There’s no definitive answer to the question of the perfect humidity levels. At the same time, you can find the right range for YOUR personal preferences with a little effort. For context, humidity refers to the water vapor present in the air, responsible for that muggy feeling you notice in humid conditions. Humidity levels are expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at a given temperature.
Relative Humidity – Finding Your Idea of Perfect
Because of this maximum amount, relative humidity is important when determining an environment’s levels. Relative humidity affects the amount of moisture in the air and can cause water to condense when it reaches over 100%. This effect is why you see dew on humid mornings!
In general, most homes have an internal humidity range of 40–50% during the summer months. Maintaining this range can help keep the air inside your home comfortable while also reducing the risk of mold and other issues. Don’t forget that the “ideal” number may vary depending on personal preference. Some people may feel more comfortable with slightly higher or lower humidity levels, making an acceptable range useful for larger families.
Air conditioning is often the gold standard for keeping indoor humidity in check; in fact, a key part of how air conditioning works is by evaporating moisture from the air. Less moisture means lower humidity, which means conditions are more comfortable.
Ultimately, the humidity level of a home is crucial to maintaining a comfortable and healthy environment, as high humidity levels can lead to several health issues. Installing a quality air conditioner has benefits beyond the cool feeling you get.
Effects of High Humidity Levels on Your Home and Health
When humidity levels at home are too high (which is often the case in spaces like the basement), the best way to lower them is with a dehumidifier. These appliances remove excess moisture from the air, creating a more comfortable and healthier living environment.
A dehumidifier works by condensing humidity into liquid moisture, which can then be pulled from the air. Basements aren’t the only place inside your home where humidity can be an issue, especially in southern climates or along shoreline property. That is why Simons Heating & Cooling suggests that you consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier.
There are several health benefits associated with using a dehumidifier to reduce humidity in your home. Some of those benefits include:
- less dust, mold and other allergens in the air
- reduced symptoms of asthma
Additionally, maintaining balanced humidity levels in your home can help reduce the risk of certain respiratory infections such as pneumonia, by avoiding the humid conditions that encourage them.
Ways to Reduce Humidity in Your Home
Whether you live in Upstate New York or a tropical climate, there are a few simple ways to keep the humidity of your home in check:
- Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to vent excess moisture outside. Running these fans while cooking or bathing will have the most impact.
- In dry climates, keep windows open during the day to allow fresh air to circulate.
- Use a whole-house dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from indoor air.
- Look for houseplants with high water needs and air purifying qualities such as ferns. They’ll gladly use any extra moisture during their growing season.
- Upgrade older AC units, as inefficient equipment allows more humidity into the HVAC system.
- Check for and fix any leaks in the home’s insulation or walls that could be allowing outdoor humidity inside.
- Use a hygrometer to monitor your home’s humidity level before making adjustments accordingly.
Have any more questions about checking and balancing home humidity levels? The air quality experts at Simons Heating & Cooling are ready to assist. Contact us by phone at (518) 839-2602 for a complimentary indoor air quality assessment.