Keeping your home’s humidity levels consistent can significantly improve the health and comfort of your home. In general, when it comes to feeling comfortable in your home nothing affects a body’s perception of comfort more than the humidity level.
Industry experts report that keeping your home’s humidity between 30-60% can reduce the effects of many unwanted conditions. Too much humidity or too little humidity can not only lead to an unhealthy home, but also cause permanent damage to your home and belongings.
When There is Too Little Humidity the Following Occurs:
- You begin to experience chronic physical symptoms such as sore throats, dry/itchy skin, nose bleeds, or sinus irritation.
- Your home’s wood floors begin to shrink and crack, and the joints in the wood furniture become loose or fail.
- The wallpaper peels, while your paint or plaster starts to crack.
- Annoying and painful static shocks begin to occur.
- You still feel cold even though your thermostat is cranked up, and so is your energy bill.
- Your piano and other musical instruments begin to fall out of tune.
When There is Too Much Humidity…
- Your skin feels clammy, sweaty, or sticky.
- Musty smelling odors begin to invade your living space.
- Wood floors, trim, or wood furniture warps or rots; and paint peels.
- Condensation, frost, or ice form on the inside surface of your windows; and water pipes sweat.
- Damp spots, mold, and mildew form on ceilings or walls.
- Your allergies or asthma get worse due to the mold, mildew, and dust mites.
- Your house becomes a breeding ground for termites, cockroaches, and other pests.
What You Can Do:
- Use ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms. Make sure that your fans are venting directly outside.
- Cover dirt floor crawlspaces under your house with plastic. This acts as a vapor barrier.
- Also make sure your dryer is vented to the outside. Don’t dry wet clothes on drying racks in the house. If possible air dry them outdoors.
- Ensure air conditioning drip pans are clean, and drain lines are unobstructed.
- Fix any water leaks in pipes, toilets, showers, etc.
Indoor air quality is becoming an increasing health concern, which is why quality air purifiers have never been more important for good health. Those tight seals that allow your home to feel comfortable and energy-efficient also make the indoor air in your home polluted. Pollutant levels of airborne particles, gases, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds are higher in the home than they are outside. Did you know that the air inside your home is five to ten times dirtier than the air outside, given that Americans spend about ninety percent of the time indoors?
The most common indoor air pollutant is air mold. It exists wherever moisture and oxygen are present. Inside your home, molds can likely be found in damp basements, closets, bathrooms, air conditioning systems, humidifiers, or any humid place. Poor indoor air quality affects people in different degrees. It all depends on an individual’s age and relative health, but there are different ways of protecting yourself and your loved ones against indoor air pollutants. Some ways to improve indoor air quality include:
- Attempt to control the source of the pollutant. If the pollutant is coming from indoor air mold, smoke, or some type of chemical, you can remove it by having a thorough cleansing of your home. Keeping in mind that some indoor air pollutants such as dust or pollen are not so easily eliminated.
- Improve the ventilation in your home. You can accomplish this by allowing fresh air into your home through windows. However, opening a window on a high pollen-count day or in a smoggy city will probably worsen the air situation in your home.
- Purchase an air purifier. There are numerous types of air purifiers on the market so be sure to buy one that is well suited for the dimension of your home.
Air purifiers are designed to clean and purify the air people breathe, by reducing odors and airborne pollutants that contribute to poor air quality, and filter common allergens such as pollen, mold and dust. Tips on choosing an air purifier include:
- Area Coverage – Make sure the square footage recommended for the air purifier is close to or slightly greater than the square footage of the room where you intend to use it.
- Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) – This number informs us how frequently the air purifier can exchange all the air in a given room in an hour.
- Filter Replacements – Filters have to be replaced on many types of air purifiers. Be sure to find out the cost of the filters and how often they must be changed.
- Noise Level – Some air purifiers are very quiet, while others can be quite loud. Make sure to have a trial demonstration of the unit before purchasing it.
- Energy Usage – Because air purifiers operate on energy and run continuously, the amount of energy they consume will be reflected on your energy bill.