Many homeowners, renters, and other residential dwellers might be surprised to know that one of the key factors in determining what your comfort level at home may be is the level of humidity. Aside from making your home’s interior less comfortable, an incorrect humidity level can also generate higher utility bills because your heating and cooling equipment is being regularly overworked to maintain the desired interior temperature.
What is the “right” humidity level?
The EPA has stated that the humidity level in your home will vary seasonally, simply due to external humidity that invariably finds its way into your house or apartment. During the summer, the humidity level in your home should range from 25-40%. The natural (external) humidity is higher in warmer months than it is in colder ones, and this higher humidity can decrease your body’s rate of evaporation. This results in that ‘clammy’ or sticky feeling that you can experience during the height of summer.
In the wintertime, however, your home’s humidity level should be around 60%. This is primarily because there is a decrease in the natural humidity in the ambient air, and higher humidity can make you feel warmer. You don’t want to maintain a humidity level that remains high for a long period of time because that can not only create a breeding ground for mold and other in-home pests, but too much humidity can lead to health problems for you or your family members.
How can you test your home’s humidity level?
You don’t need to call a professional to have the humidity level in your home tested. There are many different products available at a variety of retailers, from drugstores to large ‘box’ stores, that offer items like residential weather stations to hygrometers. The weather stations can provide you with an at-a-glance idea of the humidity, while hygrometers – although more expensive – offer a detailed and thorough evaluation of the interior climate of your home.
How can you increase or decrease the humidity in your home?
One of the easiest ways to adjust the humidity level in your home is to use a properly installed, regularly maintained, and efficiently operating HVAC system. The cooling aspect of your home’s heating and cooling equipment will raise the humidity level and the heating aspect will lower it. You can also invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier to adjust the level of humidity if your heating and cooling equipment is unable to achieve the desired level. If that does occur, you may want to have the equipment inspected by a professional to ensure that it is operating correctly.
Maintaining a properly balanced humidity level in your home is vital to ensuring that you and your family have a comfortable and healthy living space. In addition, it also helps you maximize the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment, reduce overuse of that equipment, and minimize your energy consumption. You can use the tips and information in this article to check and adjust your home’s humidity or do your own research for tips on maintaining a comfortable and healthy humidity level, and – if necessary – reach out to a professional HVAC technician for inspections, maintenance, or repairs for your heating and cooling equipment.