Understanding How Humidity Affects Your Home
Have you felt like your thermostat is not accurate no matter how much you adjust it? Does the cold just seem colder and the heat seem hotter in your house? Or maybe you’ve been sneezing a lot lately and been getting a lot of throat and lung irritation and felt like the air in your house is dry. The answers to all of these questions may be humidity.
How does humidity affect your home? Humidity is the level of moisture in the air and can have a diverse effect on you and your home from temperature, air quality, allergies, and more.
Keep reading to find out about the different effects humidity has on you and your home and what you can do to prevent humidity from causing damage to you or your home in the future.
Heating and cooling the home may seem simple given that those are two things we must do with our home every year continually. The furnace is used to heat your home during cold weather, and when the sun is bright and it is warm outside, the air conditioning cools your home. But many things go into the overall comfort of your home, and one of these is humidity.
Humidity can make a warm house feel even warmer or a cold house feel even colder. It can even make your thermostat feel off by a few degrees.
How Humidity Affects Heating
Usually in the winter, people are fighting a battle between being comfortable in their homes and the cost of keeping the furnace on all winter. As you might have guessed, humidity has a part to play in this battle as well. As temperatures drop outdoors, humidity levels also drop. Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air and heating the air does not add any moisture to it.
This leads to the home in winter feeling many times dry as you raise the temperature. But without moisture in the air, you can raise the temperature into the 70s and still not feel warm. Moisture allows for that heat to stay in the air and warm you up and without it, you could still feel cold although your thermostat is cranked high.
How Humidity Affects Cooling
Winter is not the only time humidity plays a key role. During hot humid summers, many people scurry indoors for a restful retreat in the refreshing air conditioning. This same hot humid air can be a challenge to cool. If the humidity is too high within your home, you will feel like it is still hot even if the air conditioner is working. The AC condenser will need to run more often to get rid of the excess moisture and even then, it may not be enough to cool down your home.
Balanced humidity within your home is also the key to good air quality. If the air is too dry, there is nothing to stop dust from being blown up into the air. In dry air, more dust tends to generate as well. Low humidity also causes throat and lung irritation.
However, if the humidity is too high, moisture in the air will collect in hard-to-reach places like cracks or joints and will grow mold or mildew which can also contribute to poor air quality. This growth can also trigger allergies and cause illness. Mold has even been linked to asthma. Asthma is a common condition causes breathing difficulties. Humidity can even cause carpet mold, an issue you certainly don’t want to mess with!
If the mold is growing on wood or drywall it will cause damage to the home that will need to be repaired. Even if there is no visible mold, high humidity will contribute to hidden mold and rot that will ultimately damage your home. You may need to consult with your Broken Arrow insurance agent if humidity has caused damage to your home.
Improving Low Humidity Levels
Here are a few quick and easy ways to increase the humidity in your home if your air is too dry.
- Washing clothes. By air drying your clothes indoors on a clothes rack instead of a traditional dryer, you can have that extra moisture from the clothes released into your home.
- Taking a bath. If you take baths, leave the water in the bathtub as it cools. Some of the bathwater will evaporate, adding humidity to the air.
- Steam clothes instead of ironing them. By steaming the clothes, you add some extra moisture to the air that could be much needed.
- Boil water on the stove or cook without lids. If you make it a habit to cook without lids the small amount of humidity added each time will build up over time and really make a difference.
- Add a couple of house plants. Houseplants are not only beautiful but also an incredibly effective way to increase the humidity in your home. Houseplants serve as natural humidifiers, absorbing moisture through their roots and circulating it through the plant. Moisture is then released into the air of your home through the plant’s leaves.
- Open the dishwasher. Not only do dishwashers use plenty of water to wash your dishes, but they also use a significant amount of energy in the drying cycle. Here’s a handy tip for saving some money while humidifying your home! Before the drying cycle is complete, open the dishwasher door. Allow the dishes to air dry as a significant amount of hot steam escapes when you open the door. Doing so will help add humidity to the air.
- Indoor fountain. An indoor fountain is a quintessential piece that will bring the whole atmosphere of your room together. Not only will it be pleasing aesthetically, but it will provide calm, soothing white noise that will help you relax and focus. Indoor fountains come in many sizes and design aesthetics. This should make it simple to find a fountain that suits your style. By placing a fountain in a room that needs to be humidified, you will allow some of the water to evaporate into the air.
What is the Right Humidity Level for Your Home
Controlling High Humidity Levels
If the humidity in your home is too high, here are a few ways to control that humidity and bring balance back to the moisture in your home.
- Bathroom fan. You can install a bathroom fan that helps to improve the circulation of damp warm air that is found in the bathroom.
- Rangehood. You can install a range hood. This is a fan that is situated above the oven or cooktop that helps to extract steam and heat from the air as you cook.
- Washing line. If you dry your clothes on a line outdoors you will minimize the amount of moisture that is brought into your home.
- Air conditioning. Air conditioning is a simple but not entirely cost-effective solution.
- Replacing air conditioning filters. Make sure to replace existing air conditioning filters to improve the circulation of fresh air in your home.
- Opening windows. It is important to have good ventilation in your home. Although it may be challenging in the winter, opening a few windows will allow fresh, dry air to enter home, improving air circulation.
Take cool showers. Hot showers make for humid air. Cut down on the humidity by taking cooler showers.
- Fix any leaking pipes. The last thing you want to do is add more moisture to your home right now.
- Keep your gutters clean. Clogged gutters cause water leaks and we are trying to avoid that if at all possible.
- Move your house plants. Just as they are great for adding moisture when you need to increase your humidity levels, you can move them outdoors for a while if your humidity levels are too high. House plants do release a fair share of moisture so by placing them outdoors you can save yourself that amount of humidity.
- Dehumidifier. If none of these other tricks work, you can always get a dehumidifier. It is definitely among the most effective methods of controlling indoor humidity. The best is to have a professional installation of a whole-home dehumidifier. This will pull the moisture from the air before it is pushed through the air ducts in the home in conjunction with the efforts of the HVAC system. You can even pair a dehumidifier with the air conditioner which allows homeowners to adjust both the degree of cold air and the level of humidity in their home in one go. When humidity is kept in check then the cooling systems can effectively cool the home and keep the cost of utilities low as an added perk.
As you can see, humidity can have an incredible impact on your home – both when there is too much humidity and too little. With these easy tips, you can control the level of humidity in your home. This will allow you to eliminate unnecessary damage to your home while remaining comfortable throughout the year.
You can find more home tips from experts here!