The Role of Indoor Humidity in Maintaining Indoor Comfort

The Role of Indoor Humidity in Maintaining Indoor Comfort

When people hear the word “humidity”, they imagine hot summer days when they’re fanning themselves in their front yard, and trying to get the sweat off of their foreheads. What they aren’t aware of, however, is that humidity doesn’t refer only to the outdoors. Chances are that they feel uncomfortable in their homes not because of their air conditioner or heater, but because of the indoor humidity.

What is relative humidity?

Indoor humidity or relative humidity is the amount of water vapor that is in the air at a given temperature. When the relative humidity of a home is said to be at 30 percent, this means that the indoor air is holding 30 percent of the total amount of water vapor it can hold. According to Mayo Clinic, the ideal level of relative humidity is 30 to 50 percent. When the relative humidity is at 100%, this means that the air is holding the most amount of moisture it can contain.

Why does relative humidity matter?

Your body needs to be able to regulate its temperature. When the humidity is too high, you will have a harder time cooling down. On the other hand, when the humidity is too low, heat will escape your body, causing you to feel too cold.

What happens when there’s too much humidity?

When there’s too much humidity, there’s too much moisture in the air. In the summer, high humidity can cause you to sweat intensely. Not only does this force your air conditioner to run harder to cool your home, but it can also cause you to feel uncomfortable. Your house will feel hot, even if you’ve turned up the A/C. However, things can get worse in the winter when the doors and windows are closed. Moisture, as well as other unwelcome elements, will be forced to stay inside. This turns your home into a breeding ground for illness-spreading germs, fungi, and so on.

What happens when there’s too little humidity?

Low humidity is more common in the winter. This is because the outside air is already cold as it is. That cold, dry air will enter your home through holes in the walls and windows. And although your furnace will try to warm the air, the indoor air won’t hold enough moisture, causing the humidity to go down. Fortunately, the effects of low humidity aren’t as serious as high humidity. That, however, does not mean you’re safe. There’s a chance that you’ll suffer from the flu, nosebleeds, colds, etcetera. Your wood furnishings will likely crack, too.

What can you do?

For these reasons, it’s important to maintain the ideal level of relative humidity in your home. Start by installing a smart thermostat that can detect the amount of moisture in the air. Aim for the recommended 30 to 50 percent, but feel free to go up to 45 to 55 percent. You should also consider accompanying your HVAC with a whole-house humidifier/dehumidifier system. Call your HVAC technician at (317) 535-9338 today to learn more. Beeson Mechanical Service can also suggest other ways on how to maintain the ideal indoor humidity.