We’re all familiar with the ways in which winter weather can damage our homes. It’s common knowledge that pipes can freeze, heavy snow can damage rooftops, and wind can topple trees outside. But did you know summer weather can damage homes too?
Hot, humid weather doesn’t affect homes in the same way as cold weather. Heat damage is less predictable, and every region of the U.S. has different levels of heat and humidity throughout the summer season. In Chicagoland, we experience hot, humid, and rainy summers year after year, with temperatures averaging in the 80s.
While damage from winter weather or rainy weather can happen suddenly, heat damage tends to occur over time. However, even though the immediate effects of high heat on your home may not be apparent, you shouldn’t disregard the issue. It’s important to be aware of the potential damages heat can have on your home and know how to protect against them.
If you like wearing rings on your fingers, you’re probably familiar with the way rings seem to get tighter in the summer and looser in the winter. This is because your skin expands and shrinks according to the effect the weather has on your blood vessels.
Hardwood floors react to changes in the weather much in the same way, growing and shrinking as the temperature changes. When it’s hot and humid outside, your floors expand and swell with the moisture, filling the gaps left under the baseboards to allow for this expansion. When the temperature spikes, as is often the case in Illinois, your floorboards can expand too much. If all the extra space in your flooring fills up, your floor will begin to buckle.
A floor with slight buckling can be repaired if dealt with right away, but more extensive damage is usually permanent. Even if your floorboards shrink back to their original size, the edges will be damaged and you will likely have to replace them.
The best way to protect your hardwood floors is to start running your A/C as soon as the humidity level outside starts to rise. Air conditioners are designed to remove moisture from the air so they can cool your home faster. Waiting to turn on your A/C until the temperature gets unbearable might save a little bit on your energy bill, but it could be harming your floorboards in the long run.
Did you know your roof can also be damaged by high heat over time? Unlike heavy snow damage, heat damage to your rooftop is harder to notice. Subtle but significant structural damage can occur over the years if you’re not taking proper precautions.
If your home has an attic, you’re probably aware of how hot attics can become during the daytime. Many attics lack airflow, which means any heat and humidity that builds up inside has no way to escape. With a steady supply of heat and moisture directly under the roof, your shingles can deteriorate faster.
Similar to your floorboards, high heat and humidity can also cause the wood in your rooftop to expand, cracking shingles. Any caulk used for rooftop installation can dry out in the sun and cause leaks.
Making sure the air ducts and ventilation in your home are properly maintained can help prevent your attic from getting too hot during the summer. If you live in a hot and humid area like Chicagoland, you can also consider coating and sealing your roof to protect against moisture and sunlight. Roof damage won’t occur overnight, but it shouldn’t be ignored.
Furniture and Décor
Wooden furniture and home décor, whether antique or bought on sale at IKEA, can be affected by temperature and humidity changes in your home. As we discussed above, wood can dry out during the cold winter months and expand during the humid summer months. This can happen to any wooden objects in your home, including armchairs, picture frames, antique tables, and more.
Home décor can also be affected by humidity, with paintings and artwork susceptible to mold growth, flaking, and decay in humid environments. Books, photos, musical instruments, electronics, and a variety of other common household items can all be impacted by the summer weather in Chicagoland.
Just like museums control indoor temperature and humidity to protect precious artwork, you too can protect your belongings by controlling the humidity inside your home.
Most homeowners don’t give much thought to their crawlspace unless a plumbing disaster or summer storm causes it to flood. But did you know high heat and humidity can damage your crawlspace just as much as a leaky pipe?
Air that gets trapped inside your crawlspace can become stagnant, and the humidity level inside can build up over time. If condensation forms because of the hot and humid air, your crawlspace could become vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot. Both vented and unvented crawlspaces can suffer from humidity issues, so adding vents to help move the stagnant air doesn’t always help.
The best way to prevent crawlspace damage in humid climates is to hire someone to encapsulate the area. By using spray foam and heavy plastic, a contractor can completely cover the foundation of your home and the dirt below it, preventing any moisture from rising from the ground. This prevents humidity-related moisture from damaging your home’s foundation.
High summer temperatures and humidity can affect your home from its foundation to its roof. The effects of heat and humidity might not be overtly apparent at first, but they can cause serious damage to your home over time. Without proper care and protection, a heat wave today could cost you in repair costs down the road.
Keep your home safe during high temperatures with a Four Seasons A/C Tune-up. By taking care of your A/C, you can ensure both the temperature and humidity in your home stay at a comfortable level all summer long.