Some homes are just damper than others. Winter or summer, excessive dampness can cause problems, whether it’s from a musty smell, or an actual problem with mold. It’s important to always fix leaks in plumbing, in the roof or in the basement, to mitigate damp conditions. But beyond that, you need to maintain balanced humidity all year long. Here’s why — and how.
What Is Balanced Humidity?
Warm air holds more moisture, and as temperatures climb, we tend to feel more uncomfortable. Moist air prevents the sweat on our skin from evaporating, accounting for that muggy feeling so prevalent in the summer. We then feel the need to turn down the air conditioner, perhaps wasting energy we otherwise would not have had to use, just to maintain comfort.
In the winter, cold air in the home holds less moisture, and that leads to dry conditions. Dry air can irritate our skin and mucus membranes, leading to respiratory problems, susceptibility to colds and even the flu virus. It also dries out wooden furnishings and floors.
Home humidity levels should be between 35 and 50 percent — on the lower end in the summer and the higher end in the winter. Purchase an inexpensive hygrometer from the home improvement store to measure air moisture levels in your home.
What You Can Do
You can reduce humid conditions in the summer by fixing leaks, but also by providing exhaust ventilation to the outdoors in the bathroom and kitchen. Change your air filter in your HVAC often, and look into acquiring a whole-house dehumidifier. Portable models are available, but must be emptied by hand.
For wintertime, you can add moisture by boiling water on the stove or taking longer showers, as well as running a humidifier. Portable humidifiers are fine, but they have to be moved from room to room and won’t do nearly as good a job as a humidifier that is plumbed into your HVAC system. What’s more, they must be refilled by hand.
Want to learn more about balancing humidity? Contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing of Indianapolis.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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