By National Refrigeration November 18, 2020
Humidity is an annual conversation during New England summers. From May to September, the air is hot and sticky, mold is growing rampantly, and seasonal allergies are triggered. In winter, when the air becomes cold and dry, our skin begins feeling itchy and irritated, even affecting our throat and nose.
When we talk about humidity, we are usually referring to the air outside. However, humidity is not only a concern for the outdoors. The humidity level inside your home largely affects physical comfort and respiratory health.
A study released by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, notes that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. With COVID cases expected to rise heading into winter, this statistic is likely understating our time spent inside.
If too much humidity contributes to allergies and not enough humidity creates dangerous dry air, where is the happy medium? The Mayo Clinic concludes that the ideal humidity level in homes should be between 30% and 50%.
The common allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, and congestion are often triggered when bacteria and mold are present. Moist air supports bacteria and mold’s growth. The Mayo Clinic points out that summer is one of the worst allergy seasons because dust mites and mold thrive in warm, damp areas. This can be true of warm and damp spaces indoors like laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Musty, mildewy smells are indicators of a humidity concern. Often in areas where ventilation is poor, humidity levels are too high. Moist air supports bacteria and mold’s growth. If the air in your home feels moist or if you find mold in your home, humidity levels are unhealthy.
Rotting wood occurs when wood rot fungus grows. Fungus is fed through humidity. Rotting wood can occur anywhere in the home, but particularly in rooms that contain a water fixture like the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms.
Wetness on windows and doors are caused by moist air and indicated high humidity. After taking a hot shower, it is common for steam to fog up windows temporarily. If your windows regularly accumulate moisture, humidity is a concern in your home.
Depending on ventilation routes in your home wet stains can become an issue. When air becomes moist, water gathers and can settle into the wall and ceilings of your home. Similar to the steam that produces and rises after taking a hot shower, too much humidity can begin seeping into the walls of your home creating wet stains.
If you experience one or more of these concerns, we suggest purchasing a dehumidifier to regulate your home’s humidity level.
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