Determining Your Home’s Ideal Humidity Level
The ideal humidity level for residential homes varies on a household-by-household basis. You may not realize how big of an impact your humidity has on your family’s health. Determining the best level for your home can lower your bills, protect your health and ensure your year-round comfort. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of maintaining a healthy humidity level all year long.
Ideal Humidity Range
Generally, you’re recommended to have a humidity level between 30% and 60%. The average amount of airborne moisture in your home can fluctuate based on the number of people living there, everyday activities, the season and more.
For example, the air tends to be drier during the winter because of the colder temperatures. Heating your home with a furnace will dry the air out even further. The constant rain and high temperature during the summer will have the opposite effect, skyrocketing your humidity level into uncomfortable territory.
You shouldn’t rely on ventilation alone to protect your humidity level. Utilizing dehumidifiers or humidifiers as needed is the best way to guarantee control over your humidity no matter the season.
High Humidity Warning Signs
High humidity in the home can make the air feel thick, muggy and sticky. Large amounts of water vapor are pushed into the air when you cook, wash your clothes, use your dishwasher and complete household chores. Your family even creates moisture when you’re sleeping.
Spotting signs of excessive airborne moisture early will decrease your future carpet, wallpaper and flooring replacement costs. Unhealthy humidity levels often manifest as condensation on your mirrors, windows, pipes and even the base of your toilet. This indicates that this surface is cooler than the air in the room. Constant moisture can also prematurely ruin your gaming systems, TVs and large appliances like refrigerators.
Your ceiling and walls may begin to sag or become discolored. Constant exposure to moisture will lead to crumbling that may expose your rafters or the space between your walls. The paint on your walls will chip and peel while any wallpaper may begin to come loose. These issues often start in basements or bathrooms with little to no ventilation.
One of the worst issues you can face related to high humidity levels is the presence of mold and mildew. Fungus spores thrive in warm, wet environments like your ductwork. Every time your HVAC system kicks on, spores are circulated into your bedrooms, kitchen and living areas. You may smell a strong, musty odor that becomes more noticeable during a heating cycle. Along with impacting your home, your health, furniture, electronics and wiring will all be at increased risk.
Low Humidity Warning Signs
Low humidity issues are less common but can be just as harmful as high humidity issues. Dry air often occurs when your heating system is removing too much moisture or when you’re overusing your existing dehumidifier. Constantly heating or cooling your home’s breathing air naturally lowers the innate moisture level.
If your home is too dry, it will begin to affect your body’s overall moisture level. Your skin, eyes and nasal passages will dry out, become irritated and crack. Excessive coughing and unexplained nosebleeds are also common in environments with low humidity. As the mucus membranes in your nose dry out, they’ll get thicker and obstruct your airways. The inability to breathe easily will cause restless sleep that leaves you fatigued the next day.
Dry air also warps your floorboards and furniture. Your houseplants will dry out and potentially die faster. There will also be more static electricity present, meaning you’ll be shocked more frequently when you pick up or touch nearby objects.
Tips for Maintaining Your Humidity
If you’re struggling with too much moisture in the home, you should install exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. Don’t let any hot, humid air created by cooking or showering linger in the home. Watch for any faucet issues, pipe leaks or standing water in your basement. These problems increase your humidity and damage your home’s foundation and structural integrity.
Make sure your clothes dryer has an unblocked vent leading outside. If you must hang your clothes out to dry, keep them outdoors as much as possible. You can also utilize your ceiling fans to help circulate air around different rooms. Circulation and ventilation are essential to dispersing moisture-rich air to other, drier areas.
If your home is too dry this winter, you can lower your thermostat temperature. Not using your furnace as frequently will decrease how much airborne moisture is removed. You can also leave the bathroom door ajar when you shower so the steam can make its way into your home. Many families choose to boil water when they’re home to naturally increase the humidity level. However, the most effective way to add more water vapor to your breathing air is by utilizing a humidifier.
Dehumidifiers use fans to pull air inside the system before passing it over chilled coils. As condensation forms on these coils and drips down into the reservoir, the dry air is then released back into the home. Dehumidifiers help limit the presence of contaminants like mold and mildew spores and dust mites that prefer warm environments. They can even prevent the growth of some bacteria and viruses that would otherwise make your household sick.
Dehumidifiers can also limit your risks of dealing with pests like spiders and ants. They’ll boost your indoor comfort by keeping your moisture level consistent all year long. These systems can even improve the efficiency of your furnace and air conditioner. You can easily adjust your moisture settings when you have guests staying over or when the seasons change.
Humidifiers release water vapor into the air to improve the local humidity level. They soothe your dry skin and decrease your allergy symptoms and respiratory sensitivities. These systems ease your coughing, reduce snoring and help you feel fully rested when you wake up in the morning. Whole-home humidifiers tie directly into your HVAC system so moisture can be conveniently added to every room.
When using portable humidifying units, it’s vital to regularly clean and sanitize the system. A dirty humidifier can become a hotspot for mold and bacterial growth that directly worsens your air quality. Be sure to follow all of the guidelines in the instruction manual. This often includes regularly cleaning out its tank, replacing its filters and using safely distilled water.
For central, whole-house humidifiers, it’s best to schedule routine professional service with our experienced team. Neglecting to schedule care could lead to rust or corrosion in your HVAC system as well as inconsistent indoor humidity levels.
Efficient and Reliable HVAC Team
Hoff Heating & AC is your best choice of heating and cooling company in O’Fallon, MO. Our NATE-certified technicians have more than three decades of hands-on experience in the industry. Our team is a recognized Lennox Premier Dealer that maintains an A+ with the Better Business Bureau. We can service all furnace and air conditioner makes and models. We’re also ready to install an air purification system, provide an energy analysis or help you with new construction projects. Call Hoff Heating & AC today to schedule your appointment.