While it may evoke images of far-off beaches and dense rainforests, humidity is a constant in our surroundings. Which humidity levels are suitable for a home? Despite its natural nature, indoor moisture can be dangerous when it is high and low.
Recommended humidity is 30-50 percent in summer and 40-60 percent in winter. Keep reading to learn more about the health effects of humidity.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity may be defined as the quantity of water in the atmosphere surrounding you.
Because it is essential to the planet’s overall water cycle, humidity is vital to the ecosystem. When a liquid from a water source vaporizes and reaches the atmosphere, condensation distributes the vapors throughout the environment, creating humidity naturally.
Higher Air Temperatures may store more moisture than colder areas, so we generally think of tropical sceneries when we hear the word humidity. However, with the introduction of central heating and increased insulation, we are unknowingly generating our own microclimates indoors, which can pose various problems for our health and the structural integrity of the buildings we inhabit.
Optimal Humidity Level
Fortunately, the range in which ideal indoor humidity can be achieved is rather vast. You’re healthy if your reading falls between 30 and 60 percent. The difference, however, is marginal. Winter and summer levels are both in the 30-60% range, with a 10% variance at the acceptable end of the scale:
- Optimal summer indoor humidity levels: 40-60%
- Indoor winter humidity levels that are ideal: 30-50 percent
Anything exceeding 70% humidity is considered very high, while anything less than 25% humidity is considered low. These must be addressed regardless of the season.
The Effect Of Humidity On Health
Are you wondering about the relationship between humidity and temperature? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Our bodies can overheat with high humidity and extreme humidity, whether indoors or outdoors. Ever wonder why hot, humid air bothers your skin more than hot, humid air? Because cold water prevents your body from freezing and changes its temperature. Yes, frigid water can raise body temperature. Your body’s defense mechanisms take over to keep its temperature steady when it gets too hot. Here are a few instances:
By removing moisture from the skin, sweating causes the body to cool. Perspiration cannot evaporate when the air is already saturated with water vapor, which occurs when the humidity level reaches 70% or higher. As a result, rather than cooling down, you become hotter and stickier.
As you get hotter, you may notice your breathing becoming more fast. Your heart sends more blood to your extremities and less to your core organs and brain. That’s why you’re tired and fuzzy. You may experience dizziness or cramps in your legs.
Also check: How Long Should A Heat Pump Run Per Day?
Alterations In Blood Circulation
The body overheats as fluids, salt, and electrolytes are lost. You run the risk of developing potentially fatal heat exhaustion or heat stroke if your body is unable to regulate its temperature.
What Is Cause Of High Humidity Levels In Homes?
Cold water is nothing but atmospheric water vapor, as already mentioned. Having a lot of condensation inside your home means a lot of humidity, but where is it coming from?
Mostly, it’s us!
Yes, we are frequently to blame. Our contemporary lifestyles generate an incredible quantity of moisture. According to the Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers, daily activities generate moisture at the following rates:
- Sleeping consumes 40g of water every hour via perspiration and breath.
- Cleaning the house: 90g of water per hour, perspiration and exhale
- 3,000g per day when cooking on a gas stove
- Electric cooker cooking: 2,000g per day
- Dishwasher use: 400g per day
- Clothing washing: 500g per day
- Indoor drying of clothes: 1,500g per day
It’s also vital to realize that a leaking pipe could be the source of your excessive humidity problem. Monitoring your home’s humidity levels could serve as an early warning system for major concerns.
Other factors are the following.
- Insufficient ventilation
- An oversized air conditioner
- AC maintenance was neglected.
What Is The Cause Of Low Humidity In The Home?
The opposite end of the humidity scale is more unusual, although it can happen. Excessive usage of air conditioning systems and/or dehumidifiers are common reasons, but it can also occur when we warm our houses when the temperature decreases outside.
Heating removes some of the moisture from the air, and because the cold air from outside has relatively little water vapor, low interior humidity can occur quickly.
Health Effects, Direct and Indirect
Bacteria And Viruses
Spending too much time in a humid atmosphere might actually make you sick, especially if you have respiratory diseases.
Bacteria and viruses that cause illness thrive and proliferate in air with a relative humidity of more than 60%.
Furthermore, humid air causes pollutants to remain airborne for a longer amount of time before settling onto surfaces. As a result, when you’re in a humid office with others sneezing and coughing all around you, those terrible viruses linger around and grow. And you’re more prone to breathe them in.
Mold and fungus have been shown to aggravate respiratory disorders, including asthma. Even persons who do not ordinarily have allergies or asthma can have hypersensitivity reactions to fungi that flourish in high-humidity settings. The majority of these bacteria thrive in relative humidity levels above 75%.
Even if you can’t see them, they can be found in bathrooms, kitchens, carpets and furnishings, and office ceiling tiles. They could even be growing in the ducts of your air conditioner.
The Concentration Of Chemical Pollutants
Organic contaminants such as bacteria, mold, and dust mites aren’t the only things that worsen in the damp air. Airborne pollutants that have negative bodily consequences become more prevalent when humidity rises.
Everyday building components, such as carpet and wood items, emit toxins into the air, such as formaldehyde. We call this “off-gassing.” Because of the chemicals’ interaction with water vapor, the concentration of these dangerous substances increases in an overly humid atmosphere. Respiratory problems and skin, eye, and throat irritation can result from even mild contact with these compounds.
Managing of humidity
The most crucial piece of advice is to…breathe. Open those windows and let the fresh air circulate around your home to prevent condensation and maintain the right humidity levels all year round. Indeed, even during the deepest winter.
You can produce a “through-draft” with multiple open windows and fresh air for 10 to 15 minutes, and that’s it. This will release most of the stored water, and other harmful substances, including volatile organic matter, will leach out (or VOCs, for short).
Maintaining your home’s humidity is important for your comfort, health, and property protection. Regular water monitoring, especially during seasonal changes, and using the right equipment and techniques will help you maintain a healthy balance. Understanding the proper range, utilizing appropriate tools, and monitoring levels will help create a more comfortable and healthy living environment.
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