You might not think much about the humidity level in your home, but did you know that it can have a significant impact on your health? Maintaining the ideal humidity level in your home is crucial to keeping yourself and your family healthy.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. You've probably noticed that when it's hot outside, the air feels muggier. That's because warm air can hold more moisture than cold air.
Relative Humidity (RH) is a measure of how much water vapor is present in the air relative to how much water vapor the air can hold at that temperature. For example, if the RH is 70%, that means that the air contains 70% of the water vapor it could possibly hold.
The Importance of Maintaining the Right Humidity Level
Maintaining the right humidity level in your home is important for both your health and your property. Extremely high or low humidity levels can lead to a variety of problems, including:
- Dry skin and mucous membranes
- Static electricity shocks
- Cracks in wood floors and furniture
On the other hand, extremely high humidity levels can lead to:
- Excessive sweating
- Faster breathing
- Increased heart rate
The Dangers of High Humidity in Your Home
You may be wondering if excessive indoor humidity in your home is dangerous.
Although a certain amount of humidity is necessary to keep our bodies healthy, too much humidity can be quite dangerous. High indoor humidity levels can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues.
Excessive humidity can also warp wood floors and furniture, ruin drywall and paint, and damage electronics.
The Dangers of Low Humidity in Your Home
On the other end of the spectrum, low indoor humidity levels can also be detrimental to your health. Dry air can cause headaches, nosebleeds, and sinus infections, and can aggravate asthma and allergies. Low humidity levels can also lead to static electricity shocks and make wooden floors and furniture more susceptible to cracking. Not to mention, low humidity levels are just plain uncomfortable.
Determining the Best Humidity Level for Your Home
So, what is the ideal indoor humidity level?
The answer may surprise you—experts say that the perfect indoor humidity level for human comfort is between 30% and 50%. That's a wide range, but don't worry. There are a few easy ways to monitor and adjust the indoor humidity level in your home.
First, invest in a hygrometer (a tool that measures temperature and relative humidity) to get an accurate reading of the current conditions in your home. You can find hygrometers at most hardware stores or online retailers. Once you know what the current conditions are, you can take steps to adjust the indoor humidity level as needed.
- If your home is too humid, open windows or use fans or dehumidifiers to help remove excess moisture from the air.
- If your home is too dry, try using humidifiers to add moisture back into the air.
Be sure not to follow these instructions blindly—if you live in an area with high outdoor humidity levels (like Florida), adding more moisture into the air could make things worse. In that case, it's best to stick with fans or dehumidifiers.