Maintaining the humidity level inside your home is important for both your overall comfort and the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems. The summers in southern Ontario tend to be humid, which means your air conditioning system will need to work harder to remove the excess moisture from the air. Conversely, the dry, cold winter weather means that most homes tend to have extremely low humidity levels during the winter months. This problem made worse by running your furnace since it sucks the humidity out of the air.
If you’re like most people, you understand the effects of high or low humidity and yet aren’t sure what the ideal humidity level inside your home should be. Here is everything you need to know about indoor humidity levels and what methods you can take to keep the humidity level inside your home where it needs to be.
Understanding Relative Humidity
A relative humidity level of 100% means that the air is fully saturated with water vapor, whereas 0% humidity obviously means there is no water vapor in the air. It is important to understand that humidity levels are relative to temperature as hotter air can hold much more water vapor than colder air. This means that even if the humidity level remains at 50%, there will still be much more moisture in the air at 30 degrees Celsius than there will if the temperature is 0 degrees.
Finding the Ideal Humidity Level
Most experts agree that the ideal indoor humidity level is somewhere around 45% to 50% as this helps to avoid problems caused by either too much or too little moisture in the air. The easiest way to determine whether your home is humid is to use a hygrometer to measure your indoor humidity level. Most hygrometers are small, inexpensive portable units that allow you to instantly measure the humidity level in any room of your home as needed.
Another option is to upgrade your HVAC system with a smart thermostat as most of these units also have a built-in hygrometer. In fact, even if you’re not concerned about the humidity level inside your home, a smart thermostat is still something everyone should consider since it can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system and reduce your energy costs.
What Happens If the Humidity Level Is Too High or Too Low?
High or low humidity can make the temperature inside the home feel hotter or colder than it really is. As a result, most people end up turning up their heating or air conditioning to compensate for this effect. This means that maintaining the humidity level inside your home is an easy way to ensure you’re not spending more to heat and cool the home than you should be.
The humidity level can also affect your home in many other ways. For instance, if the humidity level rises above 55 to 60%, it can potentially allow mold to begin growing inside the attic, ducts, and etc. This is because high humidity can cause condensation to form, and this can lead to both mold growth and water damage. Dust mites, cockroaches, and other pests also thrive in humid conditions. As with mold, this can potentially damage your home and decrease your indoor air quality. It also feels more difficult to breathe when the humidity is too high, and this can create issues for anyone with asthma, COPD, or other respiratory ailments.
Low humidity levels can also create issues for both your home and your health. Too little humidity can cause wood and furniture to begin to warp, crack or split. Excessively dry air can also cause a buildup of static electricity inside the home. In terms of health, low humidity can cause or worsen respiratory problems and dry out your sinuses. Other issues with low humidity include dry, runny eyes, itchy skin, and chapped lips.
Solutions for Maintaining Your Home’s Humidity Level
High humidity is usually worse than low humidity. Still, if you find that the air inside your home is too moist or too dry, there are several options that can help. One of the easiest things you can do to prevent the humidity level inside your home from rising too high is to make sure that you keep your windows and doors closed tightly during any more humid times of the year. You should also keep your AC turned on whenever the weather is more humid as this will help to remove the moisture from inside the home. If you live in a newer home, you may also want to consider a mechanical ventilation system as this will ensure you have a steady supply of fresh air without bringing all that moisture in from outside.
While these methods can be effective, the best option for dealing with an overly dry or humid home is to install a whole-home humidifier or dehumidifier. Portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers can also work, but you would really need one unit in every room of the home to have any major impact on the overall humidity level in the entire building.
Whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers work alongside your existing HVAC system to remove or add moisture to the air before it circulates through your ductwork. These whole-home units not only require much less maintenance than portable units but are also far more energy-efficient. In fact, studies have shown that they can reduce your energy usage by improving the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.
Most whole-home units are inexpensive and easy to install, which allows you to manage your home’s humidity without any huge upfront costs. Whole-home dehumidifiers are also one of the easiest ways to improve the indoor air quality inside your house.
Expert HVAC and Indoor Air Quality Solutions
At Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning, we have been providing professional HVAC services to customers in Cobourg and Northumberland County for more than 15 years. If you’re concerned that the air inside your home is too dry or too humid, we can measure the humidity level and determine the best solution to overcome your issues. We also specialize in a range of other indoor air quality solutions including whole-home air purifiers and UV light systems.
Our expert HVAC technicians also specialize in all types of heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repairs, and we are available 24/7 for any emergency repair needs. We service all makes and models of heating and cooling equipment including furnaces, air conditioners, ductless mini-splits, and heat pumps, and we also work on water heaters and fireplaces. We offer free estimates for new equipment and financing is available on approved credit. We strive to keep our customers happy, which is why we always provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all work we perform. To learn more about whole-home humidifiers and dehumidifiers or any of our other services, give Comfort Zone Heating & Air Conditioning a call today.