The relative humidity level of your home can play an important role in your comfort indoors. Achieving the proper humidity level can also help keep your home and furnishings from being damaged and ensure optimal health. To maintain proper humidity levels in your home, follow the below tips and tricks.
Knowing the Right Humidity Level for Roseville Homes
Humidity is measured in percentages. If your indoor air had a relative humidity level of 100%, that would mean that the air is holding all the water vapor it can possibly hold. Of course, that’s certainly not the amount of humidity that you want for your home!
Rather, the ideal indoor humidity level is between 30% and 50%. In other words, it’s best for the air to contain 30% to 50% of the water vapor that it’s capable of holding.
The humidity level of a house usually varies from season to season. In general, the humidity will be lower during the winter months. During that time of the year, heating professionals often recommend aiming for a humidity level of 30% to 40%.
The summer season is typically the most humid time of the year, so it’s common for indoor humidity levels to creep up as well. The general advice is to keep your humidity level between 40% and 50% in the summer.
Problems with Low Indoor Humidity
If your humidity level is under 30%, the air in your home will be quite dry. That can cause a variety of problems.
For one thing, low humidity can lead to a variety of respiratory symptoms. Your throat may feel scratchy, and you might have a persistent cough. Also, your nose may feel stuffy. Low humidity can even cause nosebleeds. These respiratory symptoms can be especially pronounced in people with chronic conditions, such as allergies or COPD.
There is some evidence that common germs spread more readily in low-humidity environments. That means you may be more likely to catch a respiratory infection like a cold or the flu if your house isn’t humid enough.
Another problem with a dry house is that your skin can end up dry and itchy. Even if you put on lotion regularly, it might be hard to keep your hands from cracking. Your eyes can feel irritated and itchy too.
You’re more likely to receive static shocks in dry environments. Shocks are unpleasant surprises that can set you on edge all winter long.
Dry air feels chillier than humid air. If there’s not enough humidity in your home, you might be cold all the time. Raising the thermostat in response can exacerbate the problem because furnaces contribute to low humidity. It can be a never-ending winter cycle.
Low humidity isn’t just a problem for your comfort. It can also be rough on your house. Wood floors and furnishings can crack. Wallpaper might start to peel away from the walls, and chips might flake off your painted surfaces. Even your electronic devices can suffer damage from low humidity.
Issues Due of High Indoor Humidity
While low humidity can be a definite problem, high humidity introduces a new set of concerns.
When your humidity level is too high, you can end up with a thin layer of condensation over many of the surfaces in your home. Those tiny drops of water are problematic in several ways. Your windows might become foggy, which can make it hard to see out of them. The wood fixtures in your home might warp, and your wallpaper may wrinkle.
Mold and mildew often grow in damp places. Bacteria and dust mites can also thrive in moist spots. Mold and other growths can damage your home. Cleaning up a mold issue can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
Plus, mold and other tiny organisms can be detrimental to your respiratory health. It’s common for people’s allergies to flare up in response. Humid air can exacerbate asthma symptoms too.
Also, excess humidity is uncomfortable because it makes spaces feel overly warm. You might spend your days feeling sweaty and sticky. In response, you might continually crank your air conditioner, which can result in high power bills.
How to Measure Indoor Humidity Levels
If you’re curious about the relative humidity level of your home, consider purchasing a hygrometer. Basic digital hygrometers are available from hardware stores. The hygrometer will produce a readout of the humidity level in your home.
If your humidity level is already between 30% and 50%, then you may be in good shape. If not, it’s time to do something about it.
Strategies for Raising Low Humidity
When the indoor humidity level is under 30%, it’s time to add moisture to your air. Making some simple changes can help.
You might want to get a few houseplants. Green plants put moisture into their surroundings. To raise the humidity in your kitchen, you can let the dishwasher steam escape into the room. You can also leave a pot of water simmering on the stove throughout the day. Hanging damp laundry around your home can help ad humidity as well.
Of course, all these strategies require regular attention from you. You might want to leave this job to an appliance instead. You can get a portable humidifier that increases the moisture level in just one room at a time. To raise the humidity throughout your house, you’ll need multiple units.
A more sensible solution might be to install a whole-home humidifier. A licensed technician can hook this device into your heating and cooling system. It will regulate the humidity level of all the air that passes through the system and adjust as needed. An experienced technician can determine the settings that are best for the humidity needs of your home.
Ideas for Lowering High Humidity
When the hygrometer gives off a reading of more than 50%, dehumidifying is necessary.
The bathroom is one area of the house that gets especially humid, so it may require special attention. If you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, be sure to run it during showers. For bathrooms that don’t have a fan, you might want to look into installing one.
As with humidifiers, portable dehumidifiers are available. These units can remove moisture from a certain area of your home. Many people use small dehumidifiers in the basement, for instance.
For a more comprehensive approach to moisture removal, consider adding a whole-home dehumidifier to your heating and cooling system. By treating all your indoor air, it can bring down the overall humidity level.
Another thing to consider is whether it’s time for a new air conditioner. If your central air system is 12 or more years old, it might be time to upgrade to a more efficient model. Newer air conditioners are more effective at efficiently cooling rooms and lowering humidity than older units.
Environmental Heating & Air Solutions in Roseville offers a range of professional home care services. Our areas of expertise include heating, cooling, indoor air quality and plumbing. Call today to schedule an appointment with our experienced technicians or knowledgeable plumbers.