There are many different factors that can affect the overall humidity in your home. Generally speaking, in non-winter months the humidity should ideally be around 40-50% to stay comfortable and avoid issues like condensation or mold and mildew growth.
During the winter if you live in a cold climate air tends to dry more, and depending on outside temperature you may have to settle for something under 40% to avoid getting condensation on the windows…which you definitely want to avoid if at all possible.
That being said, keeping to those numbers is much easier said than done.
Many people have struggled with high humidity in the home, and it’s not hard to know when there’s an issue.
The air is hot and sticky, everyone is uncomfortable, and if left unchecked this is a problem that can eventually lead to some serious health issues as well. The first step to stopping this is learning why your home might be humid.
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Why Is the House so Humid?
There are several potential causes of moisture in the home, and several actions that can be taken to help lessen the impact. Let’s see some reason why your house is humid:
One basic reason right off the bat is the season. If there’s a lot of rain combined with a lot of heat, then the setting is perfect for more moisture.
There’s a reason this tends to be a much bigger problem in the summer than the winter. However, seasonal changes in and of themselves only set the stage for these problems. Normally they’re not the only, or even the main, cause.
Appliances, Activities and People
There are many appliances that can create humidity since they produce moisture that can’t escape. Since most of us seal up the house and run the AC during the summer, this can lead to a lot of trapped moisture.
Long hot showers, the steam from coffee makers, steam from dishwashers, boiling water and cooking, all of these are little ways that water or moisture can hit the air and end up adding up over time.
Old AC Units
If the air conditioning unit is an old one that isn’t efficient or is malfunctioning, that is another common cause of humidity in the home. The AC is great to remove humidity from the air but if its not working properly then humidity builds up in the environment.
In fact, if there are many people living in the house (especially in relatively small square footage area) then things like sweat and breathing can be enough to rise the humidity level over time. Add in multiple hot showers and anyone who works out to keep in shape and that just ramps up the challenge.
Humidity Can Cause Serious Problems
Frequent high humidity can cause some serious problems, some direct and some indirect. Among the direct problems first there’s the discomfort.
Humidity isn’t anyone’s friend, and no one likes to be uncomfortable in their own home. This can affect your ability to study, concentrate, relax, or even sleep. All of which can build up and add up over time to mean serious consequences.
In addition to this, humid areas encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Both of these are not only unpleasant but they have been proven to cause health issues like allergies, sickness, and asthma.
In other words, a whole host of serious health problems. They’re unpleasant at the very least and can lead to much more serious issues in people and pets of all ages.
This isn’t just restricted to the very young, very old, or people with weaker immune systems. The wrong concentration of mold and mildew can affect everyone.
In addition to the above, high humidity can cause constant dehydration. This might seem counter-intuitive at first, but higher humidity means it is harder to stay cool.
That means more sweat because the body is trying to compensate. This can lead to struggles with dehydration, which will further exacerbate any dry skin issues and the health problems that come along with that.
Toss in the fact that it will be much harder to sleep and that humid environments promote allergies and you can quickly see how all the problems add up.
The good news is that you don’t have to be held hostage by high humidity.
Ways to Reduce High Humidity in the Home
There are multiple ways to deal with high humidity in the home. A de-humidifier is built for just that, although as many people note the effectiveness can vary from model to model quite a bit and in older larger houses this can be a difficult fix.
Another option is to have an HVAC specialist come in and check on your air conditioning unit. There’s a chance your AC is either not working at full capacity, could use a replacement part or two, or might need maintenance.
Sometimes a small bit of maintenance (e.g refilling the freon or refrigerant in the AC) or repair can make a difference while at other times you might be looking at needing a replacement in order to get all the excess humidity out of the air. However if this is the case, then you definitely want to know and get that taken care of.
Running a fully functioning air conditioner is a great way to reduce humidity, and on the nights where it is actually cool and breezy with low humidity, open up the windows and let some air flow through the home. Ideally you’ll want to put fans around the house to create that moving breeze effect so as many rooms as possible get fresh air as well as the ability to move moisture out of the house itself.
Close the windows in the morning and get the AC back on before things get really humid, but even the occasional bit of fresh air can make a difference. At the end of the day, however, the best thing to fight humidity is to have a fully up to date and properly working air conditioner system.
As you can see, humidity can be a major problem but there are several ways to deal with it. By understanding the root of the problem and taking a few basic steps you have the ability to protect your house, and those who live in it, from the problems that high humidity can bring with it.