You wake up to the weekend ready to relax and watch your favorite TV series. So, you go to the bathroom for your morning routine, and then it hits you: the unmistakable smell of mold. You also notice small patches of the fuzzy stuff growing by your tub or shower tiles.
Those are all signs you’re dealing with humidity issues in your Jacksonville, FL, home. It’s certainly a concern, but don’t panic yet: you can still take steps to control moisture indoors.
This guide shares tactics to help you deal with excessive humidity problems at home, so read on.
Hunt Down Plumbing Leaks
The average U.S. household has water leaks that waste nearly 10,000 gallons yearly.
That’s a lot of precious water that doesn’t always go down the drain. Instead, some mix with indoor air, raising humidity levels. In other cases, the leaks affect wood structures and surfaces, encouraging mold growth.
Luckily, some leaks, including those from taps and shower heads, are easy to spot. Others, not so much, as they can come from pipes behind walls, in the ceilings, or under the floor.
A water meter assessment is one way to determine if you have plumbing leaks. Do this when no one else is at home, as no water usage should occur throughout the test.
First, check your water meter, which is likely in your front yard, near the sidewalk or street. Once you find it, copy the numbers on its display. Then, wait for at least two hours before rechecking it.
If the numbers changed, and you’re sure no one used water at home, you likely have plumbing leaks. Call your local plumber to help you locate and fix them.
Check if Your AC Sweats or Drips
Sweating in an AC unit is normal; it occurs when warm, humid air touches the AC’s cold evaporator coils. That’s also why air conditioners have drain pans; they exist to collect condensation. The pipe connected to the pan then channels the collected water out of your home.
What’s not okay is if your air conditioner sweats excessively or leaks water. These are signs of frozen evaporator coils; they have ice that drips water as it thaws.
Aside from drips, frozen coils may also lead to a short-cycling or constantly running AC. It may also feel like your AC isn’t cooling your home enough.
Either way, an AC that sweats too much can increase indoor humidity. You may still be able to fix this by turning off the unit, letting it thaw, and replacing its filthy air filter. Dirty filters, which significantly impair airflow, can lead to frozen coils.
After that, monitor your AC every 30 minutes to see if it’s sweating excessively again. If so, you may have a more severe problem, such as leaking or low refrigerant levels. Please call a local HVAC repair company to inspect and fix your system.
Mind the AC Drain Pan and Pipe
The opening in your AC’s drain pan or pipe can get clogged with dirt, dust, mold, and mildew. The last two are particularly common in Jacksonville, FL, due to the city’s warm and humid climate.
Since the drain pan and pipe remain damp when the AC is on, they’re ideal environments for fungi. Molds can grow over the opening, blocking the water from exiting. This can cause the droplets to converge into a tiny pool and overflow from the pan.
If not addressed promptly, that overflow can lead to water damage and higher humidity. It can also encourage more mold growth.
Mold exposure, in turn, causes or contributes to allergies, irritation, and infections. Some mold species may also have toxic effects.
To reduce the risks of such hazards, make it a habit to inspect your AC drain pan once a week. Ensure it’s clear and that nothing obstructs its opening.
If the pan has holes other than the one for the drain pipe (e.g., it has rusted through), ring up your local HVAC company. They may be able to fix it, but if it’s severely damaged, they may have to replace it.
Use Exhaust and Ventilation Fans
Exhaust and ventilation fans bring warm, moist air from inside your home to the outdoors. So, you should have these installed in your kitchen and bathrooms. Turn them on whenever you cook or take baths and showers.
Clean Your Gutters
Rainwater can overflow from clogged gutters and seep into your home’s foundation. Or, it might trickle down your soffit and external walls and into your home or basement. Either way, these can cause or contribute to higher indoor humidity levels.
Clogged gutters also have the added risk of attracting pests like mosquitoes. They’ve always been a problem in Jacksonville but seem to have been even more active last summer. There was a 200% increase in the number of complaints about them from the city’s residents.
That’s all the more reason to inspect and clean your gutters once every week or two. Have sagging joints or damaged areas fixed by a professional, too. These steps can help keep them from becoming a source of moisture and pest-borne diseases.
Invest in Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers can help decrease humidity by sucking the moisture out of humid air. After this, they expel the much drier air back into the space.
You can use dehumidifiers in moisture-prone areas, such as the bathrooms and kitchen. It’s also wise to place one in your basement and another in the attic.
Just remember to set alarms to remind you to empty them. You may have to do this once or twice a day, depending on the device’s size and your home’s indoor humidity.
Combat Humidity Issues With These Strategies
Indoor humidity issues don’t just make your home feel stuffy and oppressive. They can also lead to health concerns by promoting mold growth.
All that should prompt you to tackle the root causes of your high indoor humidity levels ASAP.
Is your air conditioner behind or contributing to your humidity woes? Then, our team of professionals here at Whitley’s Heating and Air can help! We are a leading provider of high-quality HVAC services in Jackson, FL.
Contact us today to schedule your service!