Why Balanced Indoor Humidity Matters
Humidity is a significant factor in the determination of your comfort at home. Ever noticed the weather forecast sometimes includes a “feels like” temperature? That’s because humidity can affect what the air feels like around you.
Additionally, having the correct level of relative humidity in your home is an important component of good indoor air quality. If the humidity is too high or too low, it can affect your health and the condition of your home.
Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in your home’s air. But what does “too low” or “too high” mean, in numbers? The generally accepted ideal relative humidity range is 30 to 50 percent. In the winter, it should be on the lower end of that spectrum.
Here are the potential consequences if your home’s humidity is too high or too low:
Consequences of Low Indoor Humidity
If your indoor humidity is too low, you may experience dry skin, itchy eyes or throat, sinus pain or congestion and even nosebleeds.
Your home can be affected by low humidity as well, including cracked and warped wood. Low humidity can wreak havoc on expensive hard wood floors or trying to keep a baby grand piano in tune! You can also experience more static electricity build up.
Consequences of High Indoor Humidity
Water is on what all life depends, so if the environment in your home is moist, chances are, unwanted life forms will appear. If the humidity in your home is too high, you run the risk of dust mites, mold and mildew, all of which can thrive in a wet environment. Condensation accumulating on your windows can also cause wooden frames to rot.
Too much humidity can also affect your comfort through the “feels like” affect; high humidity makes the air feel sticky, causing you to feel too warm. Additionally, much like low humidity, high humidity can lead to sinus irritation and congestion.
If your home is too humid, the most effective way to bring it down to a healthy level is to increase air flow and to remove moist air through exhaust fans, which are most commonly found in bathrooms, your kitchen and laundry room.
The first place you may want to start is your existing thermostat! Several newer models include an indoor humidity percentage reading along with the temperature reading. Another option is to purchase a very inexpensive hygrometer, which makes it easy for you to monitor humidity levels. If you find that you have issues with indoor humidity (see warning signs here), you may consider a humidifier or dehumidifier.
Since unbalanced humidity levels can have negative health implications, you may want to consider an indoor air purification system to filter toxins out of your air. Between monitoring your home’s humidity levels and putting into place the habits and mechanisms to counter indoor air problems, you and your family can breathe easier.
Also read: How to Improve Indoor Air