“Every breath you take”…Is It A Red Flag?
No “Every breath you take” is the songs’ refrain (POLICE/Sting).
Every breath you expel does add humidity to your homes interior, but that’s normal, no red flags for that. But…
Seeing a laundry drying rack like the one in the photo Is a big RED FLAG to any inspector.
Why?, Well the modern home is equipped with several exhaust systems located in specific rooms to remove excessive moisture at the source before it can be allowed to spread to places where it will do damage. These would be laundry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. Exhaust fans of the same type are sometimes found in powder rooms, but are not required for humidity unless there is a shower or bath installed too.
Laundry racks like this or basement clothes lines have no means of collecting and removing the excess humidity they cause to be introduced. So once observed the inspector is alerted for humidity damage in the cold zones and surfaces.
Typically damage occurs in window components, electrical components in exterior walls and framing wood at concrete basement walls. Humidity that is drawn into or bleeds though to attics can build up as frost and come back in as damaging ‘leaks’. But there will be damage in hidden areas that can’t be visually examined. Any weakness, imperfection or damage that exists in the vapor barrier system is at risk.
Not all houses have perfect vapour barriers. Over time there has been a wide variety in the methods and materials used for these systems. Add to that the normal variations in skills, procedures and execution of construction and you have a wide range in the quality of vapour barrier systems in homes that are otherwise similarly finished and appointed.
Knowing this it is much better to remove extra humidity right at the source when it is being produced. Remember we are not concerned about mirrors fogging up, but if you allow that humidity to disperse then it’s going to show up in other places, hidden places, as damage, rust or rot.
So we recommend (1) setting up the laundry exhaust properly, and (2) using the kitchen range exhaust when cooking and not just for odours. When you’re having a bath or a shower (3) run the fan with the door closed while you are using it and for up to an hour after you are finished.
Operation of theses systems does have an energy cost, but it is far outweighed by the cost of damage repair required if they are not used. Consider providing timer switches for fans so they can be set and left.
For rental property it is a good practice to wire bathroom fans directly with the light switch. Most renters are less aware of maintenance than property owners.
And finally if you must dry clothes on a rack or line, set it up like these people in a room that has an exhaust fan, close the door and run the fan, at least for the first few hours.
Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post