Humidity levels in your home can cause damage to almost every type of furniture material, with wood and fabrics most at risk from moisture. Wood expands in humid conditions which will eventually lead to cracking. Once significant deterioration occurs, damage to furniture is often irreparable.
It is important to actively protect furniture when humidity is high, rather than reacting once the damage has already been done. There are steps you can take to reduce the levels of humidity in your Northern Territory home and protect your furniture from moisture.
Basements and attics are not ideal spaces to store furniture when humidity levels are high. Due to the fact these rooms are often cut off with little ventilation, moisture is allowed to build up in furniture unnoticed. Before you even realize there is a problem your furniture is beyond repair and fit for the scrapheap. Garages and sheds are also inappropriate storage spaces in the humid season. These structures are basically hothouses where moisture is allowed to build up unchecked.
If you must store furniture in these areas, take steps to protect it from moisture. You may want to consider renovating to improve your insulation and ventilation for a better balance when humidity levels are at their most dangerous. This type of improvement will also protect any major wooden structures in your home.
Effective dehumidifiers can balance out the moisture levels in your home and help to protect your furniture. Relative humidity is important as erring on either end of the scale can cause damage to furniture. Ideally the humidity levels in your home should sit between 40% and 60%. You can purchase humidifiers or a separate device to measure the relative humidity in your home throughout the day.
Dehumidifiers can have a significant impact on your energy bills, so you may want to consider more passive methods of balancing humidity. Opening windows or renovating to create open spaces that allow for better airflow is much more cost effective in the long term.
Reduce Heat Exposure
Even in a dry winter your furniture is at risk from moisture damage. It is important to ensure consistent cool airflow and avoid exposing furniture to heat sources. Where possible, move furniture away from windows so that it is not in the direct path of the low winter sun. If you find you are using your heating more in winter, furniture positioned near vents is vulnerable to damage.
Again, it is better to rely on passive heating in the winter through better design. Many Northern Territory homeowners are embracing sustainable building practices when carrying out renovations. If you are planning on making home improvements, considering consulting with a builder who understands passive design principles.
Treating and Furniture Protection
For wooden furniture it is a good idea to purchase items built using pre-treated materials. However, you can also purchase stain that is designed to combat humidity and moisture damage from any major hardware store. This is a cost effective method of protecting furniture if you don’t have it within your budget to make home improvements.
For fabric based furniture, there are covers available that are especially designed to offer an additional layer of moisture protection. The good thing about this option is that you need only use the covers when humidity levels are high. If you absolutely have to store furniture in an attic, basement or garage, moisture proof covers will help prevent or at least limit the potential for damage to your furniture.
Are you thinking about renovations to improve the passive design elements in your home? Houspect can provide you with professional building inspections.