65 percent humidity is considered high and the environment inside your house is going to be most comfortable when you maintain the humidity levels at around 30 to 50 percent.
The level of humidity inside your home is as equally important as the temperature. Higher humidity can make you feel cold and clammy even if the temperature is within a comfortable range.
Low humidity, on the other hand, can cause inflammation of your respiratory tract that can make you more prone to flu and colds. Thus, it is recommended to keep the humidity below 65% and keep it between 30% and 50% instead.
When the humidity level goes beyond 60%, the air becomes too wet that can be dangerous for both the homeowners and the house itself.
Excess humidity can serve as a breeding ground for pests, mold, and rot in houses.
It can also be the culprit behind headaches, heatstroke, dehydration, and heat exhaustion as compared to a less humid environment.
*This article may contain affiliate links. Please take that into account.
Absolute Humidity and Relative Humidity
There are different ways to measure humidity but the most common is relative humidity or RH. To have a better understanding of RH, first, you have to understand what absolute humidity is all about.
Absolute humidity refers to the water vapor mass divided by the dry air mass in a volume of air at a certain temperature.
Hotter air contains more water. Absolute humidity is being expressed in terms of grams of moisture for every cubic of air.
On contrary, relative humidity actually refers to the ratio of the absolute humidity currently to the highest potential absolute humidity, depending on the present air temperature.
When the reading is 100% relative humidity, it means that the air is completely saturated with water vapor and can no longer hold more that creates the possibility of rain.
It doesn’t mean that relative humidity should be 100% so that it will rain. It should be 100% where clouds form but the ground’s relative humidity could be lesser.
Humans are extremely sensitive to humidity since the skin relies on air to eliminate moisture. The sweating process is the attempt of your body to stay cool and retain its present temperature.
When the air reaches 100% relative humidity, sweat won’t be able to evaporate into the air. The result is that you will feel much hotter than the actual temperature if there is high relative humidity.
Your clothes may get saturated with perspiration that will not go anywhere and make you feel like a swampy bog monster.
People are at their most comfortable when the relative humidity is kept at around 30% and 50%. Dehumidifiers and humidifiers help maintain a comfortable level of indoor humidity.
These appliance units also essential help dry interior structures such as lumber and drywall to keep them from deteriorating because of moisture and resulting mold.
How to Measure Humidity
You can use a hygrometer to measure humidity. You can purchase one from big box stores. There are two things you should keep in mind when using a hygrometer.
First, since humidity changes together with temperature, a hygrometer will not provide accurate humidity reading when it is surrounded by a constantly fluctuating temperature.
As a result, the hygrometer must be placed in the part of the home with a fairly constant temperature.
The next thing to remember is that there are hygrometers that should be calibrated before they can provide accurate readings. If needed, search for the calibration instructions in the product’s package.
Signs of Low and High Humidity
You don’t really need a hygrometer all the time just so you can determine if the humidity in your home goes beyond the ideal comfort zone.
You will be able to check if the humidity is already too high when you notice or observe any of the following:
- Musty smells that usually indicate mold presence
- Mold forming on ceilings, walls, baseboards, floors. Windows are special cases. The mold may form there due to condensation collecting because of the temperature differential at the window glass even when the humidity in the room is within an acceptable range.
- Condensation on trim, walls, and countertops
- Frequent inexplicable false alarms from the smoke detectors. Condensation coming from humid air can accumulate on the smoke detector sensors that will trick them to sound an alarm.
- Peeling pain that is often a sure sign of condensation
On the other hand, signs of low humidity are usually felt instead of seen. Some of the common symptoms include scratchiness in the throat and dry sinuses.
Aside from these, your eyes may also dry out faster than can cause itchiness and redness. You may also notice itchy and dry skin that can turn into psoriasis or eczema in severe cases.
How to Lower and Raise Humidity
Appliances that modify humidity are now available on the market and are aptly named for the functions they perform.
Dehumidifiers lower humidity while humidifiers increase it. These appliances have been rated for a certain air volume based on the size of the room.
This makes it essential to choose one that can handle the area where you plan to put it.
Humidifiers work through introducing a fine water mist in the air from the reservoir that you have to fill in every now and then.
If you don’t have this appliance yet, you will also be able to raise humidity through the following:
- Boiling water on your stove
- Distributing water bowls around your house
- Hanging and drying your laundry inside your house
Dehumidifiers function like air conditioners. These contain a set of refrigeration coils that can condense the moisture into droplets that flow to the reservoir or drainage hose.
When you have an air conditioner, you can turn it on to help lower the room’s humidity where you put. However, it may not be a wise option when there is already low temperature.
Other ways for lowering humidity include the following:
- Moving your houseplants outside
- Improving circulation by using fans or opening windows
- Replacing filters on the central air system of your home
Condensation from humid air may result in different issues, from mildew and mold to rot as well as structural damage.
Installing one or several ceiling fans and turning them on at low speed is a great way to control condensation.