When it comes to what is and isn't covered on home insurance the line is usually drawn at one simple question: Was there anything you could have done to prevent the damages? This is why we check our plumbing for leaks and keep our smoke detector batteries fresh. One area that many homeowners neglect, however, is ventilation. Here's how poor ventilation can create long-term damage in your home:
- Mold and moisture damage. This is one of the biggest threats poor ventilation can pose to your home. Stagnant, humid air creates perfect conditions for mold to grow, leading to wood rot and worse. It can even cause you a significant health issue.
- Heat buildup in the attic can be disastrous come winter. When warm air is not allowed to escape your home, it finds the highest spot and stays there. When you have a foot of snow on the roof, this creates a sort of igloo effect where the snow touching the roof melts, and is trapped by the snow on top. That combination of moisture and warmth may lead to costly roof repairs.
- Liability and personal health issues come into play when toxic elements like radon, carbon monoxide and general pollutants and allergens are allowed to collect in your home without escaping. If your system doesn’t work correctly, then you might have a higher risk of these problems.
Preventing poor ventilation is, thankfully, fairly easy. Here are some tips:
- Install an exhaust fan or vent in the attic to blow hot air out of the room.
- Invest in screen doors and windows so that you can allow fresh air to flow through the home without worrying about bugs.
- Keep your HVAC filters clean and fresh. Replace them once a month if you have pets, or every two to three months if you don't.
- Check exterior ventilation for any blockage. Look for leaves, litter, lawn trimmings, anything that would prevent fresh air from entering the home or pose fire risks. Clear these items away.
- Install exhaust fans in high-moisture parts of the home, namely the kitchen and bathroom.
- Consider investing in a dehumidifier, especially if you live in a humid state like Florida or Louisiana.
Left unchecked, poor ventilation can lead to disaster for a homeowner. Thankfully, it's one of the easiest problems to correct.