Most people only think about humidity when it comes to the outdoors. The old cliche, ‘It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity’ is often heard in the summer, while chapped lips and noses are blamed on the dryness of cold winter days. Indoor humidity levels are rarely thought of, but it’s an important consideration for your health and the safety of your home and belongings.
How Is Humidity Measured?
Humidity is a measure of the amount of moisture in the air; however, there are two ways of expressing it:
- Absolute humidity: the total water vapor present in the atmosphere with no other factors considered
- Relative humidity: the amount of water vapor present relative to the temperature.
This is the more common way of expressing moisture in the air, and it’s important because warmer air can hold more moisture than cold air.
The Impact Of Humidity Extremes
When the relative humidity in your home is either too low or too high, it can lead to health problems and damage to your home and possessions. Ideally, the level of humidity in your home should fall within a range of 30-60 percent. Here’s what can happen when the relative humidity indoors falls above or below that range.
Too little moisture in the air in your home over time can cause dry, flaking, cracked skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds, and dried-out sinuses and infections. It can lead to respiratory problems and aggravate cases of asthma and bronchitis.
Extended periods of low humidity can also dry out the wood and other materials in your house and furniture, leading to dry rot and cracks and fissures in your floors and around doors and windows.
Too much moisture in the air encourages the growth of hazardous mold and mildew as well as dust mites and other insects. It can lead to warping and swelling of wood floors and frames, as well as water stains and rot.
Maintaining Healthy Humidity Levels
You can monitor the relative humidity levels in your home with a hygrometer, either digital or mechanical. When an imbalance has been identified, proper levels can be maintained with a humidifier or dehumidifier.
The professional HVAC team at Knight’s Mechanical can measure the humidity levels in your home as well as your general air quality. Contact us today for more information.