Can you have too much humidity in your garage?

If you dread visiting the garage for some DIY or a workout session because the space is always too cold and damp or hot and humid, you can change this situation. In fact, you must because a humid garage can be full of corrosion, rust, mold and mildew. Whether it happens because you live by a body of water or a hot and humid region, we’ve got some great tips to help.

Cambridge CL, 16' x 7', Claystone door and overlays, Clear Panoramic windows

The origins of humidity

Why is the garage so humid? There are several reasons this can occur, and your home may have more than one of them at work:

  • The garage is not insulated.
  • The garage door is not insulated, or it is not weathertight.
  • There is a large supply of firewood, and most logs contain a lot of moisture.
  • The washer and/or dryer live in the garage and can contribute greatly to condensation and humidity levels.
  • There are all kinds of liquid in containers that release small levels of humidity.
  • The garage floor is sealed with an epoxy paint.
  • There are many cardboard boxes that accumulate moisture and odors.
  • The car is always parked inside, which means wintery slush and snow melts on the floor as well as rain and grit being tracked in from outdoors.
  • There is a floor drain with a catch basin which can be full of sand, stones and debris and remain a constant source of odors and humidity.

Now that you have a good idea of how many sources of humidity exist in your garage, you can gauge it through the use of a device known as a hygrometer. Place it inside for 24 hours and then read it to see the level of moisture and dampness. It will never be as dry as inside the house, but the higher the humidity, the less healthy and safe the space.

No handy hygrometer around? That’s fine because you can just use your eye to look for condensation on the inside of any windows. If you see mist or ice, the space is too damp.

Eliminating the humidity

Can you eliminate or reduce humidity in the garage? In a word: Yes. However, you have two basic elements that need to be in place if you want to adequately resolve your humidity problem.

The first: ensure your garage should be insulated. Fail to do this and it is very difficult to reduce and maintain the humidity levels. If you are in an area of long stretches of cold weather, you may have to heat the space to get control.

The second element is your garage door, really your “fourth wall”. As one of the main entries into and out of our homes, we don’t think of garage doors as walls, but when addressing humidity, we must.

Is your door insulated and properly weathertight? Does the insulated door offer a thermal resistance factor of at least R‑12? If it is insulated with polyurethane foam foam injected inside, it is likely adequate.

What about weatherseals? Do you enjoy exterior perimeter weatherstripping that overlaps the sides and the head of the door by at least 1 ½ inches? What about the bottom edge of the door? Is weatherstripping blocking rainwater from passing into the garage? Does the threshold slope towards the outside of the garage?

Once you identify the issues, you have to figure out how to resolve them. The first is to ensure the door is insulated and then use our steps below:

Basic approach - If you don’t use your garage very often, you can just air it out ahead of time. Do this by shutting off any heat 45 minutes before using the space, and then you can open your garage door an inch or two to let the humidity out. Do this with any access doors or windows and place a small pedestal fan placed near the garage door to speed up the air movement.

Short‑term option – You can install a home dehumidifier that you operate at maximum levels for at least a full day to decrease humidity by 5 to 8 degrees.

Home dehumidifier

Long‑term measure – If you use the garage often, there are commercial dehumidifiers that can integrate into the current heating system and constantly control humidity

Device to vent humidity of the garage

You can purchase a device, 9 X 6 ½ X 4 in. to vent humidity out of the garage via a duct in the wall.

Odor control – You can install a vent in the door to keep air moving, and though it doesn’t do much about humidity, it is a good solution to odors.

Are you considering a new, insulated garage door?

If you live in the St. John or Fredericton area, contact us us now, toll-free, at 1‑888‑451‑4040 and we’ll help you find a workable garage door solution that meets your budget, esthetics, and humidity concerns.

We can email you a quotation, or you can visit our showroom to use our design centre that allows you to sample the different styles and glean some inspiration from our image gallery packed with photos.

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