Understanding the Role of Humidity in Your Home

Understanding the Role of Humidity in Your Home

Water covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface. We’ve known that since grade school. Water exists underground, on top of mountains as snow, in glaciers as ice, in the sky as clouds, in our bodies and even on other planets. Water is all around us, but we rarely think about the water that is in the air.

 

Water exists in the air in the form of water vapor. The amount of water vapor present is referred to as humidity. Humidity can be measured several ways, but the most commonly used measurement is relative humidity or RH. Relative humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the amount of water that could be suspended in the air at that temperature. RH is always expressed as a percentage. At 100% relative humidity, air can hold no more water vapor at that temperature. At 50% RH, the air is holding half the amount of water vapor that it could suspend at that temperature.

 

High relative humidity can create problems in your home. You should try to keep humidity levels between 30-50% RH for optimal comfort and health. If humidity is too low, say below 20%, your skin, eyes and hair will feel dry and uncomfortable. Certain materials like leather and wood will also begin to dry out. High humidity- 60% or above- for extended periods can cause many problems, including health issues and damage to structural materials, in addition to increased potential for mold and other microbial growth. Signs of high humidity are: a sticky or clammy feeling; wood floors that are “cupped”; sticking doors; condensation on widows, air conditioning vents or walls; musty odors and mold growth on interior surfaces and furnishings.

 

High humidity can be a sign that there is a leak in the structure, problems with the air conditioning and ventilation system, building envelope or foundation issues. If you have a basement or crawlspace, a damp musty odor is an indication that there is a moisture or humidity problem. Musty odors are more than a nuisance. They could be an indicator of wood rot, mold growth or other microbial growth that can cause property damage. Microbes can also pose a health risk to occupants of the structure.

 

Warm air can hold more water vapor than cool air. For example, if the RH is 50% at 80° and you cooled the air down to 60°, the RH would rise to about 100%, just by changing air temperature. Why? Because the cooler air has less capacity to hold water vapor than the warmer air.

 

Think of the two temperatures as two different buckets. The 80° air is like a two-gallon bucket containing one gallon of water. It’s only 50% full. The 60° air is like a one-gallon bucket with the same one gallon of water in it, but it is 100% full. So as air cools, RH goes up. As air warms, RH goes down. This is why condensation occurs on cold surfaces. As air comes into contact with the cold surface, the air gets cooler, and the RH increases. If the surface is cold enough, RH reaches 100%. Since the air can no longer hold all of the water vapor, condensation forms on the surface of the cooler material. We call this the dew point temperature. When water condenses on surfaces, it provides all the moisture needed for mold to grow.

 

If you have a basement, sun room or unfinished area that is sometimes cooler than the rest of your house, temperature variations can lead to excessive humidity, condensation and all of the associated problems. In these areas, it may be necessary to use a dehumidifier to control moisture in the air. Remember, if the air is damp, so is the structure.

 

Keeping humidity under control is one step toward making your home a healthier place to live. High humidity is a sign that something is wrong with a structure. If you suspect you have any kind of water damage from a leak, condensation, poor construction or foundation issues, call KleenRite. We’ll find the cause and help you solve it before it becomes a much bigger problem.

 

Understanding the role of humidity in your home

 

Water covers 70 percent of Earth’s surface. We’ve known that since grade school. Water exists underground, on top of mountains as snow, in glaciers as ice, in the sky as clouds, in our bodies and even on other planets. Water is all around us, but we rarely think about the water that is in the air. Water exists in the air in the form of water vapor. The amount of water vapor present is referred to as humidity. Humidity can be measured several ways, but the most commonly used measurement is relative humidity or RH.

 

Relative humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the amount of water that could be suspended in the air at that temperature. RH is always expressed as a percentage. At 100% relative humidity, air can hold no more water vapor at that temperature. At 50% RH, the air is holding half the amount of water vapor that it could suspend at that temperature.

 

High relative humidity can create problems in your home. You should try to keep humidity levels between 30-50% RH for optimal comfort and health. If humidity is too low, say below 20%, your skin, eyes and hair will feel dry and uncomfortable. Certain materials like leather and wood will also begin to dry out. High humidity- 60% or above- for extended periods can cause many problems, including health issues and damage to structural materials, in addition to increased potential for mold and other microbial growth.

 

Signs of high humidity are: a sticky or clammy feeling; wood floors that are “cupped”; sticking doors; condensation on widows, air conditioning vents or walls; musty odors and mold growth on interior surfaces and furnishings. High humidity can be a sign that there is a leak in the structure, problems with the air conditioning and ventilation system, building envelope or foundation issues. If you have a basement or crawlspace, a damp musty odor is an indication that there is a moisture or humidity problem. Musty odors are more than a nuisance. They could be an indicator of wood rot, mold growth or other microbial growth that can cause property damage. Microbes can also pose a health risk to occupants of the structure.

