How to Protect Your Furniture Against the Damage from Humidity
Wood furniture represents some of the most beautiful, timeless pieces in your home. The look never goes out of style, and this furniture can be passed down through generations. However, there are several enemies to your favorite wood pieces, and humidity is a big one. Humidity in both directions, too much and too little, can pose serious threats to your beautiful wood furniture.
Why Does Humidity Damage Furniture?
A poor balance of humidity in your home has the potential to destroy your wood furniture. When exposed to an excessive amount of humidity, the wood furniture can expand and begin to deteriorate. High levels of humidity are most frequently observed in the spring and summer time. It is particularly dangerous to store wood furniture in a basement or attic during these times because not only may the wood expand and deteriorate, it may also grow mold. Too little humidity can cause the wood furniture to shrink and crack. It’s nearly impossible to repair a wood piece that has cracked due to humidity.
Humidity Damage is a New Problem
Because of the changes in modern forced air heating systems, humidity damage is a relatively new problem. Most individuals make use of a heating system in the winter time, which dries out the air and reduces the humidity. In the summer time, most people use an air conditioner that also reduces the humidity. While these elements certainly make the home a more comfortable place to be, they can really do damage to the wood furniture.
Forced air heating systems used in the winter time are particularly damaging to the wood furniture. This is because they cause a rapid drop in the air’s humidity level. The air essentially absorbs moisture from any location it can, and wood is a pretty common source. The dry air will suck moisture from wood floors, walls, and furniture. This can cause permanent damage to the wood pieces as their dryness can result in cracking or splitting. The same concept may apply to an air conditioner. However, the likelihood of permanent wood damage from air conditioning is far less.
How the Professionals Protect Wood Piece
The best example of wood protection can be found in the nation’s museums. To preserve wood pieces, museums have really mastered the art of balancing humidity levels. It is a well-known scientific fact that too much humidity causes expansion while too little humidity causes shrinking, drying and cracking. Museums often refer to temperature and humidity exposure as relative humidity. Relative humidity is monitored very closely in the museum by using a recording hygrothermograph that measures temperature and humidity. These are placed throughout museum galleries and hold sensors that monitor both the temperature and humidity in the air. This device must frequently be calibrated because of its sensitive mechanism.
Not only do museums monitor humidity levels very closely, they also use very complex and sophisticated air handling units. This prevents any sharp changes in the facility’s temperature and humidity. Typically museums house a high-tech HVAC system that is designed to keep a consistent temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity regardless of the time of year. Most museums make use of sensors that alert staff if the temperature or humidity becomes out of range. These sensors ensure that staff can react to any issues promptly and move pieces to a new location if need be.
How You can Protect Your Wood Furniture from Humidity
Obviously you don’t possess all of the bells and whistles seen in museums. Your friends may find it a bit out of the ordinary if you used a sensor to alert humidity in your home. In any event, there are other ways that you can protect your wood furniture from humidity damage. In dry winter weather, when the air lacks humidity, you may begin by using our Heirloom Essential Polish on your wood pieces to protect them. Using a humidifier with an automatic control system is another way to ensure your home doesn’t become dry. The automatic control system will adjust itself to ensure an optimal level of humidity. Always be sure to keep your wood furniture out of direct sunlight, this can further promoting drying and cracking. Don’t place your furniture near heating vents. Be sure not to over-humidify, this will cause the furniture to expand. Stick with the museum concept; 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity.
Wood furniture is some of your most beautiful, and often most expensive possessions. Protecting it against damage from humidity is one of the most important elements to ensure your furniture lasts for generations. To do this, it’s essential to avoid drastic changes in humidity levels and temperature. Don’t store your wood furniture in a basement, garage or attic because drastic temperature and humidity changes will damage it. Try to keep your home temperature and humidity environment consistent. In the wintertime, avoid dry air that can dry and crack your furniture by using a humidifier with automatic controls. As always, be sure to keep your furniture away from sunlight and heating vents. If you take the time to manage these elements, you can ensure that your beautiful wood pieces will be in good condition to be later passed down to the next generation.
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