You’ve heard the term “humidity” used in describing the weather. Someone may say “there’s a lot of humidity in the air today” or “it’s a humid day.” However, humidity doesn’t just affect the weather. It can also impact your home.
Humidity Inside the Home
Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air, and it can vary inside the house just like it can outdoors. It changes when you turn on or off a heater or air conditioner because they can dry out the air. It may increase if you open a window or take a steamy shower.
Your level of humidity also varies by room. The kitchen and bathrooms are likely to be more humid than your bedroom and living area. Water from baths and showers as well as that used in cooking can change the level of humidity in the area.
How Humidity Affects the Home
The level of humidity can have positive and negative effects on your home. Since much of your house is made of wood, humidity can impact how it functions. A dry room with little humidity can cause wood to contract whereas a room with high humidity may have boards expanding. You’ll notice this if you have a wood floor.
High humidity causes bacteria to grow. You may see tiny areas where black spots are forming. This can be an indication of mold caused by high humidity. The mold will continue to grow once it’s formed, and it can spread throughout the room.
You do need some humidity to keep your home from being too dry. When there’s no moisture in the air, it can cause wood to dry out and crack. However, you need to monitor the level of humidity and make sure it stays at the right level.
Recognizing Humidity Issues
If you see condensation forming, it’s an indication that you may have issues with humidity. For instance, you may see it on windows. It just means the outside air is hitting the warmer inside air. You can install double-paned windows and caulk around them to reduce this problem.
Good ventilation will reduce humidity in the air. For instance, you can open the bathroom door when you’re done with your shower to get rid of excess humidity.
Dealing with Major Humidity Problems
Sometimes high levels of humidity are caused by an underlying issue. For instance, a leak in the roof or foundation can allow water in. The humidity from the water can allow mold to grow. Moisture from the ground under a crawl space can get inside while a sealed fireplace can also provide entry for extra humidity.
You may not always be able to identify the source of your moisture problem. Often the issue is under the ground, in the attic or elsewhere that you can’t see. You may notice the effects through mold and mildew as well as wood that cracks or beads of water forming in certain areas.
You can test the humidity levels throughout your home. If you discover the level is too low, run a humidifier. If they are too high, you may need a dehumidifier. However, you might still want to contact a professional if you don’t know what’s causing the change. They can do an inspection of your home and tell you where the problem lies and how to fix it.
Your furnace or air conditioning system may also be the culprit of excessive levels of humidity in your home if they aren’t working correctly or have leaks around where they enter the house. You can improve the air quality of your home with a new system. Contact Riley Heating and Air Conditioning to find out more about how our products can modulate the humidity in your home and provide a comfortable, healthy living space.