How Humidity Can Affect Your Tenants’ Health and Body
While the summer humidity in the Delaware and Pennsylvania area can get a little oppressive at times, it’s not always obvious just how much it can affect the human body. If excess moisture lingers in your building’s air for too long, your tenants face potentially serious health threats.
Spotting a High Humidity Problem
The ideal humidity level for a residential building ranges between 30 and 50 percent. When the indoor humidity rises above 50 percent, problems can occur both for the building itself and for its occupants. You might notice issues such as:
- Musty odors
- Patches of mold on the ceilings and walls
- Peeling wallpaper or bubbling paint
- Condensation frequently appearing on the windows
By the time the problem reaches this level, it’s likely your tenants will have already experienced some adverse health effects.
Irritated Airways and Aching Joints
Many people with asthma find excessively humid air worsens their symptoms and can even trigger asthma attacks. People with COPD and other respiratory conditions also experience worsened symptoms in humid air.
To add to the problem, moist air encourages the growth of bacteria, mold, dust mites, and cockroaches. The bacteria pneumococcus, streptococcus, and staphylococcus survive for longer in moist air and die more rapidly when the humidity is around 50 percent.
Mold produces tiny airborne spores that can exacerbate allergies, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. In addition, those allergic to mold can develop skin rashes. Even people with no other health issues are more likely to develop upper respiratory infections when mold is present. Keep in mind that you may have a legal responsibility to inform tenants of mold presence and to make an effort to remove the mold.
Dust mites live in soft materials such as bedding, upholstery, and carpeting. They can be breathed in while sitting or sleeping on furniture that hosts them. These mites also worsen allergies and asthma. Cockroaches leave droppings and dead insect parts that become airborne and are known asthma triggers.
If you’ve had tenants complain of poor indoor air quality or breathing problems they experience only while in the building, high humidity could be at the root of the problem.
Some people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis find they experience flare-ups related to damp conditions, particularly in cooler weather. That means increased pain and stiffness that can make everyday tasks difficult.
Listlessness and Headaches
Even more common than respiratory issues is the lethargy caused by excessively humid air. Your body cools itself by sweating. As sweat dries on your skin, it creates an evaporative cooling effect. When the air is already full of moisture, sweat evaporates more slowly. In attempt to compensate, your body produces more sweat, which burns your energy, but does little to cool you.
You end up feeling hot, sticky, and tired. Heavy sweating also exacerbates dehydration, further draining your energy and setting you up for poor concentration and headaches.
Next, your blood vessels dilate to allow more blood to flow toward the relatively cool surface of your skin where it can get rid of excess heat. This directs blood flow from your muscles, leaving you feeling weak.
If this situation goes on for long, your tenants can be left with an overall feeling of fatigue and malaise that they’ll eventually associate with the building.
If your building does have a moisture problem, solving it quickly will protect your property from damage and keep your tenants healthy and happy. An HVAC technician can help you find an effective way to control humidity, such as improving the ventilation or installing a dehumidifier.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on managing the humidity in your building and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!