Why is indoor humidity important?
The relative humidity levels in your home is key to create a comfortable living environment. It also has a big impact on the air quality in your home. It can play a crucial role for those suffering from asthma and allergies. Exceptionally high or low humidity levels will not only affect your property and the furniture inside but will also impact your health. You can easily measure the humidity levels in your home with a hygrometer. They are cheap and easy to buy from your local hardware store.
What is the ideal indoor humidity level?
It is recommended to keep your relative humidity level between 40-60%. This is to protect your property, as well as your health. Relative humidity levels refers to amount of water in the air in relation to the maximum amount that it can hold. Warmer air can hold more water than cold air. This means that the summer months tend to be more humid than winter months. We are going to look at the effects of humidity levels and how you can reduce the humidity levels in your home.
What are the effects of high humidity levels?
Damp & Mould
Damp and mould can become a serious problem if humidity levels are consistently high. Not only can this be dangerous for your health but can also cause permanent damage to your property. Mould develops when the humidity level is 70% or higher for extended periods of time. Moulds produce allergens and irritants that can cause an allergic reaction which may involve rashes, sneezing and red eyes. It could also cause asthma attacks so it best to avoid contact with mould spores.
Dehydration & Heat Exhaustion
In warmer weather high humidity levels mean that it is more difficult for your sweat to evaporate. This will make it more difficult for your body to cool down which can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. High humidity also causes excessive sweating which can lead to dehydration.
Dust mites thrive in humid conditions. They also love warmer temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius. They are commonly found living in soft furniture such as sofas, carpets and bedding. Dust mites can worsen allergy symptoms and can cause asthma attacks.
Rotting Floors & furniture
Excess moisture in your home can cause permanent damage to hardwood floors and wooden furnishings. This is especially when the issue of excess moisture continues for an extended period of time. It will cause wooden furniture to slowly decay if not dealt with.
Eczema & Asthma
Elevated humidity levels can worsen allergy and asthma symptoms by increasing the amount of airborne irritants in your home. Your skin can also become irritated and develop a red itchy rash in high humidity conditions.
What are the effects of low humidity levels?
Dry Skin & Throat Irritation
Low humidity levels causes you to loose more water vapour through the pores on your skin. This can cause dry skin, chapped lips and a dry itchy throat.
Dry air makes it much easier for airborne viruses to spread. Relative humidity above 40% reduces the risk of infection by reducing the amount of microbes in the air.
How can you reduce indoor humidity levels?
Install air conditioning
Air conditioners are great for reducing indoor humidity levels and improving indoor air quality. Air conditioners remove humidity by condensation. The evaporator coil condenses water vapour from the air. This happens when warm moist air comes into contact with the cold evaporator coil. The water is removed from the air, reducing the level of humidity in your home.
Invest in a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers work by pulling warm air through it’s coils. The water in the air condenses at this point and drips into the water tank, leaving the air drier. These could be especially useful if you dry your laundry indoors, to remove the excess moisture in the air.
Ensure proper ventilation
Make sure that your property is well ventilated to minimise humidity levels. Opening windows are one of the best ways to circulate fresh air into your home and keeping it ventilated. In addition, it is good practice to use extractor fans in the bathroom and kitchen when showering or cooking.
Use Heating Consistently
Use radiators during the colder months of the year to heat up your home. This will keep surfaces warm and would therefore reduce condensation in places such as windows. It will also help dry out the air and reduce humidity levels.