Understanding the Relationship between Water Leaks, Air Leaks and Moisture, and an Unhealthy Home

Moisture problems are the key destructive forces that can destroy your home. Moisture problems are a critical factor in how healthy the air is in your home: for you, for your family and even your pets.

This webpage intends  to trace the relationship of water as leaks and water as vapor to enabling the biological pollutants- mold for example- but there are many others which help make your air unhealthy.

We will  look at an array of structural issues that impact the ability of your home to keep out leaks. We will explore air leaks which are the source of the humidity in your home, and then examine the effectiveness of your mechanical systems to handle that moisture, and make you comfortable. All must work together to make you safe- to make you comfortable. Defects anywhere, poor design anywhere means trouble is brewing. Lets get started.

Your home requires 3 critical functions.

  • It needs a secure weather shell, that  keeps the rain and weather out of your superstructure…
  • your home has by definition an envelope around the living space which is an air boundary between outdoor air and the conditioned space inside. This boundary determines how well your home prevents air leaks
  • your home has a mechanical system which heats and cools and circulates ar. If it is working effectively, it is distributing air evenly and ridding the house of too much humidity.

When all these systems are well designed and integrated properly- when all parts of the house are working well as a system, you will be pleased, be comfortable, and be saving money. When they are not you will have issues- and you also might have an unhealthy home.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”We have a comprehensive view of the factors which can create an unhealthy home for perspective.” bwidth=”2″]You will find reference to it around this website later. It is the broadest view of the issues which effect us. That page is  unhealthy air and unsafe homes.[/stextbox]

An understanding of these fundamental forces can save you much aggravation and much money. People spend thousands of dollars on equipment to make healthy air, but unless the underlying fundamentals are understood, and the structure and mechanical equipment meet these fundamental requirements, you will be treating symptoms and not reaching down to treat the root causes of the unhealthy home.

We must remember our homes  are systems and the performance of the entire system relates to how well each component works in relation to all the others. And all these interrelated issues are exacerbated by extreme weather when your mechanical system is operating closest to capacity. We deal with the issue of a home as a system here,  but for now we are going to address home issues in an arbitrary order and in discrete parts.

Structural Issues dictate how well your home handles water as liquid and water as vapor- as moisture.

The structure of your home dictates how well your home sheds water off and away from its exterior  and keep water from leaking in from the environment. This is what is called the weather shell. We discuss the structure and issues with the weather shell here.

Plumbing and mechanical equipment channel water around in your house. Any leaks here are sources of rot and mold and mildew. We must prevent leaks inside the house. We talk about plumbing and internal systems which channel water here. 

Humidity plays a key role in the overall health of your home.

Leaks create problems in specific areas where leaking water is absorbed into the structure. Mold growth here can work its way out and create real problems.

Humidity problems can be anywhere inside the house and all you have to have is a humidity problem and a cool surface on which to condense the high humidity.

We have a lots of moist hot air around Texas during the summer. We discuss the problem of humidity in Texas here.  Moisture outside only effects your home when it is leaking in and out of your home and you are picking up more moisture than your HVAC system can handle well. But leaking air is not good. We talk about basic issues with air leaks here.

It is essential to have some perspective on the nature of water and vapor and the relationship between humid air outside and humidity problems inside your home and get an inkling as to the relationship between humidity and  the growth of biological pollutants in your home, and the humidity conditions that help trigger asthma and other illnesses.

Another Critical factor determining the health of your home is the performance of your HVAC and mechanical system and its ability to handle the moisture in your home. If defects in your HVAC system do not allow air to circulate properly, and/or if the ducts leak or are poorly insulated- well, you can have condensation problems resulting in mold and mildew growth.  We talk about potential defects in HVAC systems and ducts that can make you uncomfortable here. 

Your fans around the house which are used to shed moisture air from bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms are also a critical issue.  If your fans are not expelling moist air properly, you are likely suffering from specific areas of condensation which eventually result in mold and mildew, biological pollutants, et. al.- even if you have not found the problem yet- but maybe your nose is giving you a sense of an issue- or the health of your occupants- human or pets- is less than Ideal. We talk about house fans and moisture issues here.

From this perspective we are then able  to move on to a comprehensive look at your home and determine what you can do to make it healthier for humans and pets and relatives.

We have tried here to create the fundamental chain of natural forces acting on your home here and their impact on the level of moisture in your home, and the role of that moisture in the health of your home. There are other factors which impact the health of your home- critical issues, but unless you understand the role of moisture and deal with moisture in your home, you have not really come to grips with the fundamentals.

Don’t let people divert you into peripheral issues, or talk you into treating symptoms. You need to strike at the root causes with sound solutions. There are just a lot of things to avoid. Save money save stress by concentrating your time and effort on substantial solutions.

Each of these pathways above, taking about leaks, taking about excess moisture, dealing with mechanical issues.. each delve into solutions. We have an overview document on solutions here, -LINK- if that is useful. Feel free to add your thoughts below.

 

 

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