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Winter is characterized by cold and wet weather and is followed by spring, which could be rainy at times. A rainy spring means that the ground is oversaturated, and this leads to increased humidity levels in your home. It is imperative for you to keep your home humidity in check to avoid the problems that come with increased humidity. Fortunately, there exist effective ways for you to reduce home humidity. But first, you need to know the ideal humidity levels in your home before taking any measure by using a humidity monitor.
What is high humidity to a human/home
Every home is fitted with a heating and air conditioning system (HVAC), and one of its essential purposes is dehumidification. During rainy spring, however, your HVAC system gets less engaged, which may result in excessive humidity in your home. Besides using a humidity monitor to check whether your home’s humidity levels are high, there are notable signs that indicate high indoor humidity.
Excess humidity in your home will cause some discomfort, which is hard to miss. You might also note foggy or condensed windows when the humidity levels are high. Besides, you may start to feel muggy. All these are indications that there is excessive humidity in your home. When your air conditioner fails to control the humidity levels in your home, you are predisposed to severe problems, including health and physical problems.
Overall, homeowners tend to feel comfortable when the humidity levels in their home range between low to medium. Comfortable humidity levels should range from 45% to 55%.
What makes your home so humid?
High indoor humidity comes about when moisture gets into your house, and it is unable to get out. The air conditioner is responsible for controlling these levels although it fails sometimes. When this occurs, you are forced to deal with excess humidity levels.
When there is plenty of rain in spring, or when your house has a leak, there is a high probability that the humidity levels will rise. Additionally, your daily activities such as taking hot showers could lead to excess moisture build-up in your home. Another cause for excess humidity in your home could be rising damp. This happens when moisture rises from the ground through the pores of the bricks.
How to check indoor humidity
The best way to check indoor humidity is by using a hygrometer or a humidity monitor such as ThermoPro TP-55 Digital Indoor Temperature and Humidity Monitor Hygrometer. The hygrometer measures humidity from a scale of 0% to 100%. Keep in mind that relative humidity may change at different times of the day, and the humidity levels tend to be higher during the night.
There is a variety of hygrometers on the market. Some are costly, whereas others are relatively cheap. The TP-55 falls on the lower price range. It is a digital humidity monitor, but you can also find an analog hygrometer. Particularly, Thermopro T-55 is designed to deliver accurate measurements.
Keep in mind that there are other methods to check the humidity level in your home besides using a hygrometer. However, a humidity monitor delivers the best results.
What are the effects of humidity?
When humidity levels exceed the comfortable limit, some problems will arise. These problems range from health issues to damaging your home’s structural appearance. Here are some of the effects of high indoor humidity.
i. Mold and mildew growth
Mold grows well in areas that have warm temperatures and where there is adequate moisture. High indoor humidity serves as a perfect condition for mold to grow, and this could bring about serious health problems to you and your family members. Moreover, when mold grows and spreads all over your walls or floor, it affects the structural appearance of your home. It is imperative to call for a mold remediation expert when you notice their growth.
ii. Insects infestation
Some insects do well in humid conditions; therefore, if your home is humid, such insects might inhabit your home. Moreover, some insects eat mold and mildew, and when they grow in your home, there is a high likelihood for these insects to be present.
iii. Higher cooling costs
The increased humidity levels might also mean paying higher electric bills. How exactly does this come about? Well, the AC is responsible for dehumidification in the house, and when the humidity levels are high, you might mistake that for higher temperatures. As a result, you end up setting your thermostat levels higher, which leads to higher cooling costs.
iv. Damaged furniture and home appliances
Another negative effect of high indoor humidity is that your furniture and appliances are at the risk of getting damaged. The damages may be extensive, such as when the excess moisture destroys your electronic gadgets and furniture alike. Moreover, the mold may accumulate all over your furniture and carpet. The wall paint may start to peel off, and the floorboards might cave in. What’s more, the excessive moisture may cause your wooden furniture to decay.
v. Increased indoor air pollutants
When home humidity is high during a rainy spring season, there is a high probability for indoor air pollutants to increase. Some building materials usually release harmful chemicals, and this process gets enhanced under humid conditions. That notwithstanding, pests such as dust mites thrive well in such an environment, which may affect your general comfort at home.
