Home Maintenance: Humidity Control During Warm Weather Season

When it comes to home maintenance, humidity control is probably one of the most important factors for your home’s well-being and the air quality you experience in it.  Have too little humidity, and you’ll stress your home by over-drying.  You’ll see it manifested in the separation of drywall & trim joints, flooring, tile joints, fastener “pops,” and even in your furniture.  Adding to that, you’ll personally experience dry skin and hair, static electricity, and increased susceptibility to respiratory illness.  Too much humidity, and you’re dealing with the effects of expansion of these same construction components, condensation on your windows and surrounding woodwork, a ripe environment for dust mites (they absorb moisture from the air to survive) and bacteria, virus, and fungi growth.  Put all that together, and humidity control is a pretty big deal.

The Right Mentality

A common misconception is that humidity management is a “set it and forget it” event, or that it can be fully automated.  The bottom line is that you will have to manage your humidity based upon some key home design & environmental factors like, the quality & type of windows you have, type of HVAC system(s) and the level of engineering that went into it, your window treatments and how they’re hung, where your furniture and home décor is placed, what the temperature outside and inside are, whether or not you live next to water, whether or not you have a fireplace and how often you use it, etc.

The Goal

During the warm summer months, we recommend keeping the indoor humidity level below 60%.

The Science

Two things are important to understand about humidity:

  • Humidity moves fast – really fast.  It will also naturally race to where humidity levels are the lowest (including outdoors in the wintertime as you open doors or draw in fresh air for your fireplace).
  • Condensation is primarily dependent upon the temperature of air, while evaporation is dependent upon the temperature of water.

Resetting Misconceptions

  • Your humidistat device probably is not accurate (even new ones).  We’ve found them to range between 2% – 20% off.
  • Perhaps counterintuitively, the humidity % or # on your humidistat is NOT how you set your home’s humidity level.

Achieving the Goal | Warm-Weather Season

Most of us in Michigan don’t think too much about the effect of humidity on our homes in the summertime.  Instead, we usually monitor our personal comfort when we feel “sticky,” or aren’t sleeping well because of it.  Yet, in the warm-weather season, you will probably need a dehumidifier to mitigate the negative effects of humidity on your home and to gain simple health benefits.

Typically, your AC system will be your dehumidifier and the tool which provides that critical air circulation.  In addition, using ventilation fans during & after bathing, and when running the dishwasher and/or cooking, will prove helpful.  If you find your indoor humidity levels are consistently above 65%, either a whole-house dehumidifier or the strategic placement of “right-sized” portable dehumidifier(s) may be necessary (especially in basements), as levels at or above this may prove problematic.

System Maintenance

  • All humidifier pads & water filters will need to be changed at least 2x’s per season.
  • Some humidifiers will benefit from RO filtered water (helps reduce mineral build-up).
  • We recommend air handler filters be changed at least every 3 months.

Special Circumstance | Long-Term Cold Weather Absences

If you have a seasonal home or will be taking a winter hiatus to warmer climates, we encourage that you consider leaving your thermostat temps at the low end of the range we suggest, and that you leave your humidifier (and its water supply) functional.

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Hunting for Treasure

One of the things we like best about our work is the opportunity to make connections. In any home building or renovation project, we’re looking to create an environment that connects with our client and their vision of how they want to live. But in one recent case, creating that kind of connection also allowed us to connect with the past.

Our client came to us to help plan a new cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan. After several years of living in Paris with her family, she had developed a fondness for a certain quality of finishes that are difficult to find in new materials.

We were able to meet her extremely high expectations by introducing her to a local supplier of reclaimed barn wood. Jeremy Beadner of Barn Baron Lumber Company has built a business out of taking down old barns and reclaiming the reusable lumber and hardware. Beadner told us that in several years of harvesting this old wood, he’s come across some amazing treasures, including one continuous beam that was 16” x 16” and over 80 feet long, with an estimated value of over $10,000!

With new material readily available, you may wonder why anyone would choose to reuse old wood. In fact, many of these old structures were constructed with old-growth hardwood, which has extremely tight growth rings that give it a high level of structural integrity–making it a very sound choice for a new construction project. What’s more, the natural aging and weathering of this wood has given it a character and history that simply can’t be found in new materials. It turns out that was exactly the look our client was hoping for in her cottage.

We arranged a visit with the supplier, where our client was able to see and touch the different types of materials available for wall, ceiling, and floor surfaces, along with decorative faux structural beams. During the tour, our client also discovered an original barn door which we plan to repurpose for her project, restoring the hardware to function like new without losing any of its desirable, as-found patina. Now that the client understands what is available, we’ll work with her and the interior design team to choose the right lumber for the right locations throughout her cottage.

The barn wood is just one of the many details we’re considering to help our client’s vision come to life. We began working together very early, allowing us to recommend one of our most trusted partners for architecture and interior design services. We’ve also been able to help with environmental/DEQ regulations and permitting.

Coming into the project early allows us to manage the big picture so that everything runs smoothly–and continues to satisfy after move-in day. But along with understanding the big picture, we really love to focus on getting all of the details exactly right, too. Hunting down the perfect barn wood for this project is just one example of the extra mile we’ll go to make sure our clients end up delighted with their surroundings.

We’d love to do the same for you.

 

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Party in Pentwater!

Scott Christopher Homes was proud to sponsor the Village Of Pentwater’s 2015 Start of Summer Party!  This old-fashioned block party was a hit with wonderful food, friendship, music and dancing!  Bring on the sun!  We’re ready to celebrate!

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The Scott Christopher Homes Difference!

Kind words from a colleague and friend…

Brian,

I can’t thank you enough for the outstanding job that you, personally, and the entire group of SCH team members and subcontractors have done, Your orchestration and execution of the project is nothing short of perfection and a stellar example of how to do it with excellence.

I know you have made the clients extremely happy and you have made our job as architects on this complex and time sensitive project seem easy.

Very well done. Thank you again.

Rob

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Vacation or Staycation?

If you (like me) plan to hang around home this summer… be sure to incorporate some beautiful outdoor spaces—perfect for entertaining or quiet enough to finally get that nap in! Get inspired with these lovely photos!

 

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Best of Houzz 2015 Awards

Scott Christopher Homes has been awarded “Best of Houzz 2015” for both Design and Customer Satisfaction.
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of people around the world. With the largest residential database in the world, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire local professionals.

The Design award is given to businesses whose work is the most popular with the 25 million monthly users on Houzz in 2015. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by factors including the amount and quality of client reviews received in 2015.

“We at Scott Christopher Homes are thrilled to receive such recognition by Houzz. Thank you to Houzz, our clients, subcontractors and followers for this great honor. We are proud to be part of the Houzz community and are excited to share our work.”

View us on Houzz

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Kind Words For Our Team!

It’s always great to hear from our clients!

Kevin and I would like to thank you for a great year!  It has been a pleasure working so hard on our new home. SCH has outdone what we expected and Jay and Drew have taken care of all the little glitches that have come up. Thanks to all of you for making our home and building experience a truly wonderful experience.

Client, Lowell

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