Many factors can affect indoor air quality, and not all of them are noticeable. Those with allergies or asthma will certainly feel allergens and contaminants in the air, but what about for everyone else?
The humidity level is undoubtedly the most noticeable symptom of poor indoor air quality because it tends to affect everyone equally. When the humidity is under control, the indoor air quality will also be under better control. This post will explain how controlling humidity can improve indoor air quality in general.
The relative humidity ratio is a measurement of the current humidity level to the highest, most absolute humidity. 100% would indicate the air is completely saturated with moisture, to the point that rain is a possibility. For the purposes of comfort and the indoors, however, the numbers to pay attention to are 30% and 50%.
Anything below 30% is too dry, and anything above 50% is too moist. 45% is often cited as the ideal comfort level, and it can be achieved by humidifiers or dehumidifiers. However, it should first be understood why balancing humidity is about more than just comfort.
Dry air makes skin crack and throats sore, but it can have a more profound effect on the body and on household furniture.
The respiratory system is lined with moist membranes; their purpose is to capture contaminants before they reach the lungs. When the air is too dry, the membranes lose their ability to function, which can lead to the increased possibility of illness.
As for the home, dry air will remove the moisture from wood. In severe cases, it can cause wood floors, doors, walls, and musical instruments to crack. A surprising consequence is it can warp the doors enough to create gaps, which will allow cold or hot air into the home, thus reducing AC and heater efficiency.
As for high humidity, both health and home can be affected.
Contaminants in the air, such as dust mites and other allergens, survive best in humidity environments. It’s also easier for them to be transported through moisture in the air, thus increasing the risk of illness—especially for those who already suffer from allergies.
As for the home, damp air creates condensation, which can take a toll on walls. Just as a bathroom without an exhaust fan can develop mold above the shower, a house full of high humidity can also encourage the growth of mold in corners or basements.
Similar to low humidity, high humidity also has a knack for damaging wood. Too much moisture will cause the wood to warp and swell, sometimes as much as two inches. In extreme cases, it can crack.
Whole-house dehumidifiers and humidifiers are great solutions for balancing humidity, and they should be available from any HVAC company in Westchester, NY. Although portable devices exist for both, these devices can develop mold or cause a greater inconvenience if not handled properly. Whole-house options are seamlessly integrated into the current HVAC system.
Get humidity under control today. Contact Yost & Campbell Heating, Cooling & Generators, a company that has been trusted for over 75 years.