Although the summer heat in Tigard can become uncomfortable at times, it’s the humidity that can truly make things unbearable. This is especially true inside your home, where an out-of-balance humidity level can upset your indoor environment, make it difficult to do some of your daily activities, and even damage your residence. If you can determine the ideal indoor humidity level for your home, you can then take steps to correct that humidity and make your home more comfortable.
Measuring Humidity in Your Home
To determine if your home has a comfortable level of humidity, you need a device that can provide objective readings of the moisture in the air. This device is called a hygrometer. Digital hygrometers are the easiest to use. They measure humidity by using a material that absorbs small amounts of moisture from the air. When an electrical current is passed through this absorbent material, the hygrometer can sense how damp the material is and calculate the humidity level in your home.
It’s important to look for a hygrometer that is rated to within 5% accuracy. Typically, hygrometers used to detect humidity in humidors are the most accurate since even small deviations in the humidity level in a humidor can negatively affect the quality of the cigars. Our professionals at Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC can recommend a hygrometer for your home if you’re having trouble choosing one.
Typical Ideal Humidity Level
Now that you’ve got a hygrometer to measure the humidity level in your home, it’s a good idea to know what your hygrometer should read. Ideally, you want to keep the humidity level between 30% and 50%. Anything higher or lower than these levels will likely feel uncomfortable and could cause damage to certain materials in your residence.
It’s important to note that the ideal humidity level is a range and not a specific number. The indoor humidity level will likely fluctuate throughout the day as the outside humidity changes. Differences in home size, construction type, and age can also affect how much humidity will be in the air in your home at a given time.
Understanding Relative Humidity
When your hygrometer detects the humidity level in your home, it will display it as a percentage. This percentage is a reading of the relative humidity. Relative humidity measures how much moisture the air can hold compared to how much it’s currently holding. This is important to note because warmer air is able to hold more moisture before it becomes saturated. That’s why the outside air in the summer tends to be more humid than the outside air in the winter.
When measuring the humidity level in your home, it’s important to keep in mind the current temperature of your house so that you can be sure you have a proper humidity level. Many hygrometers double as thermometers so that they can make quick calculations on the current relative humidity in your home to be sure it’s at a safe and comfortable level.
Changing Temperatures and Humidity Levels
It’s critical to understand that the way in which your body experiences humidity in your home will likely change as the temperature changes. While 50% relative humidity is always 50% of the saturation point for the air at a given temperature, 50% relative humidity will still likely feel more comfortable when your home is warmer than when it is cooler. During the summer, levels of humidity that are even higher than 50% would likely feel comfortable because of the higher saturation point of warmer air. However, these higher humidity levels wouldn’t do much good for the interior finishes in your house.
The opposite is also true. If you’ve ever checked the outdoor humidity levels during the winter, you’ve likely noticed that they tend to be lower than the outdoor humidity levels in the summer. To mimic this natural occurrence in your home, it’s generally a good idea to keep the humidity level inside your residence closer to the 30% mark when the air in your home is cooler.
Problems With Too Much Humidity
If you keep the humidity level in your home too high, you could experience a variety of problems. Many of the interior finishes in your home naturally absorb moisture from the air. If there’s too much moisture, these finishes will become damp and could begin to fall apart. You’ll also likely notice doors sticking to their frames because the wood swells up because of the excess moisture.
There’s also a much higher risk of mold and mildew growth in humid environments. Mold can cause individuals in your family to suffer from a variety of symptoms, so it’s important to do all you can to keep your home free from mold. You can have our team at Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC install a whole-home dehumidifier to control excess humidity in your residence.
Problems With Too Little Humidity
While high humidity levels can cause a lot of problems, it’s important not to overcorrect and leave the humidity level in your home too low. One immediate side effect of a low humidity level is dry skin. Your skin absorbs moisture from the surrounding air so that it stays soft. In an arid environment, your skin will crack and split, giving you a bad case of uncomfortable “winter hands.”
Low humidity levels can also cause wood furniture and doors to crack because they also need appropriate levels of internal moisture. You can also have us at Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC install a whole-home humidifier to keep the humidity levels in your home in balance.
How to Control the Humidity Level in Your Home
Many of the activities you do every day affect how much humidity is in your indoor atmosphere. Something as simple as boiling a pot of water on the stove can add a significant amount of water vapor to the air in your kitchen. To provide the best control, it’s good to have both a whole-home humidifier and a whole-home dehumidifier. If there are only one or two rooms in your home that struggle to maintain proper humidity levels, you can utilize a portable humidifier or dehumidifier to get the humidity levels under control.
You can also take more simple actions like opening a few windows on days when the outdoor humidity is low so that some of that dry air can make its way into your house. Another great way to keep the humidity level in your home more consistent is to fill in gaps and cracks around doors and windows. This reduces the flow of outdoor air into your home so that you can control the humidity level with your HVAC system.
Your Comfort Is Our Priority
When you’re dealing with an uncomfortable home, call our professionals at Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC for help. We install home comfort equipment, maintain air conditioners, repair furnaces, install water heaters, maintain generators, perform commercial HVAC services, and much more. For over 35 years, we’ve been working hard to give our very best to every customer. That’s why we are rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and consistently receive five-star reviews from our customers. To learn more about maintaining proper humidity levels in your Tigard home, contact us at Specialty Heating & Cooling LLC today.