During the dog days of summer, homeowners in our area become increasingly sensitive to higher humidity. And when it's too humid outdoors, it can also be too humid in your home, leaving you feeling clammy and uncomfortable.
On the other hand, when our homes are too dry, we're also uncomfortable. Excessively dry air aggravates allergies, causes breathing problems and can leave your skin feeling inflamed and itchy.
Maintaining a home that's neither too humid or too dry can be a balancing act, but it can be done. The first thing to do is to acquire a hygrometer. This handy device, available at a hardware store, measures the moisture in the air, or the relative humidity. The ideal is between 40-50%, although the ideal may be slightly lower in the winter.
In the summer, when temperatures are warmer, you want less humidity in the air or you'll be inclined to turn down the thermostat and waste energy. If humidity is a problem in your home, then find the source and contain it. Among the possible reasons for high home humidity:
- Leaks in the roof or plumbing
- Unventilated moisture buildup in bathroom or kitchen
- Malfunctioning HVAC system
- Dirty air filter
- Obstruction in the condensate drain
Too much humidity in the home not only makes it feel uncomfortable, but can also promote mold. If the relative humidity is still too high after making repairs or changing the filter, you may need to install a whole home dehumidifier. These whole home units have only recently become available and perform much better than old basement dehumidifiers that you might have grown up with.
Respiratory issues and skin irritations aren't the only problems caused by excessively dry air. In the winter dry air makes you feel colder than you need to, and may make it easier to catch the flu virus. Low humidity can also dry out and crack wooden floors and home furnishings.
Boost humidity in the home with these tactics:
- Add house plants
- Boil pans of water on the stove
- Leave the door open when showering
- Install a whole-house or portable humidifier
For more tips on balancing humidity, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We serve the Greater Cleveland area.