Does it really matter how much humidity is in your house?
Humidity is one of those things we really don’t think about, yet it has enormous effects on our comfort, health and on how our homes function. High and low humidity in your home can cause a lot of unwanted side effects. That’s why it is important to understand the effects of not having the correct humidity level.
High humidity– Overall, having high humidity can warrant more smells in your home and initiate more illnesses. It can limit the evaporation of sweat and cause poor comfort even when temperatures should be at a comfortable level. High humidity can also be the culprit of sticky surfaces and floors, bugs and mold.
Temperature affects how much moisture can exist as humidity in the air, but humidity also has an effect on temperature. Humid air holds heat more efficiently than dry air. This means that during the winter, an appropriate amount of humidity can make your home more comfortable, and reduce the need for your furnace to continually replenish indoor heat.
When humidity is too high, moisture can gather in hard-to-dry places such as cracks and poorly-sealed joins, which can provide the environment needed for mold, mildew, and bacterial colonies to grow. This growth can trigger or exacerbate allergies, and also can cause illness. In addition, growth in wooden fixtures and drywall can damage these parts of your home, which can let drafts in and otherwise require repair. Even when there’s no visible mold growth on walls or ceilings, high humidity can contribute to mold growth and rot.
Low Humidity– Too low of a humidity level can cause dry skin and less overall comfort due to your body emitting heat more quickly. It can also put you and your family at an increased risk of viruses and cause more dust in your home.
When air is too dry, there’s no obstruction to dust being blown up into the air. More dust tends to generate, as well. Skin flakes more easily, and fixtures are dry enough to powder. Low humidity also causes lung and throat irritation.
How to Achieve Balanced Humidity– Balanced humidity can safeguard your indoor air quality. That is why it is important to try to maintain a balanced humidity in your home. Too high of humidity and too low of humidity exposes your family and your home to issues that can easily be sustained.
Two effective ways to control humidity in your home is to simply tighten the house up with blower door assisted air sealing as well as the right size furnace with a humidifier and dehumidifier. If a house is too leaky, in the winter humidified air leaks out more quickly than a humidifier can add it, or in the summer the humid air outside leaks in faster than the air conditioner or dehumidifier can remove the moisture.
Generally, in warm weather, humidity in your home should be in the 35 to 45 percent relative humidity range. In cold weather the relative humidity can go lower, under 30 percent when the temperature drops below freezing, to prevent frost condensation on windows exposed to the outside air. However, as with many home comfort topics, you should keep track of your indoor humidity and find the range that feels best to you.
Not all homeowners understand the importance of balanced humidity. As mentioned previously, your home’s humidity has a number of effects on many factors, such as temperature, indoor air quality, health and wellbeing and also the structural elements of your house so it is crucial to minimize these ailments and take the necessary steps towards balance and comfort.