Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. Relative humidity – what you hear the weather-person report on – measures the amount of water in the air in relation to the maximum amount of water vapor (moisture). The higher the temperature, the more water vapor the air can hold.
The ability of the air to hold water changes as the temperature goes up or down. A humidity level no higher than 50% is optimal as a general rule of thumb, but the best level depends on the temperature outside.
The level of humidity, whether outdoors or inside your home, is a big factor in your comfort level and is a factor in your overall health. When the moisture levels are too high, you can develop problems with mold and allergies. When the moisture levels are too low, you can experience dry skin and annoying static electricity. Having an ideal moisture balance makes the outside air feel fresh and the inside air comfortable.
Installing a humidifier with a humidistat function can keep the moisture levels comfortable in your home and reduce your energy bills. Here is why.
Humidity Levels In The Winter
Outdoor humidity levels are lower in winter. Running your furnace to heat your home reduces the moisture levels indoors. As a result, the air inside your home is drier in winter than in summer. When there isn’t enough moisture indoors you will experience static electricity and dry skin. It can aggravate asthma and allergies. You can also experience nosebleeds, chapped lips, sinus infections, and sore throats. All of these issues are symptoms of a lack of moisture.
When there isn’t enough moisture in the air we tend to feel cold because the dry air is robbing moisture from our skin. Naturally, this leads us to want to turn the heat up even more. Unfortunately, this only aggravates our discomfort…and raises our energy costs.
Excessively dry air can also take a toll on your wooden furniture and floors. When the humidity levels are too low indoors, your wood furniture, floors, door, and window frames can splinter and crack.
How Do I Achieve Optimum Indoor Humidity In Winter?
To achieve optimum indoor humidity levels in the winter many homeowners use humidifiers. A humidifier during the winter months in Gaithersburg will make the indoor air more comfortable. You will feel warmer without turning up the heat.
You will need to adjust the indoor moisture levels when the outdoor temperature changes. If the indoor humidity gets too high, condensation will form on your windows. Excessive moisture during bathroom showers and baths can develop as well.
A humidifier will help you avoid condensation issues. You will want to keep the humidity levels at or below 40% when the outdoor temperature is 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower the humidity level to 35% or less when the outdoor temperature is 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. You can avoid manual adjustments by having your HVAC contractor install a humidifier with a humidistat function. It will automatically make the necessary adjustments for you.
Humidity Levels In The Summer
Summertime temperatures in Gaithersburg, MD can bring uncomfortably high levels of humidity. Just like in the winter, this excess moisture can wreak havoc on your home and on your health.
When you run your air conditioner, the air indoors will be cooler than the outside air. The cooler indoor air and the hot outdoor air will cause condensation to form on your windows. Eventually, pooling condensation can rot your window trim. At certain moisture levels, you can develop dust mite infestations. Dust mites are a health issue especially for most people but more so for those with allergies.
Dangers Of High Humidity In Summer
High moisture levels indoors can also cause your paint and wallpaper to peel, your wood floors to cup and buckle, your furniture to mildew, and your moisture to collect in your electronics. It can even affect the structure of your home, invisible to you until you need major repairs.
High moisture levels in your home create an environment that fosters the growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, and mildew, which in turn can lead to unhealthy indoor air quality. These microorganisms can create serious health problems for people with allergies or asthma.
In the summer, high moisture levels make you feel hot and uncomfortable. You may choose to run your air conditioner more, when in fact the real issue is that the humidity is too high.
Using A Dehumidifier
Knowing what is considered “high humidity” is important when determining how to improve your indoor air quality in the summer. The easiest way to combat destructive levels of indoor moisture is to use a dehumidifier. A whole-house dehumidifier can be added to your HVAC system. It will monitor the moisture level on an hourly basis and adjust accordingly.
Ideally, the indoor summertime humidity level should be between 40% and 50%. With a whole-home dehumidifier, you can keep the humidity level between these ranges by removing excess moisture.
How To Best Regulate The Humidity Levels In Your Home
As mentioned above, you can control the humidity levels in your home by having an experienced HVAC contractor install a whole-home humidifier system with a humidistat function. The humidifier will automatically work with your home’s HVAC systems to add moisture from the air as needed.
Conversely, by having an experienced HVAC contractor install a whole-home dehumidifier, excess moisture will be removed from the air.
Guidelines For Optimal Humidity
It is important to know what is considered high humidity. Below are some guidelines for optimal humidity levels based on the outdoor temperature.
When the outdoor temperature is:
- Over 50˚F, indoor humidity levels should be less than 50%
- Over 20˚F, indoor humidity levels should be less than 40%
- Between 10˚F and 20˚F, indoor humidity levels should be less than 35%
- Between 0˚F and 10˚F, indoor humidity levels should be less than 30%
- Between -10˚F and 0˚F, indoor humidity levels should be less than 25%
- Between -20˚F and -10˚F, indoor humidity levels should be less than 20%
- At -20˚F or lower, indoor humidity levels should be less than 15%
Any percentage above these levels is considered high humidity.
Contact A Reputable HVAC Contractor In Gaithersburg, MD
Setting your humidistat or dehumidifier to the correct setting can create a more comfortable and safe environment for you and your family. Incorrect moisture levels can cause serious health issues. They can also harm the integrity of your furnishings.
For more information about how a humidifier and/or dehumidifier can improve the comfort level in your home, contact the professional HVAC team at Presidential Heating and Air Conditioning.