When it comes to HVAC systems, the goal is comfort. All sorts of factors go into your family’s comfort including temperature, humidity, cleanliness, indoor air quality, and more. B&L Ott near Reading, PA is dedicated to helping you keep your family comfortable. This way, they can be happy, healthy, sleep well, and be productive during the day. Check out the information below to learn more about how humidity affects your health and comfort.
What Is Indoor Humidity & Why Is It Important?
Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. Generally, it is expressed as a percentage. Many thermostats will tell you what the humidity percentage is in your home. However, if yours does not, you can purchase a humidity meter at most home improvement or big box stores.
In Berks County, Pennsylvania, we generally experience high humidity in the summer and low humidity in the winter. It is important to monitor the humidity levels in your home because it can affect your comfort, health, the items in your home, and your home itself. If the humidity in your home is too high or too low, you may feel uncomfortable, get sick more often, and start noticing damage to your belongings.
Generally, you should shoot for humidity levels between 45-55%. Percentages above 55% are considered high and anything below 30% is considered too low. In summer, your air conditioner will help remove humidity from your home. However, if there is too much humidity, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier for your home. Likewise, if you struggle with low humidity in the winter, you will want to invest in a humidifier.
Signs Your Home Has Poor Indoor Humidity
If your home has poor humidity levels, you will likely notice a variety of signs. These include:
As mentioned before, poor humidity leads to a lack of comfort. When you aren’t comfortable, you will likely have trouble sleeping. If you are tossing and turning all night, check the humidity levels in your home. Ensuring proper humidity levels will help you sleep. When you get good rest, you will be happier, healthier, and more productive.
Constant Sweating or Dry Skin
When the humidity is too high, sweat won’t evaporate off of your skin as easily. This leaves you feeling hot, sticky, and clammy. If you constantly feel like you need to shower, you may have high humidity. On the other hand, if the air lacks humidity, it can steal moisture from your skin. This leaves you with dry and itchy skin. If this is the case, a humidifier might be your best solution.
High humidity can also make it difficult to breathe. Humidity can lead to an increase in air pollutants such as dust, mold, bacteria, and viruses. If you have asthma, allergies, or respiratory issues, you will likely experience more symptoms when the humidity is high. Low humidity, on the other hand, can dry out your throat and nasal passages as well as make your eyes feel itchy.
Common Problems Associated with Poor Indoor Humidity
Both high and low humidity levels can have negative side effects on your home and family. If you start noticing some of the issues below, it is a good sign you need to adjust the humidity levels in your Berks County home.
Problems Caused by High Humidity
High humidity is characterized by humidity levels above 55% moisture in the air. Below are some common problems associated with high humidity.
Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew like to grow in warm and moist places. That is why you generally see it first in your bathroom, attic, or basement. Mold and mildew cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, stuffy nose, itchy or watery eyes, itchy nose, or itchy throat. Mold can also be tricky and expensive to get rid of so it is ideal to try and prevent mold growth in the first place.
Just like mold, high humidity also attracts insects. No one wants insects in their home. They can get into your food and damage your belongings. Some insects actually eat the mold in your home while other bugs just like humid environments. Keep the bugs out by keeping humidity levels low.
Damage to Furniture and Appliances
High humidity can damage or alter your home as well as the items in it. Some common issues include:
- Mold on walls and furniture.
- Fading or peeling paint.
- Damp or wet insulation.
- Warping the floors and drywall.
- Decaying or warped furniture.
By keeping an eye on the humidity in your Berks County home, you can help keep your home in quality shape.
Lack of Comfort
When summer hits the Leesport area, the humidity is high. Conversely to winter, the drier air in your home will steal the moisture from outside. This makes the air in your home feel sticky and clammy. Even if you have air conditioning, it may not be dehumidifying properly. Your house may be reaching your desired temperature, but your home can still be uncomfortable due to excess humidity. If you don’t have air conditioning or your system is not functioning properly, it can be uncomfortably warm and humid in your house.
