For Your Home

How humid should your home be?

February 29, 2016 • By

Humid-Window

How humid should your home be?                         

Many people are unaware that the level of moisture in the air of their home is doing them harm. Particularly during winter months, low humidity occurs and brings with it an increased risk of dry skin, chapped lips, sinus infection, cough symptoms and much more.

To help balance out the levels of humidity in your home it is a wise idea to purchase a humidifier. Moisture in a room is essential for staying healthy. Humidifiers work to maintain healthy moisture levels in the air. Having humidity in the air is vitally important and not only helps your health, but can also help your furniture to last longer. On top of this, during winter months a humidifier can reduce your bills since humid air feels warmer, and you’ll end up using less energy in an attempt to stay cozy and warm.

Humidifiers can be split into two basic categories: warm mist humidifiers and cool mist humidifiers. Cool mist humidifiers are then broken into two further categories, which are evaporative humidifiers and ultrasonic humidifiers. Some models even offer both warm mist and cool mist options.

It’s not just humidifiers that can help you achieve a healthy balance of moisture in the air of your home, however. Dehumidifiers reduce the levels of moisture in the air should the levels be too high. If the levels are too high, there are many bad effects. These can include damage to your house and condensation and mold build up over time, which could devalue your house or cause you problems in the future. This can also lead to allergies and illness, so be sure to pay careful attention to the level of moisture in your home and consider whether a humidifier or dehumidifier could be for you.

Indeed, relative humidity has gotten more and more attention over the past years and people have started paying a lot of attention to it with regard to their home and their level of comfort in their home. On average, people spend 60% of their time indoors inside their home, and so it’s essential to make sure the level of relative humidity in your home is at the optimal level and you stay healthy.

Humidity levels and your health

When we are outside and it is humid we may feel the air is thick. Inside we react very differently and rather we begin to feel itchy, dry and susceptible to coughs and allergies. Many common illnesses are aggravated, if not caused, by poor air quality in people’s homes.

Having appropriate humidity levels in your home can help prevent flu and the common cold. By adding moisture into the air with a humidifier you filter out viruses and bacteria, and prevent them from spreading. Studies have shown that by raising the indoor humidity in your home to at least 43 percent, approximately 85 percent of airborne bacteria will be ineffective.

In addition, if you suffer from dry skin, chapped lips and other issues, a humidifier can can prevent all of these damaging effects, and leave you with soft, vibrant skin.  If you find yourself waking up with a groggy voice in the morning it could mean that dry air is getting to your vocal cords. By keeping the air moist in your room with a humidifier you can rehydrate your vocal chords while you sleep. And, speaking of sleep, a humidifier can also help to reduce snoring.

Humidity levels and your home

Dry air can cause problems for your furniture. Wooden furniture can crack, and wallpaper can dry out. Your home can also suffer if the level of humidity is too high. If this is the case, you will notice many different things in your home. You may notice a musty odor, mold growth, cupped wooden floors, visible condensation stains and peeling wallpaper. If any of this seems a problem, you may have to look into a dehumidifier.

What is relative humidity?

So, with all this considered we can see how essential it is to maintain a healthy balance of moisture in the air of your home. To do this we adjust the relative humidity found in the air. But what is relative humidity? Wikipedia defines relative humidity as “the ratio of the partial pressure of water vapor to the equilibrium vapor pressure of water at the same temperature.”

Put simply, warm air can carry more water vapor than cold air. When air contains as much vapor as it can hold for the current temperature, it means the humidity level is at 100 percent. Once the air has reached this point it has reached its dew point. At this point water droplets or condensation can become visible on windows, walls and other objects in the home.

To use an example from Wikipedia, if the air temperature is 75 degrees and the relative humidity is 0 percent, then the air temperature will feel like 69 degrees. If the relative humidity is 100 percent then it would feel like 80 degrees.

What is the ideal level of humidity for your home?

Indoors the relative humidity should be kept above 30 percent at least. This will reduce risk of the nasal passages drying out, and will help you to avoid the nasty effects of air that is too dry. That is a minimum, and if your home’s moisture levels are falling below that you should look into the option of purchasing a humidifier for your home.

Humans can, however, be comfortable with a range of different humidity levels depending on the temperature. The range is usually somewhere between 30 percent and 60 percent.

If you live in a climate where the temperature is likely to fluctuate then you should pay careful attention to the relative humidity levels. Generally speaking during winter you should have levels around 30 percent, and during summer between 50 and 60 percent.

It is just as problematic if the relative humidity in the air is too high, and a good humidifier should ensure that the level of humidity is kept right. Some humidifiers come with automatic humidistats, and that means you will not have to worry about adjusting the level of relative humidity since the unit will respond to outside temperatures and adjust itself accordingly. Equally, if the air in your home is already balanced, an evaporative humidifier will be self-regulating since the levels of moisture will not work with the wick inside the unit.

If you find your home is consistently above or below the recommended relative humidity level, it might be time to purchase a dehumidifier or a humidifier. Either one will help ensure you feel healthier, happier and your home and somewhere that is safer and more comfortable to be.