The ideal humidity range for homes and indoor spaces is between 40 to 60% for a comfortable and healthy living environment. For spaces suffering from higher indoor relative humidity, spending time indoors may not just be uncomfortable, but also unhealthy. Air pollutants thrive with high home humidity levels and the overall indoor air quality of the space plummets.
But how do you know when there is too much humidity? After all, good humidity regulation requires humidity. We’ll break down some important signs to watch out for and what you can do to remove extra moisture from your indoor space.
1. Condensation on Windows and Doors
The only time you should notice condensation indoors is when you’re enjoying a cold drink. Water beads that form on the outside of glasses are normal. This type of condensation is why most of us choose to place coasters under our drinks, in an effort to maintain furniture.
What’s not normal, however, is condensation build-up on the inside of windows or doors. Condensation on the exterior side of windows and doors is a form of dew and is common depending on the weather and time of day. When the build-up is on the interior side though, this is the most noticeable sign that your home is suffering from an excess of humidity. It’s important to note when interior condensation is happening, because it can serve as a warning sign that there is likely further damage already occurring.
High humidity home levels will slowly cause structural damage. Excess humidity will both destroy the structure of your home and the items in it. How you notice these changes will depend on the materials in your home. Stucco will crumble and slowly tear apart. Wood floors and wood furniture will warp due to high humidity. Paint indoors can either chip, crumble or peel. Another sign of poor indoor humidity regulation is water bubbles on the exterior paint of your home. Finally, make sure to watch for wet stains on ceilings and any discoloration (usually a yellow or rust hue) throughout the home.
3. Sleeping Problems
It can be surprising just how much of an effect poor indoor relative humidity can have. High humidity levels in a home can create sleeping problems and poor sleep quality for occupants. This is because warm and wet indoor conditions can impact your ability to sleep comfortably. When there’s too much moisture in the air, your body has to work that much harder to cool itself down and regulate throughout the night. Because of this, it might be too hot to fall asleep or even stay asleep.
4. Physical Symptoms
There are unfortunately physical symptoms that arise from high humidity that can affect occupants as well. Some of these symptoms include:
- Chronic cough
- Difficulty breathing
- Mild to severe headaches
High humidity gives life to bacteria, viruses and allergens in the air. It activates them, increasing the chances you and your family are adversely affected by your indoor air. If the humidity is too high, you may also feel a tightness in your chest. And if you’re exposed to poor indoor humidity levels for too long, one could also develop asthma-like symptoms.
5. Signs of Mold
One of the most problematic consequences of too much humidity is mold. Most commonly, mold forms in bathrooms or basements where moisture is often more stagnant and remains in a space for longer periods of time without proper ventilation. For this reason, you can also often find mold growth on ceilings or in the corners of walls. Mold is a particularly problematic air pollutant because it spreads easily through microscopic mold spores. Does your house smell musty or perhaps just noticeably off? This could be from mold growing as well. If you notice an odor but can’t find any visible mold growth, you should still call a professional because it can grow before becoming noticeable. Excess humidity can at first present through invisible factors.
The Solution? Whole-Home Dehumidifiers
The best way to regulate indoor humidity levels in your home or indoor space is by upgrading to a whole-home humidity system. To remove excess humidity and better balance your space’s indoor relative humidity, we suggest whole-home dehumidifiers. A dehumidifier quite literally uses an internal fan to capture air and remove moisture from air particles to ensure only drier air remains in circulation. These systems are highly efficient and can remove between 70-155 pints of water each day from your indoor air (depending on the model). Choosing the ideal dehumidifier depends on the size of your home, business or indoor space. The dehumidifier will attach directly to your HVAC system–a painless and worry-free process.
While choosing to upgrade your HVAC system may feel like a big step, it’s important to remember the many ways poor humidity regulation impacts the health of those in your home and the quality of your indoor space. Choosing to balance and ensure ideal humidity levels is often the better and more cost-efficient step in the long run.