Is your indoor humidity at a healthy level? The ideal indoor humidity level is between 40 – 60%. When humidity rises above or below these levels, people often experience health problems. Homes can also sustain damage when humidity levels are too high, which can lead to wet areas that attract dust mites, mold, mildew growth, and damage the wood framing or dry installation.
What Causes Indoor Humidity?
Indoor humidity has many causes including household appliances, shower usage, poor ventilation, and condensation problems. Household routines such as washing clothes, taking showers or baths, and cooking all create additional moisture in your home. Poor ventilation means that moisture gets trapped inside the home.
We see poor ventilation many times in bathrooms and kitchens where excess moisture is produced. Condensation problems most often occur during the winter when the indoor temperature is increased via heating systems and the outdoor temperature remains low. This causes condensation to form and can create high humidity problems indoors.
How to Control Humidity
Controlling humidity depends on the root cause of the high humidity. The first thing the ACS team does during a consultation is to assess the condition of the home to determine the location of the problem. Then, we figure out whether a new air conditioner is needed or the existing air conditioner needs to be fixed, whether through the addition of a new part or thorough cleaning.
Air conditioning units act as your first line of defense to decreasing your indoor humidity. During the air heat transfer process, where the air is pushed over supercooled freon coils, the humidity will attach to form condensation around the coils. The additional condensation is sent outside your home through a drain line.
We also look to see whether or not a dehumidifier can solve the problem. A dehumidifier takes the excess moisture out of the air in a more efficient manner than an HVAC system without resorting to more expensive solutions, like changing the structure of the home to ensure mechanical ventilation is occurring.
How to Calculate Indoor Humidity
To calculate indoor humidity, we recommend using a hygrometer. We can certainly bring one to your home to calculate your indoor humidity for you or these hygrometers can be purchased at local home improvement stores.
To use a hygrometer, you simply place the device in your home and watch for the reading. Each room should typically be tested individually to look for problem areas in the home. The reading comes out in a percentage and should be in the 40-60% range for ideal humidity conditions.
Dehumidifiers are one of the most practical solutions to high humidity in homes because they do not require changing the structure of the home. Dehumidifiers require an outlet and a method of removing the water that they collect, but they do not require adding insulation or mechanical ventilation to a home.
Air conditioners help to keep our homes cool in the warmer months, but they also play a role in controlling humidity. Air conditioner units work by removing the moisture and heat from the air in order to bring in cooled air. The problem that we encounter with some air conditioner units, however, is that they cannot work hard enough to deal with extreme humidity. This is where a new air conditioner that can handle the moisture load in the home or a dehumidifier can help. And sometimes a thorough cleaning and filter change for an existing air conditioner can fix the problem.