The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot & Muggy Weather Tips

With this terrible muggy weather we have had numerous customers ask Mr. Handyman what can be done to make their homes more comfortable. Here are some tips to keep cool during this season.

If it feels warm and muggy in your home and the A/C seems to remain on throughout the day it is time to take some action.

1. Have the A/C unit serviced. You may have condenser coils that need cleaned. The system may need a charge or the evaporator coil may need checked. The service man can look for other reasons the A/C unit is getting a workout this summer (duct work that can be directed to pull more warm air from the upstairs to be cooled).

2. Check the attic. You may not have enough insulation in the attic to keep the cool air in the home. The standards for the amount of insulation have changed in the last decade. If your home is 10 years or older you may not have the recommended amount of insulation for this area in your attic. A value of R39 is recommended which is about 19 inches of the blown-in type. Adding insulation will pay for itself in a few years so it is a great long-term investment. Also the attic may not be vented properly trapping the hot air and allowing that hot air seep down into the living space. My mother-in-law saves over $60/month because we added insulation in her attic.

3. Doors and windows may be leaking that cool air and allowing the warm muggy air into the home. Inspect and evaluate all windows and doors for signs the weather-stripping is doing its job. Replace any that is suspect. Weather-stripping is inexpensive compared to higher utility bills and it could save you $$$ each month.

4. Reduce the use of "heat-producers." Grill out more instead of turning on the hot stove or oven. Boiling water for pasta puts a lot of heat and moisture into the home. Use the microwave more. Run the dishwasher and dryer at night when the heat load is reduced.

5. Block the hot sun from coming in. Keep blinds and shades pulled on the South and west sides of the home during the day.

Controlling the Humidity Level in Your Home

Do you have a humidity problem in your home?  How can you keep the humidity level at a comfortable level during these hot and humid summer days.

Humidity is measured with a hygrometer.  Some of the least expensive hygrometers are part of a thermometer assembly on a clock.  See photo.  They are not the most accurate but they are great to get an overall picture of the humidity level in your home.
If it reads above 50% you should take steps to reduce the moisture content in your home to keep mold, mildew and the attraction of pests down in your living space.

Here are a few tips:

Run the bath vent fan during a bath or shower then for 20 minutes after

Grill out more and boil noodles and other food items on the grill.

Keep the toilet lids down (GUYS!!!)

Be sure the downspouts direct the water a minimum of 4-6 ft away from the foundation

Crack a window in the basement

Install a humidity-ridding device such as a dehumidifier, Humidex or Easy-Breathe type systems

Keep the AC turned down to the desired temp, do not bump it up and down.  Your AC system does a great job of removing humidity from the home but only when it is running!

Place large plants outdoors if possible, if not water them sparingly.

If you have a sidewalk or patio right up against the foundation, be sure the crack between them is completely sealed.

Remember a home that is too wet — where the humidity is greater than 50% — can be a breeding ground for mold, rot, pests such as termites and cockroaches, and condensation. It can cause health problems for you and your family, pets included.  Keep it under control by implementing these tips and observe your humidistat daily to see how you are doing.