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This is a question that we get asked a lot here at Rapp’s Does It All.

Is my house to dry or too humid and what should I do about it?

Well, generally speaking, your home should be between 30% and 50% humidity, with 45% being the most comfortable for the average person.  Here are a few quick points that you should know about these levels.

  • Too much humidity in your home can lead to irritated and itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, coughing, and even difficulty of breathing.  We’ve all felt that “suffocating” humidity outside in the summer, but the same holds true for indoor.  Your Air Conditioning system will pull humidity out during the summer, and many of you will be adding moisture back into your homes in  the winter to keep that ideal comfort level.  Remember to pay attention to it and don’t let it get above 50%, or a level where members of the household begin to consistently experience some of these symptoms.
  • On that same note, too much humidity can cause considerable damage to your home and the things in it. The Carolinas can be particularly vulnerable to this with our high summer humidity and unique landscape.  Don’t let your sheetrock walls, hardwood floors or carpets become damp or wet, as it can and will cause potential major damage.
  • Excessively humid air also increases the chance for bacteria, mold, and mildew to take hold; which of course can, not only damage the areas of the home that it impacts, but can also lead to health issues.
  • Lastly, household pests such as termites and cockroaches are drawn to warm, humid areas, and that is never a good thing for you or your home.
  • On the other side of the coin, dry air (lack of humidity) can also lead to some potentially serious problems.
  • Some health issues can include sore throats, dry/cracked skin, itchy skin, and nosebleeds.  It can also enhance the negative effects of allergies and asthma.
  • If your home is too dry, it can cause your wood fixtures, furniture, doors, and floors to crack, warp or split. It can also dry out various sealants throughout the home, creating gaps around your doors and windows potentially allowing warm air to escape your home causing higher heat bills.

So, what should you do about it?  Well, first off, I highly recommend that you purchase a device that measures the humidity in your home.
It’s called a hygrometer, but don’t let the “fancy” name make it seem expensive…you can pick one of these up at most local hardware or department stores for less than $10.

 

Then, when you’re able to see what levels you’re dealing with, you’ll be able to accurately handle it, and the solutions are fairly simple.

High Humidity Solutions

  1. If you’re dealing with slightly high humidity levels during the summer, an easy fix is to have a few indoor plants around your home.  The plants will store excess moisture and help balance out the levels of your home
  2. Another simple solution is to make sure that you have and use your vent fans in the bathrooms, especially when showering.  These are typically the the most humid areas of the home, and if you don’t run the fans, that humidity will spread out throughout the house.
  3. If these things don’t seem to be helping enough, make sure to have your air conditioning system fully inspected, as it is DEFINITELY your primary means of getting rid of humidity.  We would be glad to help you out with this anytime, so feel free to call us at 803-740-1241 or email customerservice@rappshvac.com.  Remember, just because your A/C is keeping your house cool enough, that doesn’t mean it’s doing its job of removing the humidity properly.

Low Humidity Solutions

  1. A simple solution to moderately low humidity levels is to make sure that you are opening windows on days where the temperature will allow it.  Your furnace is always drying out your home, but there’s often plenty of moisture outside on those warm days and your house will quickly soak it up with the windows open.
  2. You can place containers of water in various spots around the home as well.  The water in those containers will slowly evaporate into the air and maintain slightly higher levels of humidity.  Again, this solution works in cases where your levels are just moderately lower than you’d like them.
  3. If the above 2 simple solutions won’t get it done, you may need to install a humidifier in your home.  You can purchase “stand-alone” units to put in select dry areas of your home for a reasonable price.  The downside is that you continually have to monitor them and put more water in…along with the fact that they generally only handle small spaces close to where they are located.

In these situations, we HIGHLY recommend a whole-house humidifier, which is installed directly into your heating system duct work.  The steam models have been the favorites of our customers, and the levels can be easily controlled right at your thermostat….automatically.  This is something that  heating and air contractors would need to look at for you, but generally speaking they aren’t really difficult or expensive to install.  We install these frequently and would be glad to talk to you about this solution.

If you’re interested, free free to call us at 803-740-1241 or email customerservice@rappshvac.com.

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