Building Science and Home improvement

Fundamental #1: Managing Moisture

removing carpet and subfloor
Carpet, subfloor and plastic removed to reveal moisture and mold. We installed tile after fixing the moisture problem.

There is no getting around it; the first step toward improving your home’s comfort, health and efficiency is moisture control. Here’s a case study in moisture control-at my house.

 Basic Concepts

Liquid water is best managed by slowing and dispersion, ambient moisture (relative humidity) by venting outside or dehumidification. Bottom of the hill homes need better moisture control than top of the hill ones.


I determined where I wanted water to drain, then removed or added soil to create a slope away from the foundation. I cleaned or replaced roof and surface drains and capped an old water line that was leaking into the crawl space. Key to success: a properly maintained roof drainage system. Maintenance check: inspect and clean drains.


Basement bathroom fan
Basement bathroom fan vented through PVC pipe to outside. We installed a 15-minute fan timer switch.

I stopped water entering the basement by filling foundation block cores with liquid concrete. I replaced moisture-sensitive wood and carpet basement floors with tile. I enclosed and conditioned my crawl space to keep summer humidity and winter cold out. Maintenance check: clean and reset gutters and and inspect for roof leaks.


Condensate water from A/C systems is pumped outside to water our garden. Timer-controlled bathroom exhaust fans, along with the range/oven, are vented outside. A dehumidifier coupled with the basement HVAC system controls ambient moisture in the basement and crawl space. Maintenance check: clean dryer vent and repair plumbing leaks.

You cannot have a tightly built home AND a moisture problem.

Start the year with a Maintenance and Efficiency Inspection. I’ll inspect for moisture defects AND show how to improve comfort and efficiency for 50 dollars off my regular fee. Discount not valid for point of sale inspections.


Have a Merry, and Dry, Christmas!





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