High Humidity Can Affect Your Health and Body. Here’s How
It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity in summertime, right? Humid conditions indoors and out can make us feel clammy and uncomfortable. But inside the home, the effects of high humidity go beyond discomfort by negatively affecting health. Here’s how.
The ideal relative humidity in most homes is between 30 and 45 percent. Exceed that, and you could be creating a haven for mold. Mold, which enters your home and reproduces by means of spores, flourishes under damp conditions. Breathing those spores can aggravate allergies and asthma, leading to rhinitis (coughing, runny eyes, and nose) and bronchitis.
Mold often colonizes around leaking plumbing in the bathroom or kitchen. An improperly ventilated bathroom or range hood may also set up conditions conducive to mold growth, particularly in an airtight home. It can also take up residence inside your air conditioner, so that spores are being distributed in your home’s conditioned air supply.
We’re all horrified by those magnified images of the dust mites that are found almost everywhere in our homes. Dust mites flourish under humid conditions, particularly in carpets, and are a major source of allergies and respiratory problems.
Dealing With Humid Conditions
If you suspect your home is too damp, purchase an inexpensive hygrometer to measure relative humidity. If it’s over 45 percent, take action.
First, check your air filter. A dirty filter can prevent your A/C from dehumidifying your home properly. Also check the evaporator coils in the indoor unit, to make sure they are clean.
Fix all leaking pipes and faucets. Have a leaking roof or ceiling repaired. If you don’t have exhaust ventilation to the outdoors in the bathroom and kitchen, have it installed.
Look into installing a whole-home dehumidifier in your HVAC system. Whole-home dehumidifiers function with the A/C to correct overly humid conditions.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about humidity and other energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.