There’s more to home comfort than just temperature. Indoor humidity plays a big role in keeping your home comfortable, especially given Florida’s humid climate. For many homeowners, however, striking the perfect balance between too much and too little humidity can be a struggle in of itself. Let’s dive into what makes humidity important and how the right levels can actually improve your home comfort.
There’s water in the air you breathe, but it’s so fine that you can’t see it with the naked eye. Humidity is a measure of this water vapor or, more specifically, how much water vapor is currently in the air around you. There are two ways one can measure humidity – relative humidity and absolute humidity:
- Relative humidity deals with the amount of water vapor in the air relative to the amount it can theoretically hold at a certain temperature. This is usually expressed in percentages and it’s the more common way that people measure humidity.
- Absolute humidity deals with the actual amount of water vapor in the air regardless of temperature. This method is more accurate and is expressed in grams per cubic meter (g/m3).
How Humidity Affects Comfort
Ever wonder why you feel so uncomfortable in humid environments? It all has to do with your skin, which uses sweat and evaporation to regulate your body’s internal temperature. Excess humidity makes it harder for sweat to evaporate. Not only do you feel hotter, but you might also feel gross and clammy.
Excess humidity does no favors for the rest of your home, either. Overly humid environments are a perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, plus it can leave condensation on windows and other cold, hard surfaces. Even the things you wouldn’t think would be hurt by excess humidity, like wood furniture and flooring, can suffer rot and deformation.
Too little humidity can also be a bad thing. Dry environments can trigger allergies, asthma and sinus issues, as well as cause eye and skin irritation. Wood products can warp, shrink and crack without adequate moisture. Even annoyances like static electricity are magnified by a lack of moisture in the air.
Finding the Perfect Humidity Level
There’s no exact number you should aim for, but most experts recommend maintaining relative humidity levels between 30 percent and 50 percent. Keep in mind that absolute humidity levels can change with the seasons, so you’ll want your indoor humidity to reflect this. When it’s over 50 degrees Fahrenheit outside, for example, aim for less than 50-percent indoor humidity.
Fortunately, you can keep track of humidity levels with the help of a reliable moisture meter. Stationing several at various points of your home can help you maintain proper humidity levels.
Ways to Maintain Balance
Believe it or not, air conditioners are perfect for removing excess humidity, especially during hot Florida summers. There are other ways you can control humidity levels in your home, from portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers to whole house solutions that are integrated with your central AC or heat pump system.