The Effects of Summer Humidity on Your Health and Home

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Depiction of humidity that causes water droplets on glass with H2O written in the water.

According to the Florida Climate Center, Florida is the most humid state in the USA. Paired with record-breaking temperatures, high levels of humidity can be harmful to your health and home. There are many ways to reduce humidity in your household. Let’s explore some of the ways to keep you, your family, and your property safe from heat and humidity damage.

Humidity Explained

To understand humidity, you’ll first need to know that there is water in the form of a gas in the air at all times. Humidity is the concentration of water vapor in the air. The higher the humidity is in a given space, the more damp or wet it will feel.

When heat levels are high, your body’s natural response should be to perspire. At that moment, the body cools down. When humidity levels are high, the warm moisture remains on your body for longer – making you feel even more hot and exhausted. Weather services refer to this as the ‘heat index.’

Let’s say the thermometer in your backyard reads 95°F with a relative humidity of 67 percent. The heat index, which is the temperature your body feels, is 120°F. An ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is between 30-50 percent.

High heat paired with high humidity can contribute to fatigue, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke – not to mention a higher electricity bill thanks to the added strain on your AC!

Health Problems Caused by High Humidity Levels

High levels of humidity can increase harmful concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In your home, VOCs exist in things like paints, cleaning products and wood preservatives.

When humidity levels are high, more VOCs find their way into the air making it easier for us to inhale them. Studies show that breathing in too many of these irritants can be very harmful to our health.

When humidity levels are high, you might suffer from any of these problems:

  • A blocked nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • A cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

People who suffer from long-term health issues like arthritis are also more likely to feel joint pain on humid days.

Controlling Adverse Factors Related to High Humidity

Mold, mildew spores and dust mites all love a humid environment. Exposure to these substances can make your allergies, asthma, or respiratory symptoms far worse.

Certain viruses and bacteria also thrive in a humid environment. For instance, experts believe that, in order to keep COVID-19 at bay, keeping your home well ventilated and humidity at 40%-60% is optimal to reduce the spread of the virus.

The best way to control humidity levels in your home is through your central air conditioning system. Assuming your AC is the correct size, it will greatly help in removing heat and humidity from the home.

Other ways to reduce humidity levels include:

  • Using exhaust or ventilation fans
  • Purchasing a dehumidifier
  • Fix leaking pipes and faucets
  • Clean your air filters and make sure there are no leaks in your ac system
  • Placing charcoal briquettes in a basket can actually help absorb moisture from the air

How High Humidity Can Damage Your Home

When the humidity in a room is too high, it can cause damage to the internal components of any electronics you may have.

Condensation is a key indicator that there is too much moisture on or around an electrical component.  Condensation happens when warmer air comes in contact with a cool surface. If condensation builds up inside an electrical component, it can cause rust and corrosion. This can even lead them to short-circuit. Maintaining the temperature and humidity at a reasonable level reduces condensation.

Furnishings and Home Décor

Excess moisture in the air contributes to mildew and mold growth on surfaces and home furnishings such as walls, curtains, carpets, and furniture. Drywall can collect moisture over time, causing mold buildup or even weakening the structural integrity of your home. Woodwork and moldings might also swell and expand in moist conditions, leading to further structural damage.

Live a Healthier and More Comfortable Life

Humidity can be a burden on your health and home. However, keeping your air conditioner maintained and in peak condition can be your best line of defense. At Scott’s Heating and Air Conditioning, our mission is to ensure our customers are living in a comfortable home. If your air conditioner is not working correctly or if you feel as though your house may be too humid, contact us. We will come out right away to help diagnose the issue.

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