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We spend around 90% of our time each day indoors. Therefore, the importance of our indoor environment cannot be overlooked.
We need to maintain a healthy indoor environment without compromising on the comfort level. We need to think of our home as our body which requires proper hydration for maintaining its health and comfort of others living in it.
Importance of Relative Humidity (RH) levels in our homes
You will be surprised to know that usually indoor relative humidity surpasses outdoor relative humidity and this happens mainly due to certain activities like washing, cooking, drying and bathing that are performed indoors.
Between 30 and 55 % Relative Humidity is required for maintaining optimal wellbeing of the building and the health of its occupants. If the range exceeds this, the emergence of bacteria, viruses, fungi, ozone production and increased chemical offgasing is encouraged.
To improve the humidity levels within the household environment can be controlled by allowing fresh air into the indoor premises via fixed vents (also called uncontrolled ventilation) or through opening windows and doors.
However, this doesn’t always work because the RH level of the outdoor air is either too high or too low and therefore it is often unable to create a perfectly healthy indoor environment.
Additional damages are done by still days that regulate insufficient airflow and thus pollution levels within the indoors increases substantially. On the other hand windy days offer sufficient airflow, which subsequently reduces and even removes indoor pollutants.
However, outdoor drafts can also considerably affect comfort and energy costs by reducing the efficiency of heating/cooling systems.
What are the effects of Low Humidity?
During winters, when the weather is extremely cold such as in Ottawa, the outdoor air’s natural moisture vanishes which prompts a variety of problems including breathing disturbances, dry/bleeding noses, cracked/itchy skin, sore throats, static electricity, dust build-up, dried-out joints in wood furniture and/or musical instruments, etc.
Homes that are old and less energy-efficient tend to suffer most from low humidity.
What are the effects of High Humidity?
If there is too much moisture present in the indoor environment, wet air gets trapped in specific areas such as bathrooms, ceilings, basement, corners and other such enclosed spots. Moisture usually gathers in the corners and creates mildew which is at times difficult to get rid of.
Another issue promoted by high humidity level is of condensation. It can accumulate in the windows or other such openings and causes the water to drip down and rot the wooden window frames. The areas highly susceptible to condensation include kitchens, bathrooms and laundry area.
High humidity levels means excessive moisture in the air and this is the perfect opportunity for bacteria and mold that need humidity for breeding and if left unchecked this can cause serious health issues. This also paves the way for insects and pests invasion (such as termites and cockroaches).
Therefore, the importance of maintaining appropriate and balanced humidity levels within the household is paramount. Since you spend the majority of a day indoors, that’s why it becomes an obligation to keep the environment healthy and fresh.
Do you maintain a normal Humidity Level in Your Home?
In any indoor area, the appropriate humidity level must be somewhere between 35% and 45%. A few easy, inexpensive and simple tests will inform you about the RH level in your home.
How can we Eliminate Excess Humidity?
Humidity in simple words is the moisture in the air and therefore, it isn’t the heat only that encourages high humidity levels in the home. Even human, plants and pets produce moisture through breathing. Humidity of this type is unavoidable but there are several ways through which you can lessen indoor moisture.
For homes where humidity levels are way too high (always above 50%) and cannot be solved by the easy fixes above, the best option is to invest in a dehumidifier. Learn more about dehumidifiers below: