High humidity is certainly uncomfortable to deal with in the house. But more importantly, it can damage your possessions and cause health issues too. High levels of humidity are prevalent in summers or in regions near the sea level. HVAC systems can help you combat this humidity.
Although an extremely dry indoor ambience is not comfortable or advisable either, high humidity is certainly something that needs to be looked at and reduced.
So, how do you decide how much humidity is bad and why?
Here are a few reasons why humidity is not good, especially for the health of residents.
1. Body temperature
Humid air combined with high heat is extremely uncomfortable, compared to dry, hot atmosphere, because humidity reduces the body’s ability to regulate its own temperature. This causes overheating of the body.
Sweating is supposed to help cool down your body by letting moisture from your skin evaporate; but when the air is already saturated with a lot of water vapor (when humidity levels are above 70%), sweat cannot evaporate, and you continue to feel sticky and hot.
To compensate for this, your breathing becomes rapid, blood pumps faster, and you may feel sluggish or light-headed. As you lose salts and electrolytes, your body keeps heating up and you may get a heat stroke.
2. Respiratory infections
A humid environment is perfect for allergens like bacteria and viruses to breed and thrive in. Humidity also helps these contaminants remain airborne for longer, increasing the risk of respiratory infections. High humidity also results in an increase in fungi and dust mites.
Chemical contaminants like formaldehyde are released by objects in the house like carpets and wood products in a process called “off gassing”. Exposure to these can cause eye or skin irritation and respiratory problems.
3. Home décor damage
Humidity causes a lot of damage to household objects and furniture; especially anything that is made up of metal or wood. Rust, corrosion, and rotting due to moisture is common. Humidity also spoils fabrics and can cause stains.Damage to your furniture and other possessions is bad and having walls, flooring, or ceiling spoilt will even reduce the resale value of your property.
Causes of high humidity
1. Incorrect HVAC size
People wrongly opt for systems that are too small or too large for their space. The latter is found more often. A large system is very powerful and will constantly switch on and off. Hence, the system never runs long enough to be able to remove moisture from the air properly, leaving your indoors humid all the time.
2. Inadequate ventilation
Even though your HVAC system provides you filtered, conditioned air, fresh air and ventilation is paramount in your Northern California house. Rerouting of ductwork or some changes to system design can make a big difference.
3. Lack of cleaning and maintenance
No matter how efficient your system is, lack of regular cleaning, and preventive maintenance will lead to unclean and damaged parts, hampering the efficient removal of humidity from indoor air.