As the climates constantly change, people are exposed to various health problems. Among these problems some occur in our home environment such as dry air taken over your home. Understanding relative humidity and it’s affects is important.
Humidity plays a vital role to human comfort even though, we may not understand its mechanism. This may be as a result of the fact that we link humidity with hot, warming summer months, when we humidify and dehumidify our home air to achieve comfort. Hardly do we think how humidity relates to affect our comfort during winter season.
Increasing relative humidity levels in our home by humidifying the air is as beneficial to your home comfort and family health just like heating your home.
Relative humidity as defined by Wikipedia is the amount of vapor in percentage present in the air compare to the quantity of water the air can hold under that same condition. This means, warmer air can hold more moisture than cooler air.
For example, Home air heated to 70 degree Fahrenheit can hold up to 8 grains of moisture for each cubic foot, which is approximately 100% RH. So if you only have 2 grains of moisture per cubic foot in your home, this means only ¼ of the air capacity is able to hold moisture. Hence, the relative humidity is 25 percent and the air could hold 4x as much water.
These are the Symptoms of Low Indoor Humidity to Know
Here are the symptoms to note when you are experiencing low indoor humidity. These symptoms are also seen as the side effect of the lack of humidity. They are generally expressed in 2 areas like your skin and respiratory organs.
-Sore or Scratchy Throat.
-Dry nasal passages.
How relative humidity does relate to indoor comfort?
The importance of how relative humidity relates with indoor comfort comes to play when our home air is heated. During winter weeks, outdoor air finds its way into the home. When relative humidity levels goes below recommended levels, dry air occurs. This can cause your household and you problems that include the following:
1. Health problems: Homes that lack humidity houses dry air. Dry air can trigger allergy and asthma issues. It also encourages sinuses infections and accelerates its progression and spreading of flu and cold viruses in the atmosphere.
2. Discomfort: Dry air would make you feel sometimes cooler at standard temperature settings. Due to low RH level in the air, it would hold more moisture. This makes the air absorbs moisture from almost everything in your home including your skin. As the air draw water from your skin, you will feel cooler. Dry air is also known to cause painful and discomforting static shocks.
3. Home damage: Extraction and addition of moisture in your house adversely affects the qualities of home materials especially wooden furniture’s. As the weather changes relative humidity also changes, this make your wooden material absorbs and loses water. If desirable RH is not achieved, damages can occur to your furniture’s, and wood finishing.
4. Energy inefficiency: As dry air removes water from your body skin, you’ll feel cooler and you will also turn up the thermostats. This adds to increase your energy bills. In addition, dry air shrinks your window and door framing, which leave gaps that allow cold air coming into your house. This further makes indoor air less energy efficient. By keeping proper indoor relative humidity levels would help prevents plenty of problems.
Ways to increase indoor humidity levels
Since the rate at which we use heater is high during winter months, amount of moistures in our house usually drops. However reduced humidity causes dry skin, difficult breathing and feeling of static electricity. The good news, there are number of things you can do to maintain balanced of indoor humidity. Here are few methods that yield result effectively:
- Use a humidifier: A humidifier is use to add humidity to dry indoor air. Humidifiers come in different types, the portable and the whole house humidifier types. With this device you can add moisture to your home with ease. It is the easiest way to humidify a home but could be expensive to afford.
- Boil water on the stove: To increase humidity levels also, you can boil water. As the water evaporates your home will be humidified. This may not be effective for moisture to circulating through the entire house. Nevertheless you can lower your fans and turn on your HAVC fans on the “ON” position to promote circulation.
- Place bowls of water in your home: You can also add humidity by placing buckets or bowls of water in different locations in your home. As the vapors disappear into the air, you will have a better indoor air. Drawback, anybody especially your kids could knock it over.
Hang or dry clothes: Hanging wets clothes around after laundry can help eliminate dry air from your home environment. Just hang them in strategic positions where the waters is coming out won’t wet your floor and surrounding.
Practicing any of these tips on the ways to increasing RH levels will help restore healthy air.
Important facts about humidity
Understanding in-depth of relative humidity can help prevents all of the discomforting symptoms associated with dry air. Here is the summary list of the RH facts:
• RH is said to be the ratio of partial water vapor pressure in the air to the saturation vapor pressure in a defined atmosphere.
• RH is usually expressed in term of percent.
• RH present in the air is usually determined by both the amount of water vapor in the air and air temperature. The warmer the air, the more vapor it can hold and vice versa - the cooler the air, the lower amount of water vapor content.
• Recommended home relative humidity to suit human comfort is between 35 – 60%.
Understanding indoor relative humidity, the symptoms and how it relates to our comfort is very important to our health. If only we can be conscious of its effects, we will do all what it takes to keep RH balance in our home.
Freddie Eddie is a Statistician and content writer. He loves writing and disseminating information as part of his little contribution to humanity. He is the founder of pregnancy Wikipedia. Connect us @ our face book page