When temperatures go up outside, folks will likely comment, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity.” That same issue can persist in your home all year long. The humidity levels in your home determine how comfortable your living space will be. Those levels in your home are more than just making you comfortable when you’re watching TV or sleeping at night.

Your home’s humidity level can also impact its physical structure. In extreme cases of elevated humidity, it can trigger the growth of mold or the spread of bacteria, putting everyone in the home at risk. Fortunately, help can be found with a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Which one is best for your home? That depends on your humidity levels.

What Is Humidity?

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in the air. You can’t see the vapor, but every room in the house has some level of humidity. If the air becomes completely saturated with water vapor, then it would register as 100% humidity. An ideal humidity level for your home should be between 30% and 50%.

Where you live also impacts your ability to achieve that ideal humidity level goal. In Florida, the average outdoor relative humidity is around 75%. That points out the need for some outside help.

The Impact of High Humidity Levels

What happens when the relative humidity levels tip over 50%? You’ll start feeling the effects physically. Here are some issues that could be an area of concern, especially if there are preexisting health issues:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Allergy flare-ups
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat stroke

Around the house, those high humidity levels can trigger problems with your home’s structure and cosmetic elements. Consider these high humidity problems around the house:

  • Excessive condensation that causes dampness on windows, walls, and floors
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Stains on the walls
  • Warping of wood products such as furniture and musical instruments
  • Increased risk of mold and mildew growth
  • Increased risk of dust mites

The Impact of Low Humidity Levels

At the other end of the spectrum is the impact low humidity levels can have on your living environment. When the humidity in the home drops below 30%, you could begin to have issues such as dry, flaky, itchy skin, and a scratchy throat.

You might also experience dried-out and inflamed sinus membranes and nasal congestion. There could also be an increased risk of colds, flu, and other infections.

You might also start to see more cracked furniture, musical instruments, and wood flooring. And some of your photo albums and books could dry out and start to curl around the edges.

Avoiding these extremes begins by knowing the humidity level in your home and taking a proactive approach to balance those levels.

Humidity Level Testing in the Home

The most efficient way to measure your home’s humidity level is to turn that task over to a reputable HVAC company. They will likely utilize a hygrometer that will measure the amount of water vapor in your home’s air. Those professionals will also be in the best position to discuss how your air conditioning and heating use can change the humidity levels. Additionally, the service experts can spot any areas in the home that might need to be sealed up to prevent a change in the levels.

Now that you have a humidity level, you will need to decide whether a humidifier or dehumidifier will provide the balance you seek.

How a Humidifier Works

A humidifier adds moisture to the air. It does that by pulling dry air into the unit and saturating it with moisture. Then, the unit sends the “improved air” back into circulation throughout your home. A humidifier is a practical choice when you constantly run your home heating in the colder winter months. Excessive heat dries out the moisture in the air and starts a cycle of problems.

A humidifier adds moisture to your home’s air, making it feel warmer. When the air is moist it holds heat more effectively than dry air. Again, you won’t be able to see this moisture, but you’ll be able to feel it.

How a Dehumidifier Works

As you might assume, a dehumidifier does the opposite of a humidifier. When engaged, the dehumidifier pulls humid air into the unit and extracts the moisture. The air then passes through an array of cooling agents that remove moisture. That moisture will find its way to a reservoir bucket that you will need to periodically remove from the unit and emptied.

Dehumidifiers work best in the summer months when the warm outdoor air makes its way into your home. A dehumidifier also works best year-round in tropical climates with high indoor humidity levels. That would be exactly the type of weather you experience here in Florida.

How to Choose Between a Humidifier and Dehumidifier

What is best for your home: a humidifier or a dehumidifier? There are some scenarios where you could benefit from both options. To decide what the better option is for your living space, you will have to consider a few factors.

First, think about any ongoing respiratory issues, such as recurring colds and flu. High humidity levels would also be an issue if someone in your home has allergies. If you also experience dry, itchy skin and eyes, an appropriately sized humidifier will add moisture to your dry air.

On the other hand, you might constantly think your home feels sticky. If you’ve noticed stains on your walls or condensation on your windows or walls, you could be dealing with low humidity levels. That is also the “red flag” you have to watch out for with mold and bacteria growth. In those situations, a dehumidifier is the better option to achieve the desired balance.

Picking the Right Model

Once you know what direction you need to go with a humidifier or dehumidifier, you’ll need to pick the suitable appliance model. That process would be similar to picking out an appropriate air conditioner unit. You have to gauge your home’s size to ensure the device can meet the demands. This is another area where you should rely on an experienced HVAC technician.

Your Trusted Plumbing and HVAC Professionals

The team from Titanz Plumbing & Air Conditioning has been helping homeowners and businesses in Southwest Florida with all their HVAC service needs since 2007. That includes emergency services for AC repair, which is very important for Florida residents. They also provide plumbing services like drain cleaning and water heater installation.

Additionally, they can set up a maintenance plan that provides annual tune-ups of your HVAC systems. They understand the environment and how humidity levels can impact the living environment.

A thorough humidity level assessment and recommendation for the right unit will only take one session. The techs will be able to provide installation from start to finish. They can set up an ongoing maintenance schedule to ensure those appliances will run at peak efficiency.

When you consider all the time you spend in your home, you owe it to yourself and your family to maintain a comfortable humidity level. The right humidifier or dehumidifier can get you there. Call Titanz Plumbing & Air Conditioning to get started, ask about our air purifiers and AC maintenance!

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