Indoor Humidity: How to Keep it Under Control

Published on: May 21, 2014
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Humidity can be a problem in any climate and any season. Pressure and temperature determine how much moisture the air can hold. Warm air holds more water while cool air holds very little.

In the summer, excessive moisture creates an uncomfortable, sticky feeling. In the winter, low humidity levels dry out skin, airways and even building materials. Air conditioning systems and humidifiers are designed to create a healthy, comfortable balance between conditions that are too dry and too humid.

Ideal Humidity Levels

Ideal levels for home humidity are between 35 and 50 percent. Condensation on windows is one of the most obvious signs of high humidity. This can occur in the winter or the summer depending on conditions.

Humidity levels above 50 percent create a number of problems that affect air quality. First, mold and mildew are more likely to proliferate when moisture levels are above 65 percent. Second, dust mites require moisture to survive, and populations thrive when humidity levels are elevated.

Low humidity creates different problems. Nosebleeds, dry skin and airway irritation are common when humidity drops below 30 percent. Viruses, bacteria and germs are also more likely to spread when the air is extremely dry. In many cases, humidity drops to 15 percent during the heating season.

Air Conditioning Systems and Dehumidifiers

HVAC equipment can help maintain ideal humidity levels in all seasons. It’s your air conditioner’s job to remove excess humidity by cooling air below the dew point. Excessive humidity levels are commonly related to these issues.

  • High water table
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Wet basements and crawlspaces
  • Malfunctioning AC equipment
  • Clogged condensation drains

If your home has consistently high humidity, have an expert assess your property and HVAC equipment. Clogged condensation drains are a leading cause of moisture buildup and can easily be corrected by cleaning the drain pipe and condensation pan. Stand-alone and whole-house dehumidifiers can also be used to remove moisture from homes, basements and spaces that aren’t air conditioned.

To get qualified, professional help for humidity concerns, just use our online tools to locate a HVAC contractor in your area.

Low Humidity and Whole-House Humidifiers

Low humidity isn’t as common, but it is uncomfortable. If your home is plagued by low humidity in the winter, you have a few options. Cold, dry air often enters homes from through cracks and gaps, so weather-proofing your house and installing additional attic insulation are effective solutions. You can also increase humidity by having a whole-home humidifier installed inside your ducts. Unlike other products, these systems give you precise control over moisture levels. Moist air also feels warmer, which makes this a great way to control energy costs while improving your health and comfort.

Ventilation is essential for maintaining indoor air quality and proper humidity levels. However, excessive drafts and poor airflow are also detrimental. If your home experiences fluctuating humidity, have an air quality expert perform an assessment. Use our online tool to find an HVAC contractor in your area. AirConditioningSouthEast.com represents qualified air conditioning companies in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.