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Answering all those burning questions you didn’t know you had about home ownership.

Battling Summer Heat & Humidity

Picture of Jessica Dabkowski

Jessica Dabkowski

Helping you with all things homeownership!

An Epic Battle: You vs. Michigan Summer

It’s Michigan in the summer.  Those of you who have seen me recently know my hair isn’t tolerating the heat and humidity (bigger is not always better, people!), but is your home?  Let’s explore some homeowner hints that will allow you to let loose on the lake instead of digging around in your toolbox this summer.

Keep It Cool

Even if its hot outside, you want to keep in cool inside. In addition to making you uncomfortable, the heat and humidity can damage your home.

Get your A/C system serviced professionally.  Oh, man, I hate to beat a dead horse, but consider getting your A/C checked out before it warms up (it’s Michigan, but give it your best guess!). I know I am a little late to the party for this summer, but this advice endures for all summers to come.  Even if your system is relatively new, you want to get your heating and cooling system maintained at the change of seasons. This preventative service can help you can avoid any emergency problems.

Clear away debris around your outside air conditioning unit. Clear out any shrubs, weeds or other growth that is too close to your unit. You want it to work properly and be as efficient as possible.  Also, eyeball any wires because rodents love to chew on them.  My pest control specialist noted they always place a bait box nearby to draw the mice away from the A/C unit wires.

Clean or replace your units air filters.  Stick to your manufacturer’s recommendations and replace the filter to ensure air is flowing through the unit as designed. Your A/C unit will be working in overdrive to keep you cool, so do your part to make it work effectively. You can order air filters online to keep it simple and easy.

Go shopping for portable or window A/C units or a few fans.  If you don’t have central A/C, there are other options.  My father-in-law (hey, G!) picked up a few similar to these slick ductless beauties, and they work great (if a bit creepily as they sense your body heat and blast the air in that direction!). Other options include oscillating fans, ceiling fans, window A/C units and portable A/C units.  

Look for the energy star logo to keep your bills low and the earth livable.  If you are picking up a fan, remember, fans cool people, NOT rooms.  So if the room is empty, flip that switch to OFF to conserve energy.

Prevent Moisture and Mold

Summer means higher levels of humidity, cue the mold and mildew.  High humidity levels can wreak havoc on your home and stuff.  It can warp wood and cause condensation on walls. Plus, heat and humidity can damage electronics, pianos, books, clothing and more.

Check your basement.  Basements can become musty and moist, especially on humid days. If you have a basement or live in a lower level condo, tackle this problem before it gets out of hand. No one wants to deal with health concerns from mold or have ruined items.

Get a dehumidifier to remove moisture. Make sure you buy the right dehumidifier, and the correct size for the room.  You can adjust humidity levels to better draw the moisture out. You will find ones that come with a bin that you have to empty or you can connect a tube to a drain so it empties continuously. Whatever you purchase, make sure it will automatically shut down before overflowing with water! Keep in mind, dehumidifiers vary according to how many pints of moisture they can remove in 24 hours. 

BONUS:  Use the accumulated water to water your garden or perform other household chores that don’t require drinking-quality water.

Manage your indoor humidity levels for summer.  Try to reduce the humidity levels to around 40-50%.  Your programmable thermostat may indicate your home’s relative humidity, so check that out. There are several lifestyle changes and solutions to help you keep humidity levels in check.

Ventilate in high moisture areas in your home.  Make sure that bathrooms or kitchens have vent fans or at the very least, an open window.  They now make bathroom fans with awesome bells and whistles. My fan includes a bluetooth speaker that allows me to blast music while I get ready. Models that sense the humidity and kick on when they sense humidity are also a great option. No one has to remember to flip a switch on or off!

Consider getting a home ventilation or humidification system if you do not have one so you can set appropriate levels for your home in summer and winter.  Run the A/C when it makes sense to curb household moisture.  If you have a crawl space, make sure to insulate it with a plastic vapor barrier and install vents.

Prevent mold in your home. Too much moisture in the air is a health concern and can worsen allergies and asthma.  Mold is dangerous and the best prevention is to beat that moisture back.  If you think you have a mold problem – it even can happen behind walls or under carpets — contact a professional.  You definitely want to avoid major health issues for your family.  As an agent, I always draw attention to anything that appears to be a “mold-like substance” when I am walking through a home with a buyer because anything that even remotely resembles mold is a big red flag.  

Enjoy what’s left of summer because we all know after the 4th of July, Target puts out that “back to school” display and summer is as good as over.  But, at least, you’ve done your part to keep your home in tip-top shape as we head into the autumn leaves.  As always, reach out to me if you need any assistance battling that heat and humidity and share my info with your friends!

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