The specter of moisture damage should be a top concern, especially when selling a house, for it can negatively affect home values. Water in vapor form can be as destructive as liquid to building materials — it can cause rust in iron and its alloys and wood rot. Although not acutely damaging, it can compromise your house’s structural integrity by going undetected for a long time. It can also jeopardize your family’s health, for it’s food for mold and bacteria.

While it’s impossible to prevent the air inside and outside from becoming humid, these eight tips can help you avoid moisture damage.

Identify the Sources

Familiarizing yourself with where moisture comes from is half the job. Water enters its gaseous phase through evaporation and sublimation. The former is when a liquid turns into gas, while the latter is when a solid turns into gas without becoming liquid first.

Water-related activities, such as cooking and showering, can increase indoor humidity. Moisture from damp earth in the crawlspace and warm outside air can also infiltrate your home.

Tighten Your Building Envelope

An airtight home is almost always a watertight one. Sealing all cracks and gaps in the walls, ceilings, and floors, as well as around roof vents, windows and exterior doors, can keep moisture at bay. Book qualified professionals for regular inspections to spot roofing, siding and foundation problems early and get them fixed promptly.

Trim Overhanging Trees

Towering trees should be no nearer than 35 feet from your house. Otherwise, their canopies can cause moisture issues by shedding leaves that pile and decay on the roof, bruising asphalt shingles during windy events and destroying your property when they break and fall.

Remove trees that are too close for comfort. Give them a regular trim to keep their thick foliage from doing more harm than good.

Keep Gutters Clog-Free

An obstructed gutter system allows water to flow where it shouldn’t. Keeping gutters and downspouts clean and unclogging problem ones is home maintenance 101.

Reinforce Your House

Reinforcements — such as storm windows, floor coverings and roof underlayments — represent additional layers of protection against moisture in the surroundings. They’re vital if your home is no stranger to wet weather, has a below-grade basement and uses a porous building material like concrete.

Get Plumbing Routinely Inspected

Leaky toilets, loose faucets, clogged drains and broken pipes create wet surfaces, adding more moisture to the inside air when the water evaporates. Have a credentialed plumber evaluate your pipework regularly to discover or avert these issues.

Ensuring your plumbing system is in good shape helps boost your home value when you put your property on the market — or at least give interested buyers one less bargaining chip to ask for a discount.

Note the Main Water Shutoff Valve

Knowing this valve’s location can help you stop the bleeding when a leak happens or a washer or toilet overflows. Turning your water supply off during a vacation helps keep your home dry until you return.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Outdoor air is usually cooler — and naturally drier — than indoor air. Natural and electric ventilators can expel the warm inside air to the outside and bring in fresh breezes to keep humidity levels low. Have a wall opening on opposite sides of a room to leverage the wind to ventilate your interior at a high rate naturally.

Prevent Moisture Damage to Increase Home Value

A house with a moisture problem is undesirable. If you want your property to sell for the highest price, use these tips to ensure it’s as dry and healthy as possible before you list it.