- Doors and windows that are designed to allow less air leakage.
- Vapor barriers pre-installed in strategic areas.
- Better insulation used during the manufacturing process.
- Overall success in fulfilling Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code).
Although the features have many benefits, they can lead to excess moisture build-up inside of the house. Too much moisture, or high humidity, can be harmful to your mobile home.
What is humidity?
Humidity is the presence of water vapor in the air. Humidity is the culprit behind those muggy days in the middle of summer. It can also cause dew, fog, and precipitation.
When referring to humidity in the home, it is called relative humidity (RH). 50%-60% RH is optimal for health and comfortable living, but it has been known for condensation to form on windows when the RH is over 40%.
You can measure RH with a hygrometer.
What are the problems of having excessive humidity?
Humidity is a sneaky little twerp, since you can’t see the water flying around in the air, or swipe your hand and measure how wet it is. Here are some signs to watch out for:
High humidity increases the likelihood of air-borne irritants. When people react to allergens in the air, they often come down with sniffles, watery eyes, and may develop a skin irritation in some cases.
If one of your families is continually struggling with allergies in the house, it may be a sign of high humidity. The moisture in the air collects and spreads dust mites and mold spores.
If your allergies are worse indoors than they are outdoors, it is a good indicator that you need to reduce the level of humidity in your mobile home.
Mold Spots and Scavenger Hunt
Okay, it’s time for a treasure hunt! Try looking under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, the ceiling in the bathroom, and the areas around the toilet and shower. Do you see any little dark or black spots? You found the treasure…if you count mold as treasure.
Mold spots form when moisture cannot escape from a certain area. Humidity will increase the speed at which these grow and spread.
Condensation is a huge sign of excessive humidity in your mobile home. What looks like water will start to form on metal or cool surfaces:
- Glass jars, nic-knacks, etc.
- Faucets and Water Spouts
This can eventually lead to rust, mildew, and stains.
If you are catching whiffs of a musty smell around your home, that could be caused by too much moisture in the air. Musty odors come from mildew and mold, which both grow and spread due to high moisture levels.
Bulges Under Siding
If your mobile home is sealed well (a good thing), but you have a high amount of humidity in the home, “vapor pressure” may start to build. That is not a good thing.
Moisture in the air that can’t escape due to well-locked seals will force its way through the interior wall. As a result, it will damage your siding and create bulges on the exterior walls of your home, eventually bending and warping the siding.
You will also be able to tell when you have excess humidity when blisters and bubbles begin to form on exterior areas you have painted.
All these problems are the result of high humidity!
Humidity can be disastrous to a mobile home.
It can lighten your wallet and make you sick too!
It can lead to respiratory problems and black mold which can be deadly if not tended to quickly.
Carpets, wood flooring, wood joints and frames, paint, siding, pipes, canned goods, and ceilings can all be damaged from excess moisture in the air.
High humidity can also lead to fungus and rust that causes mechanical failures in HVAC systems and plumbing.
How does humidity get in my house?
It’s not so much that humidity “comes” into the mobile home, it actually occurs from simply living out your daily life.
Two to three gallons of moisture or water can be released into the air by a family of four living on a daily basis in a mobile home. Some of the things that contribute towards the added moisture are:
- Cooking meals on the stovetop
- Washing dishes, floors, and clothes
- Taking baths and showers
Not all families are equal of course. Some might sweat more, cook more, wash more, etc. If all of these things are daily occurrences for your family, and your mobile home is well-sealed, then excessive humidity may be a problem you need to combat.
How can I reduce the humidity in my mobile home?
DIY to Lower Humidity
First, try to keep your home at a comfortable and consistent temperature. Higher temperatures lead to higher levels of moisture.
Second, open a window in each room*. This will allow dry air from outside to circulate into your home, while the moisture-filled air will flow out. You can do this if it is cold or hot outside.
*You do not have to open a window in every room at the same time.
Third, appliances such as dishwasher, fridges, and stoves should have adequate room between them and the wall. Gas-fueled appliances should be vented outside of the mobile home, but not underneath the mobile home.
Fourth, if your bathroom and kitchen have exhaust fans, run them while taking a bath or shower, and also while cooking. Use lids on your pots to keep moisture out of the air while cooking.
Fifth, do not use vaporizers in an area without proper ventilation for a long period of time.
Sixth, make sure furniture such as couches, dressers, and cabinets are not pressed tightly against the wall. Doing this will increase air circulation in the home. Tightly-packed furniture can lead to a buildup of moisture in those areas.
Seventh, make sure that ice dams that develop on your roof are taken care of during the winter months. Ice dams occur when built-up water on your roof freezes and creates an obstruction. Unfrozen water is prevented from draining off your roof and eventually leaks into your home. We talked about ice dams and how to take care of them in a previous article (Link to past article).
Eighth, make your shower time a little cooler and shorter.
These steps are pretty easy to do and can help you lower your humidity for almost no cost at all!
