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  • Common household activities like cooking, cleaning and bathing produce moisture in our homes. Cold, damp houses can have serious effects on our health. Find out what causes moisture and how to minimise and remove it.

    SleepingPortable gas heatingBreathingHeatingShowering and bathingWashing clothesDrying clothesDishwashingCooking

    Note: To use this interactive diagram, move your cursor or finger over any of the labelled boxes and select to get further information.

    (Figures used in this interactive are from research produced by the University of Otago and reported in the New Zealand Herald.)

    Read about the health risks associated with cold, damp homes in the articles Damp homes and health risks and Healthy homes, healthy futures.

    The student activity Investigating dampness and mould growth shows how dry homes help reduce the occurrence of mould.


    Four people occupying a house for 14 hours produce 11 litres of moisture. Open windows to ventilate the house.
    © Jessmine/123RF Ltd

    Keep the indoor temperatures at 18°C or warmer. Use a fire, an electric or flued gas heater or a heat pump.
    © Deyan Georgiev/123RF Ltd

    Four people produce 1.12 litres of moisture while sleeping. Open a window to ventilate the room.
    © L Young/123RF Ltd

    Cooking produces up to 3 litres of moisture per day. Keep pots covered and use a rangehood.
    © Kazoka30/123RF Ltd

    Washing dishes contributes 1 litre of moisture per dishwashing load.
    © Peter Smith/123RF Ltd

    Showering and bathing
    Each shower or bath produces 1.5 litres of moisture. Use an extractor fan or a shower lid to help prevent dampness.
    © Nikkytok/123RF Ltd

    Washing clothes
    Washing clothes produces 0.5 litres of moisture per load.
    © L Serenethos/123RF Ltd

    Drying clothes
    Each load of drying clothes produces 5 litres of moisture. Dry clothing outdoors or ensure the tumble dryer is vented.
    © A Popov/123RF Ltd

    Portable gas heating
    Portable gas heaters produce 1 litre of moisture per hour. Open a window to ventilate the room.
    © University of Waikato

    Rights: University of Waikato Published 29 June 2016 Size: 150 KB Referencing Hub media
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