Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Your home’s humidity level can effect your comfort level regardless of the climate you live in. Here in Georgia, humidity levels averages at 71.1%, just lower than our neighbors south of us. Florida’s average is 74.1%. So, keep these numbers in mind when you see how humidity levels work.
Humidity levels can not only affect your comfort and sleep but also affect the structural elements of your home, like your hardwood floors. Low humidity can causes lung and throat irritation. However, when humidity is too high, moisture can gather in hard-to-dry places such as cracks and poorly-sealed joins, which can provide the environment needed for mold, mildew and bacterial colonies to grow. Managing home humidity levels should be a priority of every homeowner.
As the temperatures go up or down, the air’s capacity to hold water changes. At a higher temperatures, air can hold more water, while low-temperature air holds less amount of water.
Ever notice the morning dew outside in the winter months? This is because the air has cooled down enough so that it can’t hold anymore water, and the excess is then released, which is called dew point. Relative humidity is the opposite, it’s the percentage amount of water vapors held in the air for saturation.
So, what should humidity be in a home environment? The ideal home humidity range is about 30-45%, and it can occasionally reach the 50% mark. However, the exact amount of humidity depends on the seasons. During the summers months, a humidity of between 30-45% should be ideal, while the humidity level below 40% can suffice in the winter months. High humidity levels in winters can lead to condensation issues.
ASHRAE has outlined the following humidity levels for a normal home:
Comfortable: 30% – 60%
Recommended: 45% – 55%
High: 65% – 80%
What creates moisture in your home?
Think of everything you do with water inside your home. Activities like cooking, bathing, clothes drying and dish washing add moisture to the air. Poor insulation from windows, walls, doors and plumbing can accumulate droplet and run down these surfaces.
What effect does humidity have on me?
The primary effect of humidity is to keep you feeling cool in the summer and warm in winter. For example, high humidity levels in the summer will leave you feeling sweaty and sticky even if you are just sitting around idle. If the humidity is too low in the winter, your skin will dry up and irritate your nasal passages. Improper humidity levels will have you feeling uncomfortable but also lead to a higher risk of prolonging and contracting illnesses and diseases. This is why it is imperative to maintain ideal home humidity levels.
Benefits of perfect humidity levels:
- Overall Comfort
- Clear sinuses, which lead to better breathing.
- Less risk of infections. Moist air greatly reduces the ability of bacteria and viruses to remain airborne and transmit disease.
- Prevent skin from becoming dry and flaky.
- Moisture respiratory systems
- Better sleep
- Elimination of dry throats
- Paintings don’t become swollen
- Electrical wiring safety
- Wooden furniture and floors don’t warp
Drawbacks of High Humidity Levels:
- Mold, mildew and fungi growth
- Irritate asthma and allergy conditions
- Feel soggy and sweaty
- Feeling soggy and sweaty leads to turning the air down, higher energy bills.
- Condensation on walls, furniture and windows
Drawbacks of Low Humidity Levels
-Breeding ground for viruses in the air.
- Chapped lips, dry skin, rashes
- Feeling colder than you are
- Feeling colder leads to turning up the heat, higher energy bills.
- Damage wood furniture or floors to crack.
How to Control Humidity?
The best method for keeping ideal home humidity is by using humidifiers/dehumidifiers. These systems are packaged along with air conditioning appliances, but also sold as separate appliances.
Exhaust fans circulate air throughout the indoor space. This constant recycling of air prevents humidity buildup in the room due to humidity sources such as hot showers, cooking, and other such activities.
Today, with smart AC Controllers, most air conditioners can provide controls for humidity levels. Smart AC controllers, enable you to set up a humidity level that you want to achieve.
Smart AC controllers are now being introduced in the market which can automatically monitor and maintain humidity levels without the need for constant intervention. These controllers can then be controlled through mobile apps or paired up with other smart home devices.