Humidity and indoor air quality issues vary significantly from one geographic area to another, according to a new study reported in the Air Conditioning/Heating/Refrigeration News.
As a result, a single set of recommendations for moisture control across all geographic lines is impractical, researchers conclude.
The study was conducted by Steven Winter Associates for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in an effort to collect meaningful regional data on indoor humidity levels. High humidity can trigger respiratory problems, increase energy usage and promote the growth of mold and the presence of other airborne contaminants such as dust mites and bugs.
The study analyzed a full year of indoor temperature and humidity data from 60 homes in three geographic regions: the warm and humid Southeast, the cold Northeast and the Pacific Northwest.
The highest occurrence of moisture problems was in the Northeast, but the study found some commonalities from region to region: For example, the most common area of visible mold or moisture damage was around windows or in bathrooms.
Other study conclusions:
- In the Southeast, moisture problems occur most frequently in the late fall and early winter.
- In the Pacific Northwest, homes with moisture problems invariably had a crawl space lacking a properly sealed vapor barrier.
- In the Northeast, moisture leakage ion the basement was a key issue.