Dehumidifying Your Home
B&L Ott can help you fix the problems of high humidity by air conditioning the home; cooling AND dehumidifying. We can install a whole-home humidifier. An upgraded thermostat will also provide more control over the humidity in your home. If you are using a dehumidifier in your basement, you should talk to us about a whole-home dehumidifier. A portable dehumidifier is not the answer, and it wastes a tremendous amount of energy.
Problems Caused by Low Humidity
Low humidity is characterized by moisture percentages below 30%. Below are some common low humidity effects you may notice in your home.
One common problem you may notice if the humidity in your home is low is dry skin. When you have poor indoor air quality due to low humidity, it can dry out your skin as well. You may notice symptoms such as itchy, cracked, or flaky skin. Cracked skin also leaves you susceptible to bacterial infections. Low humidity can also aggravate skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, and skin allergies.
Not only does low humidity cause skin problems, but it can cause or aggravate respiratory conditions as well. Family members can develop ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and nosebleeds. Dry air can also dehydrate you so it is important to drink plenty of water and monitor your indoor humidity levels.
Dry air can also dry out your eyes. When this happens, it leaves your eyes dry, itchy, burning, and prone to infections. It can also make your vision blurry. Be sure to use eye drops if you notice any of these symptoms and look for ways to boost the humidity in your home.
Lack of Comfort
When your home’s humidity is too low, you may notice a variety of side effects. Even if your thermostat is set between 68-72 degrees, you may feel like your home just isn’t warm. Your family may experience problems with dry skin, dry hair, or static. The ideal indoor winter environment has humidity levels between 30%-40%. This level will allow more comfort and help keep your family healthy.
During winter in Berks County, the air outside can steal the moisture from the air in your home. The air can also steal moisture from your body, usually from the skin. Moisture evaporates off of your skin and makes you feel cold. Our bodies are approximately 60% water so maintaining moisture in your body is important.
The air will also steal moisture from your mouth and sinus passages. This causes them to dry out and crack. Your lips dry out and get chapped. Your eyes and nose also get dry and itchy. The cracks allow germs to pass through and you end up getting a cold. This is one reason why it is more common to get sick in the winter.
How Warm Temperatures Affect Humidity
When the weather is warm, the humidity will make you feel even warmer. This is because the human body cools itself by sweating. When the sweat evaporates into the air, you feel cooler. However, when there is high humidity, this process becomes difficult. Then the sweat stays on your skin and you end up feeling, sweaty, sticky, and clammy. It is also worth noting that warmer air has more capacity to hold water vapor. This is why it is generally more humid in the summer and dry in the winter.
How Colder Temperatures Affect Humidity
On the other hand, colder water has less capacity to hold water vapor. This is why it is usually drier in the winter. When the temperature is cold, high humidity can make you feel colder. It may seem untrue as humidity makes you feel hotter when the temperature is hot. However, dry air at a cold temperature will likely feel warmer than humid air at the same temperature.
Increasing Indoor Humidity Levels
If the humidity in your Berks County home is too low, you are going to want to increase it. Here are a few reasons and ways to do so.
If the humidity levels in your home are low, there are a variety of health benefits that come with raising the humidity in your home. These include:
- Loosening congestion
- Relieving dry throat
- Relieving dry nasal passages
- Helping moisturize dry skin
- Reducing respiratory issues such as asthma and allergies
- Keeps risk of catching a cold low
- Improving comfort and sleep
Overall, adding moisture to your home can help you keep your family comfortable and healthy so they can be happy and comfortable.
Along with keeping your family healthy, adding humidity to dry air can also help you protect your home and possessions. This includes benefits such as:
- Protecting your wood and leather furniture from cracking and warping
- Reducing creaky floors
- Helping prevent warping and shifting walls
- Keeping your houseplants healthy
- Reducing static electricity
- Reduce heating system costs
No one wants the expenses of home improvement projects and having to replace their belongings. Keep everything in quality condition by keeping your home at proper humidity levels.
