How Much is Your Moisture Bill?

Rain, rain, and more rain! We've had more rain than I can recall in recent memory. So far, our winter has been a soggy mess.

Consequently, about 1/3rd of our appointments at Bird Family Insulation are from homeowners who are confronting the negative consequences of moisture.

Thanks in-part to prevailing winds and our proximity to the Gulf and Atlantic oceans, Atlanta stays pretty soggy. Consequently, in our climate zone - we have to deal with water in its many forms, year-around.

Moisture hits us in different ways:

Liquid… as rain and bulk water intrusion gets into our homes and properties.

Vapor… as absorbed into the air and affecting us as humidity in saturated air.

Condensed… the liquid state of water discovered on surfaces (seen and unseen).

This moisture has to be recognized. When moisture is ignored, it's detrimental to our comfort, increases the cost of maintaining our homes, and increases heating and cooling costs to maintain our comfort. Often, it's that nasty odor that alerts us, that we have a moisture problem!

The obvious...
In our part of the country, many homes are built on vented crawlspaces. A vented crawlspace is a huge source of moisture. In fact, I see the effects of every form of water (bulk, vapor, condensation) in almost every crawlspace I evaluate.

1. Excessive moisture in our homes leads to mold, mildew, increase in insect activity, and environments that are prone to negatively impact health with depressed indoor air quality.

2. Bulk water has to be addressed right away. When bulk water intrusion is ignored, the house is structurally at risk. Wood rot, erosion around foundation footings, and even equipment or appliance damage are the results of ignoring bulk water intrusion in your crawlspace or basement. Ignore a roof leak, and another host of issues arise from wet insulation, ruined sheetrock, organisms, etc.

3. Condensation can form in places you'd never see until it's created conditions that are destructive on several levels. In our area, water (condensation) dripping from AC vents is very common during the summer months. If ignored, fungi begins to grow. I've seen nasty effects of condensation in flex ducts, when condensate forms on uninsulated sheet metal surfaces and soaks the thin layer of fiberglass insulation in the flex duct. Have you noticed those "zebra lines" on your flex ducts?

MOISTURE COSTS

Without doubt, the dehumidifier is the appliance of choice most of us use for dealing with moisture. In our climate zone, a dehumidifier will increase our electric bill an average of 10%!

Add the investment costs of encapsulating your crawlspace, with a french drain & sump pump system, and you're talking about a lot of money for the average homeowner.

How many of us keep turning down the thermostats during summer, getting the house far colder than we prefer, simply because (due to high humidity in the house) we don't feel comfortable? "Bob, the house feels stuffy unless we're running the AC." Remember: the typical AC system does not begin removing water from your indoor environment until it's been operating at least 20 minutes!

Growing up in Forest Park, Mom & Dad built a 1958, brick home on a basement. The basement walls were concrete blocks, and when it rained, our basement leaked! There was a small stream of GA red-clay-tinted water that cut diagonally across our basement floor. Everything in the path of that stream was positioned on pallets. We never "finished" our basement (35 years they lived in that house), because of that leak. How do you calculate the cost of that unused space and damaged furnishings?

More and more Atlanta homeowners are wrestling with how to reduce the growing costs that moisture is wreaking in our homes. The bottom line seems to be, here in the Atlanta area, that our "Moisture Bill" is one that must be considered as serious as our heating and cooling bills!

Bob Bird, President

Bird Family Insulation

If you’re having a problem with your home comfort, talk to the insulation experts from Bird Family Insulation! Dial (404) 666-8160 today to request an estimate.

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