Trusted government and institutional sources state that recommended indoor humidity levels should be between 30-55 percent. Managing home humidity to work in your favor requires a basic understanding of the elements affecting indoor moisture, and taking sensible steps to make your home more comfortable and healthful.
When Home Humidity is Too High
High humidity in the home poses ongoing problems that, if not addressed, can damage your property, home and indoor air quality.
If your home has high humidity issues, they will come to light in various ways:
- Mold and mildew may begin to grow on A/C components, inside air ducts, on walls, or even on clothing.
- Windows form condensation, which drips down and may potentially damage wood frames.
- Many bacteria, allergens and micro-organisms, such as dust mites, thrive in humid conditions.
When Home Humidity is Too Low
Low humidity levels in the home are unfavorable to comfort, health and the pocketbook, too.
- Dry indoor air causes discomforts of dry skin, nose discharge, sore throat, fatigue and dehydration.
- Some viruses, such as influenza, thrive when the air is dry. This presents more possibilities for infection and illness in loved ones with lowered immune defenses.
- Dry air provides conditions for the accumulation of excessive electrical charges on surfaces — static-electricity shocks. In addition to being an annoyance, static-electric shocks can damage low-voltage electronics.
Managing Home Humidity
Successfully managing the humidity level inside your home involves the same strategy and steps no matter the season or moisture level.
- Air sealing — Stabilize heat and moisture gain or loss by sealing air leaks with weatherstripping and caulk. Air sealing also saves a lot of energy.
- Airflow — Many problem areas in the home are caused by poor airflow through the HVAC system. Have your system inspected for duct leaks and tested to ensure balanced airflow through the living spaces.
- Activity modification — The normal daily activities in a household such as bathing, cooking and cleaning can add heat and moisture to the living spaces. During the cooling months, limit these activities to late evenings and early mornings. In the dry heating months, adding moisture and heat are perfectly fine.
- Mechanical — Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are effective mechanical devices worth investing in that balance indoor humidity, comfort, health and energy bills. These systems are available in portable units and as more effective whole-house humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Consult your HVAC professional to see which systems would benefit your particular needs.
Managing home humidity year-round definitely has its benefits. To learn more, contact the pros at United Air Conditioning.
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