Controlling the indoor humidity levels of your home is essential to obtaining optimum comfort. If you feel like your home is too humid, we’ll discuss what humidity is, as well as its effects on your health and your home.
Humidity describes the amount of water vapor or moisture content that is present in the atmosphere. On the other hand, relative humidity describes the amount of water vapor that the air is capable of holding at a specific temperature. Warm air contains more water vapor, which is why most people refer to hot temperatures as ‘humid’.
When the outside temperature is cold, your furnace will have to work harder to heat your home. In the extreme cold, indoor humidity levels can go as low as 10%. In comparison, the temperature that is generally considered comfortable is around 40% -- anything lower than that could take a toll on your health and your home.
Low humidity causes health issues such as dry skin, scratchy throats, chapped lips, respiratory issues, and colds. Low humidity also results in feelings of constant coldness, even when the thermostat is cranked up high. This is because your body’s natural moisture evaporates at a much faster rate.
Your furniture will suffer, too. Low humidity can cause wooden floors to warp, wallpaper to peel and loosen, and mold and other bacteria to thrive. Overall, your indoor environment becomes compromised.
Summer is known for being humid. When it is too hot outside, you will notice increased levels of humidity within your home. Signs such as condensation and foggy windows, musty odors, and wet spots on ceilings indicate too much humidity. High humidity is also the main cause of mold growth inside a home, leading to respiratory issues especially with those who have asthma and other allergies.
When high humidity is present alongside high temperatures, your body won’t be able to cool down naturally. When this happens, you are at risk of experiencing a heat stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 702 deaths per year are caused by high temperatures.
High humidity also contributes to structural damage on homes. You will notice signs of rot as well as tiny bugs and pests such as cockroaches, centipedes, booklice, and much more.
The ideal indoor humidity level ranges from 35% to 50%. Maintaining comfortable humidity levels helps prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and other viruses that may compromise your family’s health. It also protects your home from damage caused by humidity.