In many areas of life, the key is balance: neither too little nor too much, a happy medium. And when it comes to moisture in the air, that happy medium is between 30 and 50% humidity. But the weather outdoors might be causing your indoor air’s humidity to be quite far from that ideal percentage. What happens when the humidity in your home is at an extreme? And what can you do to bring it back to an ideal level? Here are our recommendations.
When Humidity is Too Low
During the winter, the moisture content of the air drops significantly. There’s a pretty simple reason for this. Colder air simply can’t hold as much moisture. And indoors, many types of heating systems further dry the air. Indoor air with low humidity can cause problems for people, such as respiratory irritation, dry skin and eyes, brittle or cracking hair and fingernails, and frequent static shocks. It can also cause problems for homes. Wood shrinks in low humidity, and furniture, flooring, window and door frames, cabinetry, and more can be cracked and damaged. Electronics can also suffer damage from high levels of static electricity. The solution to this is a humidifier.
When Humidity is Too High
Warmer air is able to hold more moisture, and throughout the summer and even the fall, humidity levels rise far beyond what is ideal for indoor air. Excessively high humidity has a wide variety of impacts. For one thing, air that’s already saturated with moisture will feel hotter on your skin than air the same temperature with lower humidity. Very humid air won’t help your perspiration evaporate, so your body’s natural cooling system won’t work. It also creates an ideal environment for mold to grow, which can have impacts on both your health and your home. Wood swells and expands, making doors difficult to close and potentially damaging other wood surfaces, and paint and wallpaper and even air handlers for your AC system can peel away from walls.
While air conditioners do cut the humidity somewhat, as condensation forms on the evaporator coils from a bit of moisture drawn out of the air, that is not the actual purpose of an air conditioner, so their impact is limited. The actual solution is a dehumidifier.
Portable vs. Whole Home
You might only have encountered portable versions of humidifiers and dehumidifiers. These have to be plugged into wall outlets, sometimes requiring extension cords or taking up valuable real estate in awkward parts of your home. They frequently need to have water added or removed, sometimes many times each day. And they provide a limited benefit, which is perfect for a small enclosed space such as a dorm room or in-law suite, but in a larger space, they will struggle continuously and be unable to significantly shift the overall humidity of the home. A whole home humidifier or dehumidifier can be added to your home’s HVAC system, and it is sized to suit your whole home, so you can achieve ideal humidity with ease and avoid all those potential problems.
If you’re thinking about humidifiers and dehumidifiers in Hibbing, MN, a whole-house system might be the perfect choice for you. If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to talk with you.
Reach out to Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning today. Service to you is success to us!