Managing the humidity level in your home is an under-discussed facet of maintaining good indoor air quality. When the humidity in your home is either too high or too low, it can degrade the quality of your air, leading to damage to your home and your belongings as well as negative health effects for you and your family.
Humidity control through the use of a humidifier or dehumidifier helps balance your home’s humidity levels for better indoor air quality.
Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Relative humidity is the percentage of water vapor in the air at a given temperature compared with the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at that temperature. When we talk about indoor humidity levels, we are using a measure of relative humidity.
Ideally, humidity levels in your home should be between 40 and 60%. This is the sweet spot for comfort level as well as for healthy indoor air quality. Outside of this range, your home will feel less comfortable and you will begin to notice the effects of poor indoor air quality on your health.
How Does Humidity Affect Air Quality?
Humidity levels affect how warm or cool your home feels. In the winter, when the air dries out due to drier outdoor air and running your heating system, low humidity can make your home feel colder, even when your thermostat is set at an otherwise comfortable temperature. The higher the moisture content in the air, the warmer your home will feel.
Additionally, bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory illnesses thrive in environments with significantly high or low humidity levels. High humidity can also increase the prevalence of mold, dust mites, and other allergens in your home. These things can have a significant impact on your home’s air quality and your family’s health and wellbeing.
Health Effects of Low and High Humidity
Both extremely low and extremely high indoor humidity can negatively affect your health.
When your home’s humidity levels are balanced, moisture in the air weighs down particles of bacteria, viruses, and other pollutants, causing them to fall. But when humidity in your home is low, the drier air allows these particles to move more freely throughout your space. The less moisture there is in the air, the more freely the particles can circulate.
Low humidity can cause:
- Dry skin, rashes, and infections
- Chapped lips
- Itchy eyes and nose
- Dry sinuses and throat
- Dry cough
- Worsened asthma symptoms
- and more
In addition, dry mucous membranes in the sinuses can make it more difficult for your body to fight off the germs that cause colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses. Improving your indoor air quality by balancing your home’s humidity levels can help control the spread of infectious diseases.
On the other end of the spectrum, high indoor humidity can also cause negative health issues, such as:
- Growth of mold and mildew
- Increased prevalence of dust mites
- Sinus stuffiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation
- Aggravated asthma symptoms
In addition, high humidity can make warm temperatures feel even warmer, leading to heat-related illnesses like heat rash, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke.
Benefits of Home Humidity Control
Luckily, the majority of adverse health effects caused by extreme levels of humidity can be minimized through humidity control. When your home’s humidity levels are kept within the ideal range, you will experience:
- Healthier skin
- A more comfortable sleeping environment
- Reduction in dry, scratchy throat, eyes, and sinuses
- Improved asthma symptoms
- Reduced risk of airborne illness transmission
- And many more health and wellness benefits
Controlling the humidity in your home is as simple as installing a humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on your needs.
At Titan, we install Aprilaire whole-house humidifiers and Ultra-Aire whole-house or free-standing dehumidifiers. Installing a whole-house humidifier or dehumidifier benefits you in that it takes care of your entire space, rather than just one room. It is installed directly into your home’s existing HVAC system, where it monitors indoor relative humidity levels and automatically humidifies or dehumidifies your space as needed.
To learn more about the benefits of humidity control, or to have a humidifier or dehumidifier installed in your home, contact the heating and cooling pros at Titan today.