Correct home humidity levels are not simply a matter of comfort. Real health issues for your family, your home’s value, and HVAC equipment condition are all affected by home humidity.
The amount of moisture—water vapor—in the air is humidity, but that may be less important for your family’s health than relative humidity. Relative humidity is a measure of the actual humidity versus the theoretical maximum water weight the air could contain. Strive to keep your home’s relative humidity in a comfortable range, generally 35 percent to 45 percent.
If your home is too dry, family members may suffer nosebleeds, sinus trouble, headaches and itchy eyes. Too moist a home and you face unpleasant risks:
- Increased insect activity, including dust mites, psocids (booklice), silverfish and grain beetles
- Mold and mildew
- Peeling wallpaper
- Doors that cannot close
- Increased allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, and sickness
Home appliances, HVAC components and any electrical devices can be harmed by high home humidity. The freezer in your refrigerator may not fully defrost and electrical contacts can corrode. Low home humidity increases static electricity, which can fry the circuitry of laptops.
Humidifiers add water vapor to the air, using either portable models or whole house units that are integrated into your house HVAC system. Whole-house humidifiers have several advantages:
- Your home is humidified whenever the HVAC system is on.
- Every room of your home is humidified.
- The humidified air has been cleaned by the HVAC filters.
Too much home humidity is solved with a dehumidifier. Again, you can choose small portable models, or opt for professional installation of a whole-house dehumidifier by your HVAC contractor.
Help your mechanical dehumidifier with a few steps:
- Always run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchen.
- Limit shower lengths to five minutes.
- Keep only a reasonably small number of houseplants.
- Open windows when you know you will be generating humidity (boiling water, steam-ironing, or showering).
- Run the dishwasher only when full and when the central air conditioner is not on (generally overnight).
To effectively balance your Portland home’s humidity, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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