Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. We typically associate humidity with air quality during the summer. However, indoor humidity can play a large role in your health and overall home comfort during the winter, too.
Particularly when it’s cold outside, most of us keep our homes tightly sealed up. While this is effective at keeping out the cold air, it also traps mold, dust, pet dander and other pollutants inside. A humid environment further promotes the growth of these irritants and worsens their effects. Even if you’re not an allergy sufferer, you’ll feel immediate benefits when you take steps to control the humidity in your home.
What is a Comfortable Level of Humidity?
Winter air is drier than summer, and many of us feel this everyday — in itchy skin, dry scalp and clingy, static-prone clothes. Introducing some humidity into the home during the winter months can have a positive effect on comfort levels, but at the same time, it’s important to avoid adding too much.
So, what is a healthy level of humidity? The University of Minnesota recommends the following:
20º to 40ºF
|No more than 40%|
|10º to 20ºF||
No more than 35%
0º to 10ºF
-10º to 0ºF
An indoor air quality product with humidistat control options is essential to properly monitoring moisture in your home. You’ll have to adjust your humidity levels throughout the year based on outside temperature.
Effects of High Humidity in Your House
A humid environment reduces indoor air quality and further promotes the growth of mold and mildew. When there is too much humidity in your home, it can lead to excess moisture, which creates ideal conditions for these irritants to grow and worsens their effects. High humidity can also damage your furniture and wallpaper.
Effects of Low Indoor Air Quality
Similar to indoor air with too much moisture, levels of humidity that are too low can also negatively affect your home comfort and health. Low humidity creates dry air that can cause damage to hardwood floors or wood furniture or cause wallpaper to peel.
In addition to making your home less comfortable, dangerous indoor humidity levels can affect your health and make you sick. Viruses and bacteria like environments with low moisture which can lead to sinus problems, respiratory issues, and infection. You may also experience itchy, dry skin if your humidity is too low.
Even if you don’t suffer from allergies, you’ll feel immediate benefits when you take steps to control your home’s humidity.
How to Detect Poor Indoor Humidity
Signs of an overly-humid home may not be immediately obvious. However, with prolonged exposure, you may find yourself experiencing the following allergy symptoms:
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Worsening asthma
If you add too much humidity to your home, you may find yourself sweating a lot, even when you’re inside. These uncomfortable conditions may be an indication of unsafe levels of humidity.
Another sure sign is any noticeable damage to your home such as peeling wallpaper or excess condensation on windows.
A good way to know if the humidity levels are too high or too low is to evaluate your own comfort level. Too much or too little moisture in the air can make it more difficult to sleep and breathe.
If you’re experiencing any respiratory problems such as chest tightness, or you find yourself often suffering from dry skin, hair, or eyes, chapped lips, or a sore throat, consider doing something about the indoor humidity.
Steps to Maintain Comfortable Humidity in Your Home
The most obvious way to maintain a comfortable level of humidity is to purchase a dehumidifier or humidifier. A dehumidifier will help to lower your humidity, while a humidifier will raise humidity levels, helping to prevent the air from getting too dry.
If you suspect you might have introduced too much humidity into your home this winter, be sure to make use of vents and exhaust fans in the areas that tend to accumulate or create more moisture, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms.
Control Indoor Humidity With Carrier Products
RSC Heating & Air Conditioning is an eleven-time national Carrier President’s Award winner. We offer a complete lineup of humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, ventilators, air cleaners, and more. Carrier products are energy-efficient, quiet, and highly effective at managing air quality factors, such as heat and humidity, all year round.
For more information about how Carrier home comfort products can help you maintain optimal humidity levels in your home, contact RSC Heating & Air Conditioning today.