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Subject:  Re: Open question: What to put into a new house? Date:  3/9/2004  3:42 PM
Author:  MurrayS Number:  47466 of 137218

Interesting discussion. Maybe some of the differences is not only in location of the home but the type of construction. You keep mentioning needing a central dehumidifier in the basement. In my area (central NC), very few homes have a basement.

I should clarify – in the summer, a dehumidifier in a basement is essential, either central or stand alone. In the winter, ventilation is a good idea on newer homes that don't have leaky windows and doors. The unit we bought does both, but doesn't use a heat exchanger for ventilation so it's less efficient than it could be.

In the wintertime, RH can get down to 10%.

According to what I've read, 30% RH and below is uncomfortable and can cause respiratory problems. Have you actually measured levels this low?

Maybe you're getting a lot of moisture introduced into the house through the basement.

I really don't think so. The walls never appeared damp and, as I mentioned, we've never had any leaks. I think it's a misconception that moisture comes through cement walls other than cracks. I believe the moisture that people see in basements is condensation from the surface temperature dropping below the dew point during the summer (not unlike the dew on your car in the morning).

We did a fair amount of research to understand the condensation issue on our windows before we finished our basement. It's a simple matter of surface temperature and dew point (relative humidity). We're not about to replace all of our windows to increase the surface temperature so we needed to take control of the humidity.

Even if you have good windows, keeping your house properly ventilated is recommended to remove the pollutants created (breathing, cooking, aerosols, etc.).


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