We all know how winter weather causes damage to our homes. Pipes can freeze, heavy snow will make a roof collapse, and high winds can topple trees. But, did you know summer weather causes damage your home too?
Hot, humid weather doesn’t affect homes the same way as cold weather does. Heat damage is more unpredictable, and every region of the country has different levels of heat and humidity throughout the summer season. In northeast Ohio, we experience hot, humid, rainy summers every year, with temperatures that average in the 80s.
While winter or rainy weather damage can happen suddenly, heat damage usually occurs over time. However, even though the effects of high heat on your home may not be apparent right away, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the issue. It’s essential to stay aware of the different kinds of damage that heat can do to your home and learn how to protect against them.
If you wear rings on your fingers, you’re familiar with the way rings fit tighter in the summer and get loose in the winter. This is because your skin expands and contracts according to the temperature’s effect on your body.
Hardwood floors are influenced by changes in the weather in much the same way, growing and shrinking as the temperature rises and falls. When it’s hot and humid, your floors expand and swell, filling the gaps left purposefully under the baseboards to allow for the expansion. When extreme temperature swings occur, as is often the case with Ohio’s unpredictable summers, your floorboards can expand too much, and your floor will begin to buckle.
A slightly buckling floor can be repaired if discovered and dealt with immediately, but more extensive damage can be permanent. Even when your floorboards shrink back down, the edges will be damaged, and you’ll likely have to replace them.
Probably the best way to protect your hardwood floors is to begin using your AC as soon as the humidity outside starts to increase – in Ohio, that’s usually mid-March or so. Air conditioning systems remove moisture from the air to more effectively cool your home. Waiting to turn on your AC until the heat becomes unbearable might save you a bit on your energy bill, but you could be harming your floorboards in the long term.
Did you know your roof is susceptible to high heat damage over time? It’s true, but unlike heavy snow damage, heat damage to your rooftop isn’t as visible. Significant structural damage can accumulate inside your roof over the years without proper precautions.
Your home likely has an attic, and you’re probably aware of how absurdly hot that space can get during the daytime, even if you don’t store anything in it. Attics tend to lack adequate airflow, which means that heat and humidity build up inside and has no way to escape. This cache of heat and moisture contained directly under your roof will cause it to deteriorate more rapidly than it might otherwise.
Similar to your floorboards, the wood in your rooftop will expand due to high heat and humidity, cracking wood shingles and dislodging asphalt ones. Also, roof caulking will dry out in the sun and eventually cause leaks.
Making sure your air ducts are properly ventilating your home can help keep your attic from getting too hot in the summer. You should also consider coating or sealing your roof to protect against moisture and sunlight infiltration. Roof damage doesn’t occur overnight, but it definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
Furniture and interior decor
Wooden furniture, whether fine antiques or self-assembled pressboard from a big-box store, are affected by your home’s temperature and humidity changes. As we talked about above, wood shrinks and dries out during our frigid winters and expands during our humid summers. Heat and humidity also affect other wooden objects in your home, including decorations like picture frames and shelves.
Home decor is also affected by humidity in other ways. Paintings and artwork are susceptible to mold growth, decay, and flaking in humid environments. Photos, books, musical instruments, electronics, and many other common household items are all adversely affected by the muggy summer weather here in Ohio.
Just like museums control their indoor temperature and humidity to protect the precious artwork, you can protect your valued belongings by managing your home’s humidity level.
Most homeowners don’t think about their home’s crawlspace unless a plumbing disaster happens or a storm causes it to flood. But, did you know that high heat and humidity can damage your crawlspace just as much as a leaky pipe can?
Air trapped inside your crawlspace becomes stagnant, and the humidity level inside builds up over time. When condensation forms from the hot and humid air, your crawlspace becomes vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot. Vented and unvented crawlspaces alike can suffer from humidity issues, so adding vents doesn’t always help.
Arguably the best way to prevent crawlspace damage in humid climates is to hire a professional to encapsulate the area. By applying spray foam and installing heavy plastic, a contractor can completely isolate your home’s foundation from the dirt below it, thus preventing any moisture penetration from the ground. This prevents humidity from damaging your home’s foundation.
Summer’s high temperatures and humidity can affect your home from top to bottom. Their effects might not be apparent at first, but they’ll cause serious damage to your home over time. Without proper prevention, a heatwave today could cost you a fortune in repair costs down the road.
A cost-effective and straightforward way to keep your home – and your family – safe during high temperatures is with our comprehensive AC tuneup! By taking care of your AC, you’ll ensure both the heat and humidity in your home remain at comfortable levels all summer long.