What’s the Deal with Humidity? (And What You Can Do to Help)
When it comes to your home’s comfort, how well it’s being heated or cooled is probably the only thing you think of. However, humidity plays a key role in your level of comfort as well as your indoor air quality. Below we’ll discuss the importance of humidity in the home, what can go wrong if it’s out of the ideal range, and what you can do to help.
What is humidity?
Humidity is the level of water vapor in the air. This level is described through what’s called relative humidity. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air at a certain temperature compared to what the air could hold at that temperature.
Why is humidity important?
Humans are extremely sensitive to changes in humidity. It can affect many aspects of our bodies’ functions, including comfort. That’s why it’s so crucial to keep your home in that ideal humidity range of 30%-50%.
What happens when the air is not humid enough?
The effects of dry indoor air are two-fold, what it does to your home and what it does to you. Having air that’s too dry can warp and crack wooden fixtures in your home, including musical instruments, flooring, as well as furniture. Having dry indoor air also increases the level of static electricity. You’ll find yourself zapping doorknobs or even loved ones more often. On top of that, during the winter if your air is too dry, the air will feel cooler than it really is, and not just by a couple of degrees. This can cause you to run your furnace at a higher temperature than you would normally, which in turn means more money spent on energy bills.
The negative effects on your body are just as bad. Having air below the ideal humidity level can cause dry itchy skin, irritated sinuses, chapped lips, increased risk of nose bleeds, cold, flu, and other sicknesses. As you can see, robbing your body of the moisture it needs can cause a multitude of issues for your health.
What happens when the air is too humid?
Just like with dry air, air that is too humid affects not only your home but also your body. Bacteria, mold, and mildew thrive in moist environments all of which make the air less healthy to breathe in. These can even leave your house smelling off, like a wet beach towel that was left out for too long. Also, when the air is holding too much moisture, sufferers of allergies and asthma can see their symptoms worsen. It damages your home too, wallpaper can peel, and anything made of wood can rot. Furthermore, when the level of humidity is above the ideal range during the summer, it will feel hotter than it really is causing you to run your air conditioner at a lower temperature to compromise.
What can you do to help?
Now that you know the importance of keeping your home at the ideal humidity level, what are your options to attain it? Our suggestion would be to have a dehumidifier installed; we recommend the Aprilaire 1850 Dehumidifier. This model can remove up to 95 pints of moisture per day. What’s nice about whole home dehumidifiers is that they allow your air conditioning to be more efficient. Air conditioning units cool your home in two ways; by removing heat and moisture from the air. When less of its load is devoted to removing moisture, more of the load can be devoted to actually cooling your home. Keep in mind that an air conditioning unit can only dehumidify while it’s running. If it’s not hot enough for your thermostat to be calling for cooling, it won’t be running, therefore it won’t be dehumidifying the air. This issue is especially prevalent during the spring and fall, a dehumidifier is great for these situations. These can be installed either attached to your ductwork or unattached to serve the basement or another room only.
We also offer whole house humidifiers. These units are attached to the ductwork of your current equipment. We recommend Aprilaire humidifiers, specifically, the Aprilaire 700 Fan-powered (covers up to 4,200 square feet) and the Aprilaire 600 Large Bypass (covers up to 4,000 square feet). These units are applicable in almost every home. Being connected to the ductwork, these humidifiers evenly distribute the moisture you need throughout your entire house. During the dry winter months, homes in our area without humidifiers can have lower humidity than the Sahara Desert so we highly recommend getting one of these units installed.
The Bottom Line
Although your home’s humidity level is rarely at the forefront of your mind, it’s far more important than you would think. Some people don’t even know how they’ve been living until they get one of these units installed and feel the difference for themselves. Call us today if you’re being negatively impacted by anything we’ve described here! 815-338-0282