Why You Need Whole-House Humidity Control
Everyone knows temperature plays an important role in comfort. When the weather gets chilly, you automatically adjust your furnace or heating system. And the air conditioner tends to be center stage in the heat of the summer. However, it’s important to realize humidity levels play just as much of a leading role in your Oregon home.
Our Ben’s Heating & Air Conditioning team wants to help you understand humidity levels and how to control them for improved comfort and better overall health.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity measures the amount of moisture in the air. Most people associate dryness with winter; that’s a function of humidity. In some areas of the country, summers can be hot and humid.
A more relevant question, however, is what is the relative humidity in your Portland home? Relative humidity is a measure of both temperature and moisture. It’s more important to understand relative humidity to know how to adjust your home’s comfort level.
To calculate your relative humidity, you can use this chart from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Education Place, which gives you an easy reference. If the relative humidity is 100 percent, that means the air cannot hold any additional water. What that means from a comfort standpoint is that your sweat will no longer evaporate, making you feel hotter.
Ideally, your home needs to remain around 40 to 50 percent relative humidity for optimal comfort and health.
What Happens at High Humidity?
If your home’s relative humidity exceeds 60 percent, you may start experiencing some indoor air problems. Mold begins to grow at this humidity level and accelerates its growth between 70 and 90 percent relative humidity. A humid environment, combined with a food source of organic matter, is a recipe for a potentially invasive and dangerous problem.
Furthermore, you can experience condensation on your windows and walls, which can lead to long-term structural weakening and damage to your home. Moisture not only encourages mold growth, but can attract pests and contribute to other allergen problems.
Finally, high humidity can negatively affect human health by increasing the likelihood of heat stroke, heart problems, or asthma.
What Happens at Low Humidity?
On the flip side, too low of relative humidity levels can cause other indoor air issues. Static electricity can be annoying, and things like dry skin and lips are uncomfortable. Dry air can aggravate common colds with scratchy throats and nasal discomfort. Your indoor environment can feel colder as well with dry air.
Additionally, humidity levels that are too low can harm wood furniture and musical instruments. Wood floors or wall paneling may shrink and warp, and wallpaper may begin to peel.
How Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers Can Help
Today’s humidifiers are well designed and use sensors and computers to automatically maintain humidity at around 45 percent. Furthermore, modern humidifiers are designed to prevent microbial growth and use drain-through technology, so they do not hold standing water when they are off.
Although a well-maintained air conditioner should be removing humidity as well as heat from your home, you can install an additional dehumidifier to your HVAC system. A dehumidifier will remove further moisture before the air circulates through your air duct system.
In addition, you can also purchase portable humidifiers or dehumidifiers for single room or single area usage.
Contact Us Today
If you want to learn more about humidifiers, dehumidifiers, or both, call Ben’s Heating & Air Conditioning in Portland, OR. Our professional team can help you find the best HVAC solutions to keep your home healthy and comfortable. Call 971-254-3700 or request service online today.