If you live in the Detroit Metro area, you are in constant battle with dry, windy winters and hot sticky summers. Inside your beautiful home, the ultimate level of comfort and indoor air quality depends on your home’s humidity. In order to achieve the highest level of home comfort and indoor air quality, you will have to balance your humidity.
Understanding humidity and how it impacts your health will enable you to make the right choice when it comes to improving the quality of indoor air in your home.
Humidity and Indoor Air Quality
Humidity is the amount of moisture or water vapor contained in the air around you. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture relative to how much moisture the air can hold before it becomes saturated.
Healthy Humidity Levels
A relative humidity level of 35 to 50 percent is a good range for maintaining indoor comfort. If indoor humidity falls below that level, problems related to dry air will occur, such as:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Irritated eyes, throats and noses
- Cracked lips
- Coughing and other respiratory issues
Low humidity can also make you feel colder than the actual temperature of the room. This occurs because dry air absorbs moisture from your skin, which creates a cooling effect. If you feel cooler than usual, you may turn up the heating system to compensate, which wastes both energy and money.
Humidity and Your Home
Dry indoor air can also cause damage to paneling, furniture, wallpaper, flooring and house plants. Wooden items can crack or warp. Wallpaper can start to peel. Static electricity can increase throughout your home, which means person to person shocks as well as potential damage to phones, audio equipment and computers.
Low Humidity Culprit
Low humidity is common in the winter when the outside air is colder and drier. As indoor air escapes your home and dry outdoor air comes in, your living environment loses humidity.
Indoor humidity levels can be affected by:
- Ventilation – Indoor spaces need ventilation to provide an ongoing source of fresh air, but dry indoor air can be pulled in during the process. At the same time, moist indoor air can be vented outside.
- Leaky seal – The seal of your home envelope prevents air from leaking out of cracks, holes, gaps and other openings. When these openings are effectively sealed with caulk or other appropriate material, dry air can’t get in and moist air can’t get out.
- Everyday activities – Actions of daily living, such as entering and exiting your home, can let dry air in and moist air our through doors.
Types of Humidifiers
Humidifiers are mechanical devices that add moisture to your indoor air, raising humidity and improving overall comfort levels and indoor air quality. Combining humidifiers and indoor air quality ensures that you’ll have a steady supply of moisture available to combat dry air and that your home will be more pleasant and comfortable to live in.
Humidifiers are available in many configurations, but the two most common are portable models and whole-house humidifiers.
- Portable humidifiers are small, easily transportable units intended for humidifying one limited area, most commonly a single room or office cubicle. They often have wheels to make them easier to move. They require access to a typical electrical outlet for power and need no special installation procedures. The water supply in a portable humidifier must be frequently refilled to ensure ongoing humidification. Since portable humidifiers can be moved around and placed where needed, they’re particularly useful for apartment and condominium residents or for office workers who need humidification in their immediate area. They provide good levels of humidification but are only effective in a limited area.
- Whole-house humidifiers are significantly larger humidification systems intended to provide enough moisture to humidify all of the indoor spaces in a home or commercial facility. These humidifiers are installed in a forced-air heating system. All of the air produced by the heating equipment is routed into the humidifier before it’s distributed throughout the home. Inside the humidifier, water vapor is added to the air, which then exits the unit and continues through the ductwork. The humidified air heats your home at the same time it raises indoor relative humidity to acceptable levels.
Kelley Brothers provides professional heating, air conditioning and generator services to customers in Southeastern Michigan. Contact us today for more information on humidifiers and indoor air quality, and how a humidifier can make your home more pleasant and comfortable.