Moisture Management and HVAC
The biggest threat to a healthy, durable home is moisture. Billions of dollars a year are spent repairing moisture damage to homes.
Good indoor air quality is compromised by high humidity which encourages mold growth.
Homes dry when heated. Insulation slows the flow of heat, and air conditioning makes the interior cool when it’s hot and humid outside.
Making materials cooler often makes them wetter so modern homes are more vulnerable to moisture.
Protecting them requires understanding drying forces, the permeability of materials, and often avoiding vapor barriers.
Materials that are hygroscopic rather than hygrophobic or that help redistribute moisture can be quite useful.
Knowing how and when to employ construction methods that enhance drying can significantly contribute to the durability of a home.
The homes heating, cooling and air distribution system functions in direct relationship with the insulated enclosure to manage moisture.
The two should be considered and developed together in the design studio and not improvised during construction.