Here in Minnesota, we don’t have the most humid or arid climate in the country, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention to humidity levels inside your home.
Indoor relative humidity readings that fall outside the EPA’s recommended range can affect your HVAC system performance, diminish your indoor air quality, and may even cause health issues. That’s why it’s so important to not only monitor indoor moisture levels but also reduce relative humidity that’s outside the recommended range.
Read on to learn what you need to know about indoor relative humidity, why you should monitor it, and how you can reduce it if it gets too high.
What’s the Appropriate Indoor Humidity Range?
First and foremost, you should know what an appropriate ambient moisture level is for your home. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, relative indoor humidity (RH) should fall between 30%-50%, regardless of the time of year.
An RH level of up to 60% is fine, but anything above that can diminish your indoor air quality and potentially cause health issues. The same idea applies when levels are below 30%.
Signs Your Indoor Humidity Is Too High or Too Low
If you don’t have a humidity monitor on your thermostat or somewhere else in your home, it can be a little tough to tell whether your RH is out of range. That said, a few of the signs you might notice include:
● High humidity. Mold, mildew, pest infestations, rotting wood, musty odor, and thick, heavy-feeling indoor air
● Low humidity. Dry skin, dry nasal passages, dry eyes, breathing issues, and dehydrated wood that may develop cracks due to lack of moisture
Since mold, mildew, pests, and wood rot can negatively affect your indoor air quality, it’s imperative that you address these issues promptly if you notice them. Sensitive individuals may suffer respiratory problems, skin rashes, and allergies when indoor moisture levels are too high.
Measuring Indoor Humidity Levels
If you want to find out exactly what your home’s relative indoor humidity level is, you can either buy a standalone device that’ll measure it (a hygrometer) or get a thermostat that measures it. Of the two options, standalone hygrometers may be more useful since they can be placed in every room of your home.
It’s not uncommon for humidity levels to vary from room to room, and measuring each room can alert you to problems you weren’t previously aware of. If some areas of your home have higher readings than others, you may have a sneaky water leak somewhere that’s introducing moisture to hidden areas of your home.
How Can You Control Indoor Humidity?
Whether you suspect your home has high humidity or get hygrometers that yield high moisture readings, you’ll want to quickly take measures to tackle the problem. Allowing your home to remain too humid can easily cause problems over time, both in terms of your health and the health of your home.
What kind of measures should you take? Here are a few things you can do to help bring down high relative humidity and maintain optimal moisture levels inside your home.
Schedule Professional A/C Cleaning and Maintenance
If you have a central a/c system, it’s designed to remove excess moisture from your indoor air as it recirculates that air through the system. But if you don’t have your a/c unit professionally cleaned on a routine basis, it may not be able to perform that job adequately.
Scheduling a/c cleaning once a year is an excellent way to help ensure your HVAC system can effectively control indoor moisture levels. Having a pro inspect, clean, and maintain your air conditioner will also alert you to any potential issues that could impact the unit’s performance and reduce its lifespan over time.
If the air in your home is chronically dry, implementing humidifiers in various rooms around your house can make a big difference. Just make sure you monitor RH levels closely if you decide to use humidifiers so ambient moisture doesn’t get out of control.
Install an Air Purification System
If you think your home may have poor indoor air quality due to prolonged low or high RH levels, consider implementing an air purification system to help clean up the air.
Portable air purification units featuring HEPA filters can be a good option, as they filter out 99.7% of all airborne particles sized 0.3 microns or larger. Some devices also come with other air-purifying features like ionization, ozonation, or ultraviolet irradiation that further clean air as it passes through. These features can effectively kill airborne virus particles, bacteria, and fungi while removing odor-causing particles from the air.
Whole-house air purification systems offer more comprehensive cleaning and filtering because they sit within the HVAC system, cleaning all of the air that passes through. However, that functionality comes at a substantial cost, not only because these systems are highly effective but also because they require professional installation.
Check out Air Purification Systems: Which Type Is Best for Your Home? to learn more about choosing the right system for your needs.
Schedule Professional Air Duct Cleaning
Professional duct cleaning can also help keep relative indoor humidity within the recommended range. A thorough cleaning will remove lingering moisture, debris, mold spores, and other allergy-triggering particles that your duct system may be forcing into your indoor air.
Encourage More Air Circulation
Whether your indoor air has a bit too much moisture or a bit too little, improving air circulation throughout your house can help. To do that, you can place portable fans in various rooms or open windows to let fresh air inside your home. But only open your windows if it makes sense to do so considering current humidity levels outdoors.
Make sure you use the exhaust fan above your range each time you cook, too. That’ll help prevent excessive cooking-related steam, which can drive up humidity levels inside your kitchen and elsewhere.
Ready to Boost Your Indoor Air Quality? Get in Touch With Dust Doctors
Worried your relative indoor humidity levels are too high? Let our team at Dust Doctors handle it! We specialize in a comprehensive suite of services designed to improve indoor air quality, including a/c maintenance, furnace maintenance, duct cleaning, and air purification systems. We’ll help you determine the best way to reduce your indoor humidity levels, so you can enjoy cleaner air inside your home.
To learn more or get started, call our Little Canada, MN office today at 651-319-9777 or contact us online. You can also request a free quote, and we’ll be in touch!
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