How to Find, Identify, and Eliminate Moisture Conditions

Termite inspection reports often list “moisture conditions” as problem items. What exactly are moisture conditions and why are they a problem?

First, why you should care. Moisture in and around your home allows the growth of fungus and mold. It is an essential element for dampwood termites, springtails, and other damp-loving pests. It is a breeding ground for gnats and mosquitoes. Moisture problems can cause blistering of paint, stains on stucco walls, rust and corrosion on metals, and may cause bonding materials holding floor and wall coverings in place to fail causing separation.

Situations ranging from standing water to wood siding dampened once a week by a sprinkler are “moisture conditions.”

If your home has any of the moisture conditions listed below, it is critical for the health of your home, and often your personal health, to get the problem corrected as soon as possible. Seek the assistance of a licensed plumber, licensed general contractor, or termite company licensed by the Structural Pest Control Board. (If licensed, termite companies may perform repairs to pest damaged areas and correct conditions that may allow for pest damage, such as moisture. They can pull permits, repair structurally weakened members (joists, beams, framing, posts, etc.), install fixtures, perform finish work, and employ sub-contractors as necessary. Their license encompasses just about everything that a general contractor license covers as long as the work is related to pest damage or conditions conducive to pests.)

Sources of Household Moisture

  • Water vapors from the combustion of natural gas which vents improperly into the attic or another enclosed area
  • Condensation on windows flowing down onto and into sills
  • Dripping air conditioners
  • Sweating water pipes
  • Absent or improperly placed drain pipes and spouts
  • Plugged or leaking down spouts
  • Leaking roofs
  • Improperly sealed foundations and basement walls
  • Direct contact of wood with soil or concrete, allowing a wicking action that pulls water up into wood
  • Sprinkler heads that over-spray the structure
  • Improperly fitted flashings at the roof lines or shingles with improper overhang
  • Improper exterior grade that allows water to drain toward the structure and remain in contact with the structure, or in the subarea or crawlspace
  • Leaking plumbing, toilets, stall shower pans, dishwashers, washing machines
  • Improper seals or caulk around bathtubs and showers
  • No vents or windows in bathrooms allowing moisture from baths and showers to accumulate

Moisture Condition 2