Mobile Home Dehumidifier
These babies are fantastic tools when you are needing to dry out the air in your home. Or maybe you just don’t want to shorten your hot showers!
There are three main categories of mobile home dehumidifiers:
- Desiccant dehumidifiers: This category of dehumidifier< uses desiccant to take the moisture from the air. You know those little packets (silica gel) that come in electronics and others items you buy? It’s kinda like that! This kind of dehumidifier is great for moderate humidity, and can handle freezing weather because it does not depend on water to operate. For smaller spaces, the Eva-Dry is a go-to model.
- Mechanical or Refrigerant Dehumidifiers: The air in your home goes through this device and touches a very cold metal plate. This turns the moisture into water drops (condensation), which then drains into a water tank. Unlike the model above, this type of dehumidifier cannot handle cool or cold water. Even though this dehumidifier type gets rid of the moisture in the air by cooling it, running it will raise the temperature in your home. Frigidaire also has a popular model.
- Peltier Dehumidifiers: An exceptional choice for the average-size bedroom since they are quiet and effective at removing the humidity. For those concerned about electrical bills, these models are not energy-efficient. Check out this Peltier Mobile Home Dehumidifier by Gurin.
Dehumidifiers should be your next step in battling humidity if the DIY suggestions are not cutting it.
Fighting against high humidity means fighting against mold, respiratory illnesses, and many other problems associated with having high levels of moisture in your mobile home.
Humidity: A Problem With Two Extremes
We talked about how high humidity inside of your mobile home and how to deal with it, so now we’re done … right?
You will also have problems if your RH is to low in your house. Humidity is kind of like the Force – there is a balance that needs to be maintained.
What Causes Low Humidity?
During the winter season, the temperature drops in your mobile home, which causes the air to hold less moisture. Furnaces can also dry out the air in a mobile home. With extreme winter temperatures and a furnace hard at work, the RH can drop to a mere 10%! That is way too low!
What Damages Are Caused By Low Humidity?
Dry air, or low RH, in a mobile home can result in different kinds of damage.
- Wood furniture can swell, crack, and lose its strength, due to the rise and fall of humidity.
- Wine can be ruined as low humidity dries out the cork and allows air to seep in.
- Books can be become brittle and fall apart due to dry air.
- Musical instruments quickly become out of tune when stored in low humidity.
- Walls and wallpaper can separate and peel due to air with little moisture.
- Photo collections or albums can become discolored and brittle.
- Wall art can peel and crack due to dry air.
These are just a few examples of what can be damaged due to low RH in your mobile home.
But low moisture in the air can also affect your health. The respiratory system has a mucous membrane to help protect the respiratory system. Basically, the membrane produces slimy stuff to protect all the organs that allow you to breathe. When your house has a low RH, it dries out the membrane, which can lead to colds, flu, and other viruses. Viruses also live longer in places with low humidity!
Low humidity can lead to:
- Dry skin
- Irritated sinuses and throat
- Itchy eyes
DIY Techniques For Raising Humidity
If you are trying to take care of the humidity problem on a budget, then here are some simple DIY steps you can complete. Let’s put water in the air!
Try air-drying your clothes! You don’t have to wear a bonnet and travel back in time before drying machines were invented. Simply take your damp clothes and hang them over the side of your tub or shower rod, or buy a drying rack that you can put anywhere in your house that needs an extra shot of moisture.
If you have vases, or decorative dishes sitting on shelves to make your home look dashing, fill them with a little bit of water! Over time the water wall evaporate, adding moisture to the dry air! (Be sure to replace the water regularly. Sitting water can grow bacteria and attract bugs.)
Cook more on the stovetop than in the oven. Steam is a great way to generate moisture and raise your RH! Also, make more coffee and tea. That shouldn’t be too hard to do!
Do you have bath lovers in your house? Maybe it’s you or your kids. Regardless, after bathtime is over, DON’T DRAIN THE WATER RIGHT AWAY! Let the water sit and cool down to, or below, room temperature. This gives more time for the bath water to evaporate. IF YOU HAVE SMALL CHILDREN, WE ADVISE NOT TO LEAVE A FILLED BATHTUB UNATTENDED!!!
Humidifiers simply evaporate water inside of a water tank and release the steam into the air. We recommend that you do not use tap water in humidifiers since it increases the chance of growing Legionella bacteria. Instead, use bottled or purified water.
This Urpower humidifier is a very popular model on the market. It also allows you to use your favorite essential oils. This is a single room humidifier. If you are looking for a whole house humidifier, you would have to find someone to install it directly into your furnace.
A Battle on Both Sides
Whether your RH is too low, or too high, deal with it quickly before damage is done to your mobile home AND your health.
You are now armed with DIY ways you can regulate the humidity in your house. If you still feel like you can’t get a handle of the moisture in the air, buy a dehumidifier or humidifier to help.
Follow the tips and tricks in this guide to bring a balance to the force…I mean humidity.