What Is Dehumidification…And Why Is It Important?
When humidity levels are high, the air in your home can feel uncomfortable. During, humid summer days that Santa Rosa homeowners know all too well, dehumidification can become important. Humid air can be harder to breathe – even more so for people with allergies or inflammation issues like arthritis.
The good news is, with whole-home dehumidification systems, it’s possible to manage the humidity in every corner of your home so you and your family can stay comfortable and healthy.
What is Humidity?
Simply put, humidity is water vapor saturating the air around us. So, the level of humidity depends on how much vapor (water in its gaseous state) is in the air. Weather experts calculate relative humidity by taking the air moisture mass and dividing it by the saturated vapor pressure (ie. the maximum amount of moisture that could possibly exist in the current outside temperature.) Hot air can hold more moisture than cold air, which is why certain summer days feel muggy in addition to just plain hot.
Why does humidity make you feel hotter?
Imagine it’s hot outside and you’re sweating. Now, if the air is also humid, your sweat will evaporate slower. Sweat that stays on your skin is more insulating, making it harder for your body to cool down. This is why the outside temp can feel hotter than it actually is on humid summer days. When the air is dry, your sweat is able to evaporate quicker – making it easier for you to stay cool.
What health problems are associated with humidity?
Aside from feeling sticky, living in a humid environment can make certain health issues worse and might even cause new health problems to emerge. Here are some of the most common conditions made worse by humid environments:
Fungi, dust mites, mold, and mildew – all these contaminants thrive in a humid environment. These microorganisms can aggravate your allergies if the humidity levels in your home are not properly managed. Plus, high humidity allows these problematic microorganisms to stay airborne for longer amounts of time, giving you more time to breath them in. Want to know more about indoor air quality ? Read here.
It’s important to keep humidity levels down and also ensure proper air flow throughout the home. Not only is humid air harder to breath, but airborne mold and fungi particles thriving in the humid air – making your respiratory problems even worse.
Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Conditions
When the air is humid, the tissue in our body expands. This inflammation can cause even more pain for those those with sensitive tissue. Arthritis sufferers especially report less joint pain and stiffness in a climates that are dry.
Bacteria and viruses
The bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory illnesses thrive in humid environments. These airborne organisms can reproduce and are easier to breathe in when the air is muggy.
What is a comfortable level of humidity for my home and how can I achieve it?
For optimum health and comfort, the relative humidity in your home should be between 40 – 50%. The thermostat for your air conditioner or dehumidifier will sense the relative humidity in your home and adjust accordingly. Air conditioners take the hot air and moisture from inside your home and run it through cooling coils, eventually expelling the cooled air back into you home while pushing excess moisture outside where it will evaporate.
This is an effective process for removing excess humidity, however, if your main concern is the humidity within your living space, you might want to consider a dehumidifier.
Why would I need a dehumidifier if I already have an air conditioner?
Does someone in your household have allergies, asthma, or any of the other ailments discussed above? Do you feel like certain rooms in your house get “stuffy” on hot days? If you answered “yes,” consider adding a dehumidifier.
When the climate is humid, managing moisture levels is hard on your AC system. Air conditioners simply can’t handle humidity the way a dehumidifier can. A dehumidifier’s air-flow system is extremely efficient – extracting moisture from the air while pushing cooler, dryer air back into the room. By cooling the humid air first, the dehumidifier can collect excess moisture in the form of water, simultaneously reducing humidity levels. When you have a dehumidifier doing most of the work on muggy days, your air conditioner is free to focus on temperature. This can reduce the overall wear and tear to your air conditioner while providing the comfortable home environment you need.
For more information about managing humidity throughout your home, contact Moore Home Services today!