Portuguese houses have always been criticized for their humidity. However, this winter has brought about more intense humidity in Portugal. Hundreds of photos have been shared on social media of humidity in walls and ceilings in Portuguese homes, even as far as spreading onto objects.
December 2022 was the hottest in the last 92 years, which has certain implications, such as high humidity. According to the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA), the levels of humidity in the air in January 2023 were around 90% to 100%.
The humidity phenomenon is thus explained by both the large quantity of air vapor in the atmosphere and the high temperatures this winter. For each increased degree in the average global temperature, the humidity in the atmosphere increases by 7%, said climatologist Pedro Garrett to CNN Portugal.
However, there are ways to solve these humidity issues as well as prevent them. The amount of humidity in your home will also depend on the type of build, area of the country you live in, age of home, etc. Let’s take a look at how you can keep humidity at bay in your home in Portugal.
Why do Portuguese houses have so much humidity?
It’s true that while this winter has been exceptionally humid, Portuguese houses have always been known for their humidity. Humidity leads to mold, infiltrations, stains on walls, and more. And these are not just aesthetically unpleasing, they can be harmful to your health.
But why do Portuguese houses have so much humidity? Portugal tends to be a humid country as the Atlantic climate predominates in most of the country. Most of Portugal is located in the humid zone of the Iberian peninsula, predominantly the northwest, which is rainy and humid.
Some houses are more vulnerable to humidity when the walls are not properly waterproofed, which can be the case in some older Portuguese houses. When there are heavy periods of rain, this humidity appears in walls that are in contact with soil and roofs.
Quick Tips: How to solve humidity issues in Portuguese houses
There is no quick fix when it comes to humidity. If your house is not properly insulated, you will always be dealing with the consequences of humidity, such as mold. However, if you do not have thousands to spare to make such a large fix, there are a few tips regarding humidity in Portugal.
- Keep house temperatures between 18 to 22ºC.
- Open windows every day for at least 30 minutes to ventilate space. If you are leaving the house for a few days, leave at least two windows slightly open. Do so even if it’s raining.
- Close bathroom doors while showering and after, using windows and/or ventilators to circulate their vapor.
- Do not over-pack wardrobes with clothes, leave spaces between hangers.
- Purchase a dehumidifier and place it in bathrooms and wardrobes.
- Purchase silica bags and place them in wardrobes and drawers as these fight humidity.
- Always turn on your kitchen’s extractor hood and try to cover pots and pans.
- Avoid hanging clothes to dry inside. If you do so, place a dehumidifier in the room and close the door.
How to prevent humidity and mold in Portugal
Prevention is key when it comes to humidity. This way, you avoid persistent mold. Even if you are able to figure out quick fixes, the constant exposure to mold is dangerous to you and your family.
There are three main things to control to prevent humidity: ventilation, temperature, and relative humidity.
Ventilation is important for at least 30 minutes daily, preferably cross ventilation. The temperature inside your home should be between 18ºC to 22ºC. Your home’s relative humidity should be between 40% and 60%, preferably.
These three key factors must be monitored to prevent humidity and mold in Portugal. However, without the correct insulation in your home, the humidity will always be at inadequate levels. Investing in this might be the safest and most efficient way, despite the initial cost.