When there is high indoor humidity, your body finds it harder to cool you down. Ultimately, sweat doesn’t evaporate as much under such conditions. As a result, the body tries to find other means to keep things balanced, and you end up sweating a lot. The more you sweat, the more water your body loses, and this could lead to dehydration plus other health issues such as fatigue, respiratory problems, and muscle cramps.
Excessive humidity may also bring about some allergies. You need to know that bacteria and some pests thrive well in humid conditions. Moist walls and flooring encourage the growth of bacteria, which might harm your family’s health. Besides, humid environments are suitable grounds for mold to grow. The toxic mold may cause allergic reactions such as asthma attacks.
viii. Sleep deprivation
High indoor humidity may give you plenty of restless nights, which is quite unhealthy. When the humidity levels are high, your body temperatures rise, making it hard for you to find a good night’s rest. You may end up tossing all night trying to find the best position to no avail. Furthermore, high humidity can bring about congestion – it affects your breathing, making you snore.
How to reduce indoor humidity
Now that you have learned about the effects of excessive indoor humidity, you understand why it is critical to reducing indoor humidity. There are various ways for you to go about minimizing the humidity levels in your home, and here are some of the most effective ways.
i. Let your HVAC system work for you
The HVAC system plays a vital role in dehumidifying your home. Therefore, you should ensure to turn it on constantly so that it can perform its duties efficiently. Leaving it off for an extended period may cause you to pay higher bills during rainy spring. Instead of turning the entire system off, it is wise of you to set a comfortable temperature that will reduce humidity levels, making your home more habitable.
Running your air conditioner also allows you to identify any maintenance issues, enabling timely and less expensive repairs.
The daily activities that you carry out at home may cause moisture to accumulate inside your house, increasing the humidity levels. As a result, you need to properly ventilate your home to allow the excess moisture to get out. You can ventilate your home by opening your windows. You could also have a reputable HVAC professional install ventilation fans in sensitive parts of your home such as the laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen.
iii. Constantly change the air filters
If you wish for excess moisture to get out of your house, you should ensure to change the air filters often. Over time, the air filters become dirty, and they are filled with dust and debris. The debris blocks the filters, which may limit the level of moisture getting out, hence the need to change them regularly.
iv. Take cold showers
Hot showers release a lot of vapor in the air, which leads to increased humidity levels. That’s why it is advisable to take cold and shorter showers. Moreover, you don’t have to open the tap all the way through. Doing so can help reduce indoor humidity.
v. Get a whole-house dehumidification system installed
A whole-house dehumidification system works effectively in reducing moisture levels in your home. It operates independently from your HVAC system, and its role is to eliminate excess moisture from the house and release it into the outdoor environment. This system is energy efficient, and it cleans the air to increase indoor comfort. Moreover, it helps improve the lifespan of your HVAC system, plus it eliminates the growth of molds.
vi. Check whether your house has excessive humidity
You should assess whether your house is more humid by checking for obvious signs such as foggy or condensed window panes, water spots, and mold or mildew among other symptoms. Ensure to review the most sensitive parts of the house like your kitchen, the basement, and the bathroom. If you notice any of these signs, you can have an HVAC professional to come and do the necessary remediation.
vii. Watch your cooking habits
When you are cooking, you must ensure that the exhaust fans are on. You should also provide to cover your cooking pots. Alternatively, use slow cookers.
Increased humidity levels can be a nuisance in your home. They might affect your comfort, damage your furniture and appliances, affect your home’s structural appearance, or even cause serious health problems. It is imperative for you to employ viable tactics such as those mentioned previously to reduce indoor humidity.