Relative indoor humidity affects indoor air quality, among other things. It’s therefore important to manage it, particularly during the seasonal extremes of winter and summer. In this blog, the HVAC installation contractors at Home Air Services discuss the importance of managing relative indoor humidity.
Relative Indoor Humidity
One of the most common questions about relative indoor humidity is why it’s called “relative”. The explanation is simple: ideal indoor humidity levels range from 35% to 50%, relative to outdoor temperatures. This means ideal indoor humidity levels change with the seasons.
The air is mostly dry during the winter season. Without indoor humidity control, dry air can cause dry skin, chapped lips and irritated nostrils, as well as contribute to eczema and dry eyes. Items made of paper, including important documents, may become brittle and easily damaged. Conversely, high humidity levels during summer, which can reach levels as high as 55%, can result in air that feels “sticky” or “stuffy”. Moisture in the air can also store heat, which can make the air feel hotter than it actually is.
Managing Relative Indoor Humidity in Winter
Fortunately, HVAC companies offer solutions to manage indoor air humidity, relative to outdoor temperatures. You can measure relative indoor humidity using a simple hygrometer. While homeowners have reported feeling comfortable with relative humidity levels between 30% and 60%, you should aim for a narrower margin: between 45% and 55%.
One can use a standalone humidifier to balance humidity levels during the dry season; however, its range will be limited. A whole-home humidifier/dehumidifier, on the other hand, can be integrated with existing heating systems. Smart home systems will let you program the system to automatically compensate for seasonal changes. Make sure the humidifier media is inspected every month, as minerals from the water can result in a clogged humidifier system.
Home Air Services is your leading provider of heating and air conditioning repair services. Give us a call at (301) 585-8100 (main) or (301) 984-0161. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.