Testing housing materials for moisture
Too much moisture in the home can be damaging to your health and the house structure.
The amount of moisture in concrete, wood and drywall can be measured. Also, the amount of moisture in wood joists, studs, furniture and cabinetry can be determined with a moisture meter. If the moisture content is less than 10% don't worry. Readings above 20% could indicate a problem.
If your house contains excess moisture:
- Turn up your thermostat higher than normal.
- Crack open two or more windows.
- Run exhaust fans.
- Run the bathroom fan beyond shower time.
- Use a dehumidifier (especially in hot, humid months).
- Check to see that exhaust appliances are running properly. Furnace, water heater and clothes dryers that are improperly vented increase moisture in the home.
Note that combustion gases from these appliances can be dangerous. Use a carbon monoxide meter to determine if gases are entering your home.
Wood moisture meters may be available at building supply centers. However, consider hiring a professional to check the moisture in your home.
Reviewed by Dick Stone April 2011
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