 

Warm air can hold more water vapor than cool air. For example, if the RH is 50% at 80° and you cooled the air down to 60°, the RH would rise to about 100%, just by changing air temperature. Why? Because the cooler air has less capacity to hold water vapor than the warmer air.

 

Think of the two temperatures as two different buckets. The 80° air is like a two-gallon bucket containing one gallon of water. It’s only 50% full. The 60° air is like a one-gallon bucket with the same one gallon of water in it, but it is 100% full. So as air cools, RH goes up. As air warms, RH goes down. This is why condensation occurs on cold surfaces. As air comes into contact with the cold surface, the air gets cooler, and the RH increases. If the surface is cold enough, RH reaches 100%. Since the air can no longer hold all of the water vapor, condensation forms on the surface of the cooler material. We call this the dew point temperature. When water condenses on surfaces, it provides all the moisture needed for mold to grow.

 

If you have a basement, sun room or unfinished area that is sometimes cooler than the rest of your house, temperature variations can lead to excessive humidity, condensation and all of the associated problems. In these areas, it may be necessary to use a dehumidifier to control moisture in the air. Remember, if the air is damp, so is the structure.

 

Keeping humidity under control is one step toward making your home a healthier place to live. High humidity is a sign that something is wrong with a structure.

 

If you suspect you have any kind of water damage from a leak, condensation, poor construction or foundation issues, call KleenRite. We’ll find the cause and help you solve it before it becomes a much bigger problem such as water and mold damage. Call us today at (217) 351-4930.

 

Understanding Tough Spots & Stains

stain In today's blog post, we discuss the differences between spots and stains. As well as understadning them. Read on to learn more.

 

Your carpet endures all kinds of abuse. Daily traffic, food spills, pet accidents, tracked in grease and oil and other soils can cause spots on your carpet. Or are they stains? What's the difference?

 

A SPOT is soil that has bonded to carpet fibers. Spots can sometimes change the texture of the carpet, and may be sticky, oily, gummy, waxy, crusty, etc. Spots can usually be removed with normal cleaning or spot treatments.

 

A STAIN is unwanted color added to a fiber. It is often a discoloration left behind after cleaning or spot removal. Stains do not have texture, are generally considered permanent and far more difficult to remove than spots. Stain removal usually involves application of specialized techniques, professional experience and more aggressive chemistry.

 

At KleenRite, we understand the various factors involved, so we have a high rate of success with spot and stain treatment. In order to achieve successful spot and stain removal we need to categorize the source.

 

There are three basic categories: Organic, Mineral and Synthetic.

  • Organic spots and stains are derived from plant or animal sources. This category includes things like mustard, coffee, chocolate, grass, flowers, mold, fruit juices, wine, urine, feces, vomit and blood.
  • Mineral spots and stains are caused by sources like earth, carbon, metals, red clay, used motor oil, charcoal and rust.
  • Synthetic spots and stains come from sources like make-up, paint pigments, furniture, inks, crayons and artificial colors (food dyes).

 

We also classify spots as water-soluble, solvent-soluble, or non-soluble. This further assists us in developing a plan of attack. Other factors may also determine whether a stain can be removed. Is it near a window or strong light source? How old is the carpet? How has the carpet been maintained in the past? Has the carpet been protected in the past? What kind of fiber is the carpet?

 

Urine and pet related stains are another challenging source to remove from carpet fibers. Urine is made up of a variety of chemicals that differs depending on the age, gender, species, and health of the animal it came from. Since contamination such as blood, urine, vomit and feces can harbor bacteria and viruses, our primary concern is source removal and sanitation. Once this has been achieved, we can address any residual stains.

 

Professional assistance is always your best choice for treatment, but sometimes in a desperate attempt to remove a spot, a well-meaning homeowner may decide to take matters into her own hands. Quick response is important, but care must be taken not to do anything to set a stain. So what should you do if you get a spot or stain? Scoop or scrape up the excess. Then use a clean white towel to blot up any liquid. Place a weight, such as a phone book on the towel to get spot to soak into the towel. Then call KleenRite at (217) 351-4930. We will tell you what to do depending on your specific situation or, if necessary send a technician to take care of it for you.

Holiday Tip: Welcoming Your Guests

welcome In today's blog post, we discuss some holiday tips for welcoming your guests. Read on to learn more.

 

If you have guests coming to stay with you this holiday season, you’ll want them to feel right at home. Take a few moments to look around your home as you prepare for company. Here are some holiday tips that might be helpful. 