How to Increase Indoor Humidity Levels
Here are some common solutions that help you increase the humidity levels in your home.
There are plenty of simple ways to improve your indoor air quality by adding moisture to the air. Pretty much any activity that causes water can help. Some common examples include:
- Boiling water
- Air drying laundry or towels
- Buy some house plants
- Take a shower with the door open
- Place bowls of water near vents
- Open dishwasher to dry
- Use a spray bottle
These are cheap and easy ways to add some moisture to your home. However, if your humidity levels are very low you may need to look for a better solution.
The next step up when it comes to solutions is a portable humidifier. There are two different types of portable humidifiers, warm mist, or cool mist. You can buy these at most big box stores. They are budget-friendly, don’t take up much room, and are easy to set up. Most can be set on a table or floor. You simply fill the tank, put it together, and turn it on. Their effectiveness is limited and you do need to refill the tank regularly. Yet, they can help increase the humidity levels in a small area.
If you are serious about increasing the humidity in your home, talk to the professionals at B&L Ott about a whole-house humidifier. A whole-house humidifier attaches to your furnace and helps distribute moisture evenly throughout your home. This is the most expensive option, but it is also the most effective. It is also worth noting that this solution requires a cold water connection and space for the unit. This is the most effective option for adding humidity to your home and doesn’t require you to fill a water tank on a daily basis.
Decreasing Indoor Humidity Levels
If the humidity in your home is too high, here are some ways you can decrease the amount of moisture in the air.
If you have high humidity levels in your home, finding ways to remove moisture can provide you with a few benefits. The main one is comfort. When you decrease the humidity in your home, sweat will be able to evaporate off of your body more easily. Then you can be cool and comfortable rather than sticky and clammy.
Another benefit is reducing allergy and asthma symptoms. As mentioned before, humidity attracts mold and mildew growth. By keeping your humidity levels in check, you can help avoid the mold and mildew spores that are aggravating your respiratory issues.
Finally, decreasing humidity can also help you avoid heat strokes and overheating. Keeping humidity levels low allows you to breathe better and cool yourself with sweat. This way you don’t have to deal with the consequences of heat exhaustion.
By decreasing humidity in your home, you can help protect it. High humidity issues like mold, mildew, and warping can damage your property. Water vapor can also travel through walls and ceilings, causing wet insulation, peeling paint, and rot in woodwork. Once your property is damaged, it can be difficult and expensive to fix or replace. Therefore, it makes sense to pay attention to the humidity in your home and protect your home before it gets damaged. This way you can save your hard-earned money and invest in improving your home in other ways.
How to Decrease Indoor Humidity Levels
In Berks County, Pennsylvania high humidity is a common summer issue. However, you can experience high humidity issues in the winter as well. If you have high humidity, you will likely notice condensation around your home, mostly near windows. If this is something your home suffers from, the professionals at B&L Ott can help. Here are some solutions you can try:
- Turn off your humidifier
- Invest in a dehumidifier
- Use exhaust fans
- Reduce water use in your home
- Use an energy recovery ventilator
Getting a New Humidifier Installed by B&L Ott
The number one problem we see with humidifiers is homes that don’t have one and need one. The number two problem we see is bad installation practices. Even if you have a quality humidifier, if it is not installed properly, you may still experience problems.
Let B&L Ott help. A 30-minute conversation with one of our comfort specialists can provide you with the education you need to make an informed decision. We have all of the tools, training, and experience necessary to properly install this important device. You will receive a warranty, peace-of-mind, and a properly functioning humidifier.
Our options start at $840 for a basic model and installation typically takes 2-4 hours. You can rest assured that your new humidifier will be placed on the appropriate part of the system and tested to ensure proper operation. If you would like to schedule a consultation, you can do so here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. You can also call 610-927-5133.