Unless you live in a region that experiences extreme humidity, you might not even realize that you’re dealing with humidity issues in your home. But you needn’t reside in Florida or Mississippi to have problems with humidity. In fact, those who live in arid climates likely have issues associated with a lack of moisture in the air. And if you’re unlucky, you could find yourself alternating between high and low humidity seasonally. But there are ways to combat the effects of extreme humidity levels in your home and strike a balance that leads to optimal comfort, safety, and personal health, all while helping to protect your home from potential damage associated with humidity issues (like condensation, mold, and mildew). Here are some tips to balance the humidity in your home.
To begin with, you’ll probably want to determine the type of humidity issues you’re dealing with. In most cases, you’ll know when humidity is too high because your skin will feel sticky and damp and you’ll start to see mold and mildew in your home. And when there isn’t enough humidity, you’ll likely suffer from dry skin and respiratory issues as a result. But you’ll get a better read on the problem by using a hygrometer. This tool will only cost you about twenty bucks and you can find one at your local hardware store or order one online from Amazon easily enough. From there you can take readings throughout your home and throughout the year to pinpoint problem areas and get an idea of the type of humidity levels you’re dealing with from one season to the next.
Of course, it helps if you have some idea of the percentage of humidity you’re supposed to maintain, and levels should fall somewhere above 25% and below 50%, although ideally, you’ll want to try to stay around 40-50% relative humidity in the summer and between 30-40% in the winter. But how do you achieve and maintain the level of humidity in your home year-round? There are a few options to explore.
First, you might want to conduct a home energy audit. This inspection and testing will result in a report detailing the areas of energy waste in your home. You’ll find out where leaks are occurring (letting outside air – and humidity – in), as well as discover problems with your insulation. From there you can add weather stripping, seal leaks around vents and pipes, and upgrade insulation in walls, windows, doors, and more to make your home more airtight and energy efficient. Of course, you’ll also need to address ventilation when you seal up your home to ensure that you can better control humidity and interior air quality when all is said and done, perhaps going so far as to integrate ductwork design guidelines for your new home that ensure proper ventilation. But these steps can certainly help you to keep the outside environment where it belongs.
Controlling the humidity inside is another issue, and you may need special equipment to increase or decrease humidity levels. Your AC unit will do some of the work when it comes to eliminating moisture in the air. But you might also want to install either humidifiers (to increase humidity) or dehumidifiers (to decrease moisture) in order to balance the levels in your home. You can either use portable units as needed or think about installing a whole-home system that integrates with your existing HVAC, depending on the scope of your humidity issues. The end result will be a home interior that is more comfortable, an atmosphere that is conducive to good health, and far fewer structural issues related to humidity imbalance.