What Is the Best Indoor Humidity?
You’re already familiar with humidity. When the simple act of breathing makes the inside of your nose sting, the humidity is too low. And when you can’t sit indoors without likening the experience to the final moments of a soon-to-be lobster dinner, the humidity is too high!
Maintaining the right humidity level inside your home or workplace isn’t just important for your comfort, however. Too much or too little humidity can also damage your property – and even pose certain health risks. That’s why we’re going to briefly explain what your indoor humidity level should be, what can happen if it falls short of ideal, and how you can control it.
What Is the Best Indoor Humidity?
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping your home’s relative humidity between 30 and 60% – or 30 and 50%, ideally. They specifically advise keeping the humidity within this range to reduce the growth of mold, which begins thriving at humidity levels in excess of 55%.
You are at liberty to pick the humidity level you prefer within the EPA’s recommended range. The humidity you will favor depends on many factors including the clothing you wear, the intensity of your regular physical activity, and even your own body’s physiology.
Measuring your home’s humidity is easy with the aid of a hygrometer. A reliable digital one can cost less than $10!
What Can Happen When a Room’s Humidity Is Too High?
We just touched on one of the worst aspects of high humidity. Black mold doesn’t just look hideous – the common, sootlike fungus releases spores that can cause a variety of health effects including stuffy nose and eye irritation. Those who suffer from chronic respiratory disease may even experience difficulty breathing in rooms with abundant black mold.
Excessive humidity can also damage your home by swelling its wood, peeling its paint, and causing condensation to form on its windows. To make matters worse, that condensation can accumulate to exacerbate a mold problem!
What Can Happen When a Room’s Humidity Is Too Low?
At best, low humidity will produce the kind of static electricity that gives you a little zap when you touch a door handle. It becomes decidedly less cute when low humidity makes your hair too dry or the skin around your nails begins to peel away. At worst low humidity may increase your susceptibility to respiratory illnesses including influenza.
Low humidity also makes the wood contract. Your home’s door frames, window frames, flooring, and even its furniture may all crack or warp if the wood they are made from shrinks too much in response to low humidity.
How Can You Control Indoor Humidity?
The old-timers used to put big pots of water on top of their woodstoves when their homes felt too dry in the wintertime. It is highly unlikely you’ve got a potbelly in your living room, but that’s okay – there are other ways to control your home’s humidity at your disposal.
You may try several low-tech solutions to achieve ideal indoor humidity. If your humidity is too high, consider covering pots and using your oven range’s exhaust fan while you are cooking, taking colder showers, or removing potted plants from your home. If it is too low, you may begin air drying your laundry indoors, leaving the tub full after you have finished taking a bath, or even placing a bowl of water in front of a space heater – the modern-day equivalent of the old-timers’ woodstove trick.
The simplest solutions for low and high humidity are humidifiers and dehumidifiers, respectively. A portable plug-in device may prove a cost-effective approach to controlling humidity in one room or a single floor. But when you want a single device to control the humidity level throughout your entire home or workplace, you may need to integrate a humidifier or dehumidifier into its HVAC system.
As the greater Sioux Falls area’s leading authority on heating and cooling, PrairieSons is equally well positioned to ensure your home or workplace benefits from the ideal humidity level all year round. We are standing by to help keep your property safer and your health better – please give us a call today!