If you step into your garage and you’re hit with a musty, damp smell, or even a wave of moist air, it can be unpleasant. Ideally, your garage should be a comfortable, safe place. You should be able to use that area for whatever you need, whether that’s storing photo albums or using it as a yoga studio. What’s behind the increase in humidity? It could stem from any number of things. In this guide, we’ll walk you through what you need to know to identify the source and then take action.
Finding the source of humidity
There are quite a few possible sources of your humidity. Some of the most common are listed below.
- Your garage lacks insulation. This allows moisture, as well as heat/cold to penetrate your garage.
- Your garage door isn’t insulated properly.
- Your garage door is not weathertight, allowing moisture into the garage.
- You’ve been storing your firewood in the garage. Firewood, particularly greener wood, has a lot of moisture in it that can seep into the air.
- You don’t have a good seal on your dryer vent, and it’s allowing damp air to vent into the garage.
- You keep liquid stored in the garage in containers that don’t have airtight seals.
- Your garage floor is not properly sealed, or is sealed with epoxy paint.
- You’re using cardboard boxes to store your belongings. Cardboard absorbs moisture and then releases it back into the atmosphere.
- You park your car in the garage. From summer thunderstorms to winter snow, moisture comes inside with your vehicle, and then it stays.
- You haven’t cleaned out your catch basin lately. Over time, water accumulates here, leading to humidity, but also foul odors.
With the information above, you should be able to start identifying where the moisture in your garage is coming from. You can also take steps to measure the humidity. How? You need nothing more than a simple hygrometer. Leave it in place for 24 hours and you will know your humidity level. Or, you can test it in another way. During cold weather, check the bottom of your windows. If you see condensation or ice, then you know you have high humidity levels.
What level do you want to maintain in the garage? That’s up to you, really. However, understand that unless you transform it into actual living space, the humidity level will always be at least slightly higher than within your home itself.
How to start reducing your humidity levels
If you’re ready to start reducing your humidity levels, there are two basic things you need to check. First, you need to verify that your garage is properly insulated. If not, you will find it challenging to control either the humidity or the temperature level.
Second, make sure that your garage door is up to the task and remember that it serves as the fourth wall of the space. What does that mean? Simply put, your garage door needs to be insulated and it must be weathertight. You can verify those things in several ways. Here’s a quick checklist:
- Insulated: Make sure that your garage door is insulated with a thermal resistance factor of at least R‑12. This will require the use of polyurethane foam injected between the door panels.
- Weather Seals: Check the exterior perimeter weatherstripping. Is it in place? Is it damaged? Does it overlap the door by at least 1.5 inches? Check the sides, the top, and the bottom. At the bottom, make sure that the weatherstripping prevents water from running under the door when closed.
- Threshold: Check the threshold of your door and make sure that it slopes outward, making it more difficult for water to enter the space.
The list above should help you identify sources of humidity during the winter and the summer. Below, we’ll talk about a few ways to help control those humidity levels. However, understand that if your garage is not insulated, these steps will not work as well as they should.
We’ll begin with the basics. If you don’t do much with the garage and just want to control the humidity when you’re in there, crack the garage door an inch or two. Then, open another door or a window to create a draft. This will help pull moisture out, creating a more comfortable environment. You can accelerate the effect with a small fan.
You may also want to try something else. A small home dehumidifier can do wonders. With a full day of operation, you should be able to reduce the humidity level by up to eight degrees or so. A commercial dehumidifier may be a good option for those who have more long‑term needs.
What about those vent systems? Do they work? Yes and no. A garage door vent won’t do a lot for humidity levels, but a small 9 x 6.5 x 4 inch‑device can vent humidity into your ducts.
Replacing your garage door
If you have taken all the steps above and are still facing high humidity levels, the issue could be your garage door. If you live in the Wyevale or Midland area, contact us now. You can reach us toll‑free at 705-322-0136. We would be happy to discuss your needs, your budget, and your goals.
In addition to calling us, you can also email for a free quote on your garage door replacement or come down to the showroom. Use our Design Centre to get an idea of the various styles we offer and what they look like, and then take a tour through our image gallery for a little inspiration.