Living in South Carolina, it is safe to say that we are no stranger to humidity. But what exactly is humidity, and what can be done to control it? Let’s explain.
Simply put, humidity is moisture in the air. Warm air can hold more grains of moisture than cold air, which is why humidity is much more noticeable in the summer months. Relative humidity (RH) – how much moisture the air is currently holding divided by how much it can potentially hold – tells us how humid the air is. At 100% humidity, condensate (dew) will form.
Humidity and Your Home
Keeping your home or office’s humidity level in check is crucial for comfort and can reduce energy costs. Most experts agree that keeping humidity levels between 30-70% RH when the temperature ranges from 70° to 85°F provides optimal comfort. Typically, a lower relative humidity level is preferred in the summer months and a higher relative humidity level is preferred during the cooler months. By following this reasoning, the cost efficient strategy would be to operate an HVAC system at a higher temperature and lower humidity level, since it can provide the same cooling comfort as an HVAC system set at a lower temperature and higher humidity level. This strategy is reversed when running heat during the cooler months.
Humidity and its Effects:
By veering away from the 30-70% threshold, many risks can arise. When there is too little humidity in a building, occupants can suffer from dry eyes, itchy skin and nosebleeds. Additionally, plants can dry out and furniture and hardwood floors may begin to crack due to loss of moisture in the air. Conversely, too much moisture provides an ample breeding ground for mold, mildew and dust mites, increasing the chances of building occupants becoming sick.
Fortunately, these issues can be tackled with ease. If you believe your home or office has too much humidity, dehumidifiers can be installed on the return duct near the air handler, or a portable dehumidifier can be purchased from Home Depot, Lowe’s and the like. In contrast, humidifiers can be installed on the main supply duct, or portable humidifiers can be purchased if there is too little humidity in the building. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the pros at Miller!