  • If you will be offering your guests a spare room, make sure that there are some extra pillows and blankets available.
  • Clear knick-knacks off of end tables and dresser tops, and make sure there is ample lighting in the room.
  • Provide a place for a coat, umbrella, purse, and keys, like a small table or sturdy chair.
  • Your guests will need some drawer space and some empty hangers in the closet.
  • Place a small empty basket in the bathroom to allow your guests to leave some of their personal items there.
  • Consider leaving your guests other practical items as well.
  • Fill a small box or basket with a pad of paper, a pen, scissors, tape, and stamps.
  • Place a box of tissues by the bed. If possible, leave an ironing board and iron in the closet.
  • Adding an alarm clock and a phone, if possible, are conveniences that your guests will appreciate.
  • Pamper them with some bottled water, fresh fruit, and candies, along with some magazines or a newspaper.

We hope these tips are helpful for welcoming your guests this holiday season. From our family to yours, we here at KleenRite wish you a safe and wonderful holiday.

Clean Carpet in Winter?

In today's blog post, we discuss why cleaning carpets in the winter season is necessary. Read on to learn more. Portrait of cheerful family in the living room

 

A common question that we are asked this time of year is, "Does it make sense to have my carpets cleaned in the winter?" That is a great question! But first, let's think about this logically... Does it make sense to clean your wood or tile floors in the winter? Does it make sense to clean your car in the winter? Of course. But for some reason, most folks treat their carpet differently.

 

It's as if it was somehow magically immune to soiling. It's true that modern carpets do a great job of hiding soil. This may lead you to think you only need to clean your carpets once a year. But according to the EPA, most households should get the carpets cleaned at least twice a year, maybe more. This may surprise you until you think about all of the soils, allergens, oils, pollutants and contaminants that carpet traps. In most homes, carpet is the largest filter, trapping soils, pollutants and pet and human dander, which as you know, is simply dead skin cells. And we shed millions of them every day!

 

But back to the question at hand... "Should I get my carpets cleaned in winter?" The answer is, yes, winter is a great time of year to get your carpets cleaned for several reasons. One of the best reasons for cleaning in the winter is that you want your home to look great for visiting friends and relatives during the Holidays. Nothing makes your home look and feel clean and inviting quite like freshly cleaned carpets. And even if you don't expect guests, you will be spending more time at home in the winter, so you want it to look nice for you too. But as you know, there are far more important reasons to clean your carpet than appearance.

 

In fact, if you wait until your carpets look dirty before you clean them, you have waited too long. Soil damages carpet, dramatically reducing its usable life. Not only that, but can you imagine waiting until your clothes look dirty before laundering them? Of course not. That would be unhealthy and they would probably begin to smell before they look dirty. Carpet is not really all that different. In the winter, you spend much more time in the house, and the house is more closed up. Doesn't it make sense to clean the carpet now, so that you and your family can breathe cleaner, healthier all winter long? It's bad enough that winter is the time when people suffer from cold and flu without adding poor indoor air quality to aggravate things like asthma and allergies.

 

During the summer, pollen and other pollutants enter your home and become trapped in the carpets. In the fall, mold spores are more prevalent, again, becoming trapped in your carpet fibers. All of this just in time for you to close things up for the winter... Not a pretty picture is it? Carpets tend to dry faster in the winter, too. That's because the humidity is lower and most of us are using our furnaces. Warm dry air is great for drying carpets! Remember that in winter, days are shorter. Darkness comes earlier and lasts longer.

 

A clean, fresh, healthy carpet is a great way to help fight off the winter doldrums. Everybody knows that a clean, neat home just makes you feel better. Finally, winter is the slowest time of the year for us. So we usually offer our best prices this time of year. Don't wait until your carpet looks dirty before you call KleenRite Cleaning and Restoration. We are happy to help you keep your carpet clean, fluffy and healthy any time of the year.

 

Call KleenRite today at (217) 351-4930. We offer affordable carpet cleaning to help make your carpet last longer for years to come.

Prevent Pet Poisoning

Boy Cuddling with Dog In today's blog post, we discuss ways to prevent pet poisoning. Read on to learn more.

 

It is important to be aware of and to secure substances in your home that could be harmful to your pets. Chemicals, plants, foods, and medications can be poisonous. Review these tips to be sure that your home is safe for your animal companions.

  • Never give your pet spoiled or moldy food.
  • Pets should not be fed chocolate, grapes, or raisins. Beverages with caffeine should never be given to animals.
  • Plants in the Easter lily family, azaleas, sago palm, mistletoe, rhododendron, Japanese yew, and oleander can be poisonous to pets.
  • Antifreeze is toxic to animals. Switch to a low-toxicity brand to be safe.
  • Vitamins, including prenatal vitamins and vitamin C, can be toxic in large quantities. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are also poisonous in large quantities.
  • Be sure to keep pet medication out of reach. Many times it is coated in a meat-flavored substance, which makes it likely your pet would ingest a large quantity if it is left out.
  • When treating your pet for fleas or ticks, do not use more than the recommended dosage of shampoo or topical treatment.

 

We hope this blog post gives you tips to prevent pet poisoning.