Moderation isn’t always a good thing. If you train for a marathon but never run more than five miles at a time, how can you expect to run 26+? If you strive for C’s’ in school and study just enough to achieve your goal, have you succeeded – especially if you’re capable of more? The point is, that sometimes you need to push yourself to the limits. But then there’s indoor humidity, where too much or too little is of no practical value. Worse, extreme humidity levels can cause all sorts of problems.
The Sweet Spot – The ideal level of indoor humidity is between 30 and 50 percent. When humidity sinks below 30%, you’re prone to incur sinus issues, dry skin, frizzy hair, static electricity, and more.
Extremely low levels of humidity can cause wallpaper to peel and wood furniture to warp or crack. On the flip side, when the relative humidity rises above 50%, you might start to notice black mold spots along with condensation on toilet tanks and windows. You won’t sleep as well, you’ll use more electricity to run your AC system, and your allergy and asthma symptoms can worsen – and we’re just scratching the surface.
How to Reduce Indoor Humidity• Use an indoor humidity gauge to test moisture levels. Since levels can vary from room to room, consider using multiple gauges to get the overall picture. For example, your basement might be more humid than your main living area. • Update an aging central AC system. Part of an air conditioner’s job is to remove excess moisture from the air, making your home not just cooler, but more comfortable. If your central AC system is at least 12 years old and not keeping you as cool as it once did, it might be time to replace it. • Use a room dehumidifier to remove excess moisture in areas where the problem is localized. If your entire home feels too humid, consider installing a whole-house dehumidifier to remove moisture as the air cycles through the main vent system. • Install a bathroom exhaust fan and run it during and for at least 10 minutes after a bath or shower. Make sure it’s sized for the room and vented properly.
How to Increase Indoor Humidity
- Instead of using the drying feature, open the dishwasher after a cycle to allow steam to fill the air.
- Air-dry laundry on an indoor line instead of tossing it in the dryer. You’ll save a few bucks off your utility bill, too.
- Keep a spray bottle of clean water nearby and lightly spray the air every hour or so. Avoid spraying rugs, furniture, or other surfaces – all you need is a fine mist in the air.
- Add houseplants that are known for releasing moisture into the air through their leaves, like a Boston fern, spider plant, or peace lily.
- Use a humidifier in excessively dry rooms, especially if a family member suffers from skin irritations or dry nasal passages.
- Consider adding a whole-house humidifier if your entire home is prone to dry air, which frequently happens with forced-air heating systems.
The air quality specialists at Bob Boldt HVAC can help solve any air quality issues you might be facing, including too much or too little humidity. For more information and a no-obligation proposal, contact us today.