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Proper Indoor Humidity

Proper Indoor Humidity

TOO DRY (less than 30%)

  • Damage to wood floors, furniture, musical instruments
  • Static electricity; electronic equipment damage
  • Increased dust
  • Respiratory, throat, and skin irritations
  • TOO WET (greater than 50%)

  • Termites, cockroaches, and other insects
  • Condensation and stains on walls, ceilings, windows
  • Flaking paint and peeling wallpaper
  • Mold, mildew, dust mite growth; allergic reactions
  • Too Wet?
    Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. People often have allergic reactions to the organisms that thrive in humidity. Humidity promotes mold growth and dust mite population growth. These can set off allergic sensitivity and can trigger rhinitis and asthma. You canít see or feel these things, but they live on countertops, table surfaces, carpet, pillows, mattresses -- just about anywhere that people are. And they depend on warm temperatures and high humidity to live and grow.

    If the presence of mold or dust mites causes allergic reactions in you, then keeping the humidity inside your home at 50 percent or lower may provide some relief. Lower humidity will result in lower mold and dust mite growth.

    High humidity is bad for your home as well.
    High humidity in a home can cause rot. And, in warmer climates, it draws pests. Bugs are always looking for water. Condensation provides pests with the water they need. High humidity levels can be especially bad for your home if it was not built with adequate vapor barriers. As the moisture passes through the wall and reaches the cold on the other side of the wall or insulation, the water will condense and decrease the effectiveness of the insulation at a minimum and could cause dry rot of the structure.

    Take a look at our article on reducing moisture levels in your house by clicking here

    Too Dry?
    Don't let the air inside your house get too dry, however. Skin irritation, difficulty breathing and static electricity are among common problems that develop when indoor humidity is too low. Low indoor humidity is more likely a problem in some houses in winter months, when heaters and cooler temperatures combine to lower the moisture levels in the air.

    Too dry inside is typically an issue when living in an older house (perhaps heated with wood) that is not as tight as new houses. New houses unfortunately pay for that tight, energy efficiency with high humidity levels.

    Adding humidity is usually easier than removing it. A humidifier can be run or even just keeping a kettle of water on the wood stove helps.

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