The Importance of Maintaining Proper Humidity Levels This Summer
Managing indoor humidity levels is crucial for East Texas residents regardless of whether you live in Sulphur Springs, Mount Pleasant, or other nearby communities. Unchecked humidity levels can affect your home’s comfort, your HVAC system’s efficiency, and even your health. Understanding the importance of maintaining proper humidity levels is key to running a comfortable, energy-efficient home all season long.
Indoor Humidity 101
Moisture has more to do with how hot or cool we physically feel than most people realize. During a typical Texas summer, the air can feel sticky when moisture levels are high, which makes outdoor temperatures feel hotter than they actually are. Warm summer air holds more moisture than cold winter air, resulting in higher humidity levels.
Because of increased humidity, homes are more likely to sustain moisture damage during the summer months as opposed to during dry winters. Excess moisture can result in mildew and mold growth, floor and surface damage, and foggy windows. You’ll also feel more uncomfortable inside a humid house when the weather outside is sweltering.
More than that, high humidity reduces your HVAC system’s efficiency, resulting in higher utility bills and reduced indoor comfort.
Humidity’s Link to Health Issues
High humidity cultivates allergens and allows them to spread. In fact, most fungi thrive in 60 percent or greater humidity. Unfortunately, not all molds and fungi are visible or growing out in the open, so you may not even notice there’s a problem until you start to feel the ill effects. Fungus and mold may breed inside ductwork, on basement ceilings, or in crawl spaces. Moreover, spores released into the air pose health risks and have adverse effects on asthma and allergies.
On the flip side, a lack of moisture in the air leads to dry sinuses, dry skin, a bloody nose, itchy eyes, and a sore throat. If you’ve noticed a long-term issue with your respiratory system or you frequently deal with sinus inflammation, your home’s humidity levels may hold the answer.
How to Maintain Proper Indoor Humidity
In general, you want to keep your home’s humidity levels between 30 and 60 percent, although most HVAC technicians recommend 45 to 55 percent. Anything above 55 percent is considered too high and will start to impact both your health and your home.
Thankfully, the simple act of running your air conditioner is often enough to maintain proper humidity levels. That’s because air conditioning systems are designed to remove some humidity, although they can’t tackle excessive moisture levels.
Many programmable thermostats allow you to monitor indoor humidity levels, but if you don’t have one, you can invest in an indoor humidity sensor, also known as a hygrometer. To control excess humidity in the summer, use a dehumidifier in areas where you’ve noticed the most moisture.
We also recommend consulting your HVAC technician on the benefits of whole-home dehumidification. A whole-home dehumidifier works in conjunction with your HVAC system, keeping your home fresh and comfortable all summer long.
Whole-home dehumidifiers address:
- Musty smells
- Mildew and mold growth
- Condensation issues
- Moisture stains on ceilings and walls
- Sticky, stuffy air
- Indoor asthma triggers
Don’t Forget to Ventilate
Ventilation is essential to maintaining proper indoor humidity levels, and yet many homeowners forget this step. You should always focus on ventilating areas where excess moisture builds up, such as the bathroom, kitchen, and basement.
Get into the habit of running your exhaust fans when cooking or showering to remove dampness from the air. While this seems like a no-brainer, you may not realize that the simple act of running your washing machine or dryer can impact indoor humidity. If you don’t have an exhaust fan in the laundry room, crack a window for a few minutes to give the air enough time to dry out. Since Texas summer days can be stifling, you may want to wait to do laundry until later in the evening.
Keeping an eye on your home’s humidity levels keeps both you and your HVAC system happy. Call Wood Air Conditioning at 903-285-6550 to schedule your next maintenance appointment or speak with us about indoor air quality options.
Image provided by Shutterstock