms (often ones that are cooler or don’t receive as much sunlight), or in cupboards and wardrobes, where damp can often set in without you noticing.

Mould and mildew 

Mould in the house is another visual clue that your home is damp. Mould easily grows and spreads when it’s fed by moisture and often appears on walls, ceilings, inside wardrobes, and even on soft furnishings like couches. 

And speaking of wardrobes, be sure to keep an eye out for mildew – a close friend of mould. Unlike mould which can be green, blue, red, or black, mildew is white. You’ll often find mildew on clothes and shoes stored in wardrobes or drawers.

folding clothing

Moisture levels 

Aside from visual or odour clues, you can also identify a moisture problem by how the air in your home feels. If your house feels humid indoors, it could be a sign of excess moisture. This is because the moisture either has no quick escape from your home, or there’s simply too much of it. If the air in your house constantly feels heavy and moisture-laden, be sure to investigate.

Cool or damp surfaces 

Going hand in hand with damp, heavy air are walls, floors, or ceilings that feel cool and damp to the touch. This is a clear sign that your home is dealing with excess moisture and it doesn’t take long before cold walls turn damp and damp walls turn mouldy. If you’re concerned about damp walls, pull your couches, chairs, and beds away from walls to avoid them being damaged as well.

Even if you can’t tell if your walls are especially damp, you might be able to see evidence of this with dark or discoloured patches – tell-tale signs that there are areas where damp is sneaking in. Or, alternatively, your wallpaper might be lifting or peeling, indicating that the damp has eroded the wallpaper paste and made the wall vulnerable to mould and mildew.

Condensation

Another classic sign of a home afflicted by moisture is excessive condensation on windows. While a little condensation may not be cause for concern, windows that need to be wiped down with towels or rags could signify real issues.

Where Does Moisture in and out of the Home Come From? 

Now that we’ve covered how to spot excess moisture, the next important step is figuring out where the moisture originated so it can be stopped at the source. There are several ways that excess moisture is created both indoors and outdoors, so let’s break it down by area.

Indoors

Moisture in a home can simply be created by having humans living there. We expel moisture all day long in our breath and sweat, making some moisture unavoidable. In saying that, there are other ways moisture is being released into your home environment that you can curb so that it doesn’t turn into a big problem.

One room that’s a big source of moisture is the kitchen. This is a room where a lot of water is used during the cooking and cleaning process, not to mention the steam vapour that comes off pots and pans on the stove and condenses into droplets.

cooking food on stove

If you dry your clothes inside on a drying rack, this will release a lot of moisture into the air as the items dry. In fact, one load of laundry drying in an unventilated room can release up to five litres of moisture into your home! And speaking of clothes drying, your laundry room is another area that sees a lot of moisture. With all of the water being used to wash clothing, the laundry can be a room where issues with moisture originate.

The bathroom is also a room to think about. Showers and baths produce a lot of steam and water when used – and many of us will be familiar with bathrooms that quickly develop mould. This comes as no surprise once you learn that showers and baths are responsible for 1.5 litres of water per day, per person!

Outdoors

Moving outside, poor drainage can be responsible for creating a damp atmosphere. If your property has insufficient drainage, or there are points of the property where water might pool – particularly under your house – then that moisture can find its way inside where it could wreak havoc. Poor drainage can come from broken, blocked, or badly connected pipes and it can be hard to find the source of the problem, particularly if it’s not raining.

How to Prevent Moisture in the Home

So you’ve identified your home has moisture issues, what can you do to fix it? Plenty! Whether it’s one thing causing the problem, or many, here are a bunch of tips to help.

  • Consider your cookware.
    As we know, the kitchen is a source of moisture and making it standard practice to cook with lids on pots and pans will help reduce the amount of vapour escaping into your home. Opening windows as you cook or using a rangehood will also help considerably.
     
  • Dry your clothes outside.
    Meanwhile, if you’ve got clothes to dry, be sure to do it outside. Make use of outdoor lines, or plan big washing days for when it will be particularly sunny so you can capitalise on the good weather. If you have to dry indoors, be sure to open doors and windows to create a cross-breeze and allow stale, moist air to escape and fresh air to replace it.
     
  • Fan away the steam while you shower.
    For bathrooms, make sure you use an extractor fan to help speed up the escape of steam after your shower or bath. If your home doesn’t have an extractor fan, get one installed – it’s relatively inexpensive and can significantly help. Just be sure to get one that’s big enough for the size of your bathroom. 
  • Find every opportunity for airflow.
    There are also a few things you can do to help your clothing, shoes and furniture stay mould and mildew free. Leave wardrobe doors open so that moisture and damp don’t sit inside, with no airflow. And pull your couch and beds slightly away from the walls so that they don’t sit hard against them and get wet. 
  • Try a dehumidifier.
    When things are particularly damp, make use dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture and keep rooms comfortable. This can really help during rainy weather when there’s even more moisture in the atmosphere. 
  • Check your pipes.
    Speaking of rain, next time there’s a big downpour, try to check your pipes and drainage – the best time to identify any flaws is when it’s raining. Once you’ve discovered any problems then you can work on fixing them. Fix or reconnect any broken pipes, fill any areas where water is prone to settling, and clean drains and pipes of debris like dirt, sticks, and plants.

Install a Home Ventilation System

A major long-term solution for dealing with moisture is installing a home ventilation system. A ventilation system will reduce moisture in your home and make it a comfortable space for you and your family to live in. 

A ventilation system sits in your roof cavity and is connected to the interior of your home through a series of ducts and vents. The roof ventilation system then draws in the warm air from your cavity space and pushes it through the ducts, passing it through a series of filters and releasing it into your home. This movement forces the moisture-laden air out of your house, replacing it with the good fresh, filtered stuff instead.

This solution removes the need to employ passive ventilation and means your family will breathe air that has had common airborne asthma and allergy triggers filtered out. HRV ventilation systems use an F8 filter with Seta nano-fibre filtration technology to introduce only the freshest, cleanest air to your home.

If you’re searching for the best home ventilation system, first ensure that any major moisture problems in your home are sorted and then make an appointment for a free home assessment today – our knowledgeable professionals would be happy to help you.