An Otago University study recently found a family of four can produce 34 litres of moisture a day through everyday tasks? That’s astonishing and above most people's expectation. Imagine taking 16 x 2 litre milk containers, filling them with water and spilling it all over your home.
Moisture in the home is introduced by cooking, showering, water leaks from the roof and windows and even breathing. Leaving windows and doors open on days when you wouldn’t hang washing on the line lets in dampness. Unflued heaters, drying laundry inside, pets and bringing wet items into the house all contribute. As they dry that moisture transfers elsewhere in the home.
Based on the university study, the NZ Herald calculated how much water vapour a family of four produces through daily activities in their home. The results are fascinating – and quite concerning. No wonder many of our homes are unhealthy.
Four people breathing actively for 14 hours can produce around 11 litres of water a day or 0.2 litres an hour per person.
Drying clothes inside can add 5 litres of moisture per load, compared to 0.5 litres for washing one load of clothes.
Cooking can add up to 3 litres a day and experts recommend using pan lids to contain steam and fans that vent outside the house where possible to reduce that amount.
Showers and baths produce 1.5 litres per person per day.
One person spending an average of 14 hours (including sleep) at home will produce 0.03 litres of sweat every hour.
Air with a higher level of moisture takes more energy to heat, which will increase the household energy bills or reduce your thermal comfort.
Obviously we can’t stop undertaking these activities – they are all part of normal living and in some cases life itself. However, it is quite easy to rid the home of excess moisture. This will make it drier, warmer and healthier.
First a home ventilation system such as Unovent® should be installed. This will provide adequate ventilation at all times – even when the house is closed up all day while occupants are at work or school – even when they are away on holiday. Together with this, obvious sources of moisture should be eliminated or prevented from entering the house such as leaking pipes, ground water flowing through the dirt under the floor boards, and a check should be made to ensure there is a free flow of air into the roof cavity from outside to ensure the dry air drawn into the house is being replaced by dry air from outside.
Adding a Showerdome to your bathroom will make a huge difference to the amount of moisture generated by family ablutions. This stops the problem whereas running extractor fans simply expels some damp air – along with expensive heat.
Second the home should have adequate heating to ensure the right temperature level for comfort.
Third the home should be insulated wherever possible to reduce heat losses in the colder months and to reduce heat gains from outside in the hot months.
All three issues are needed for a healthy and comfortable home – heating for the right comfort level, moisture reduction to prevent mould and other high maintenance issues and insulation to reduce energy losses. Any one of the three cannot perform the task of the other two.
The Unovent® Home Ventilation system for moisture reduction is the least expensive and cheapest to run. It can be installed by any electrician or is the only system that is possible to install yourself. In a very short time your home will cease to have weeping windows and become dry and warm. It will even pay for itself in a couple of years due to reduced heating costs – not to mention all the other costs associated with cleaning moulds and living in an unhealthy environment.