A few years ago we purchased a house at the Oregon Coast.
Since then, several moisture related problems have occurred. We are familiar with moisture problems since our company manufactures moisture meters.
Winter time at the Oregon Coast means lots and lots of rain, accompanied with a very high relative humidity. After the winter we noticed a musty smell in the basement. In addition a leak was discovered where the water dripped on to a window sill. Even though we repainted the garden furniture, somebody sat in a chair on the porch, and the chair broke down. Luckily, the person did not get hurt.
Too much moisture in buildings can cause a lot of damage, starting with hardwood floors becoming cracked and warped to dry rot deterioration or mold growing on walls. Nobody would worry about moisture if not for those problems. Besides unsightly defects, more serious problems associated with too much moisture are caused by mold, such as the deterioration of structural integrity and the effects on the human health causing allergies and respiratory sicknesses.
Mold is a micro-organism, which needs air, nutrients and moisture like all living creatures. The air is omni- present in spaces where people live. The nutrients come from carbon-hydrates which mold extracts from materials it lives on. To say it more bluntly, mold eats wood , drywall and other building materials containing carbons. In addition, during the process of digesting the “food”, toxics and spores are released into the air. These airborne particles can damage peoples respiratory system and can cause allergies. The moisture is present in air and in all hygroscopic materials. An exchange between humidity in the air and humidity in the material leaves water molecules at the surface. If there is enough moisture available at the surface mold can grow. Out of the three ingredients for mold to grow, moisture is the one , which can be controlled the easiest. We paint the outside, we install tight roofs, we waterproof the foundations, we try to keep moisture out. Sometimes it still finds its way into our buildings, then we have to detect the moisture, find the source of the problem, remove the source and repair the damage. If the damage is repaired without removing the source, you can repair the same damage over and over again.
The first moisture defect in the beach house was the leaking roof. One day while we were out there, we noticed water puddles on the window sill. After checking behind the blinds we saw that water was dripping out of the top of the window frame. The source was discovered as being a leak in the roof which could be fixed by applying silicon. Since we are most of the time not at the house we wneeded to know, if the leak was really fixed. We installed a moisture monitoring system which we can actually check over the internet anywhere.