Is 70 Percent Humidity? The importance of keeping your home’s relative humidity to an optimal level cannot be overemphasized. Not only does the humidity level affect the overall comfort level you and other people in your home will feel, excessively high and low humidity can also have different effects on people and things in your home.
Generally, it is recommended that you keep the indoor humidity level between 30 to 50%. Thus, a humidity level of up to 70% is too high and will be uncomfortable. High humidity levels can also lead to a long list of troubles and costly damages for a homeowner.
What is humidity?
By way of definition, humidity refers to the amount of moisture or water vapor that is present in a column of air at any given time.
The term that is usually used when describing indoor humidity in a particular space is “relative humidity”. This refers to the percentage of water vapor in the air at a specific temperature in comparison to the amount of water vapor that the air can hold at that temperature.
Typically, warm air will hold a higher amount of moisture compared to cold air. This is why the level of relative humidity level will be higher in summer while the cold winter air is typically sharp and dry. Air is said to be fully saturated when the relative humidity is at 100%.
What Humidity Level Can Be Considered Healthy?
Usually, experts recommend keeping the relative humidity of your indoor space to somewhere between 30 to 50%. People usually find a relative humidity level within this range comfortable. Above this, the humidity level will be considered too high and anything below it will be too low for comfort. High and low humidity levels also have debilitating effects on people and things.
Consequences Of High Humidity
When you notice condensation on your windows (especially in the morning) or smell a musty odor, you should suspect that the humidity level of your home is too high. Usually, as the outdoor temperature rises, the humidity level in your indoor space is bound to rise as well. The following are some of the consequences of excessive indoor humidity.
- Dust mites: Dust mites are microscopic pests that trigger asthma and other respiratory problems. They are typically found in soft home furnishings like carpets, beds, upholstered furniture, and items of close and they thrive most under high humidity conditions (at 70% Relative humidity and above). Keeping your Relative Humidity level below 60% can effectively reduce dust mites.
- Mold: Perhaps the most well-known consequence of excessive humidity level is mold growth. These tiny fungi thrive in humidity levels of 70% and above. However, mold growth may occur even at lower humidity levels than this (anywhere above 55%). Mold release spores into the air which can trigger allergy symptoms, asthma, and other respiratory issues.
- Structural damage: high humidity levels can also affect your building. Excessive moisture levels increase the risk of rot in the wooden parts of your structure.
- Pest: bugs and other pests love high humidity spaces. They are drawn to water and will thrive must in the warm musty recesses of your basement, crawl space, and other high humidity areas in your home.
Generally, high humidity levels can be dangerous to people and animals especially when combined with high-temperature levels (which is usually the case). It impedes the body’s natural function of cooling itself leading to heatstroke. People with heart issues, asthma, and other conditions are advised to always stay in spaces with optimal humidity levels.
Effects Of Low Humidity
Low humidity is just as much of a problem as a high humidity level. When outdoor temperature drops, the humidity level in your indoor space is also likely to drop as well as leaving the air dry and uncomfortable. A drop of about 10% is a significant drop with noticeable effects. For references, the relative humidity level in the Sahara Desert. Hence, any drop in humidity below 30% will have noticeable effects on people, things, and buildings.
Some of the most obvious signs of low humidity are dryness in the eye, throat, and nasal cavity. This can leave you prone to a wide range of respiratory issues. Also, the fact that the viruses and other microorganisms that cause flu or cold are more likely to survive longer under the dry and cool conditions of a low-humidity space increases the chances of being infected by them.
Low humidity levels also affect your home. The paints on the wall are likely to become dry and may flake off. Dry air also gives rise to a phenomenon known as static electricity which can damage electrical appliances in the home. You may also notice damage to your woodwork in form of warping, separation, shrinkages, and so on all thanks to abnormally low humidity levels.
What To Do When The Humidity Level Is Above 70%
Considering all the negative effects of high humidity levels, it is recommended that you keep your home’s relative humidity at an optimal level. Some of the measures you can take when you notice your home humidity level get too high include
Install a good quality dehumidifier: this helps to get rid of excess humidity in your living space, basement, or crawlspaces. It can be installed directly into your heating and cooling system or as a separate portable unit for specific rooms of your home.
Check your dehumidifier (or humidifier) for faults or wrong settings: If you have a humidifier already but you are still experiencing humidity levels of about 50%, you should see if the unit is functioning properly and the setting is correct. The same applies to cases where you are using a humidifier to add moisture to your space. You may need to turn off the unit completely or turn it down to ensure it is functioning at the right humidity level.
Check your ventilation: simply improving air circulation in your space can go a long way in reducing humidity. Check the vents in your home especially for spaces like showers, bathrooms, and kitchens that account for a high percentage of moisture.
In addition to all of these, some of the other things that can be done to control indoor humidity levels include
- Cover pans and pots when you cook
- Avoid drying clothes indoors
- Use carpet flooring (they help trap moisture)
- Make sure your AC unit is the right size for your space
- Decrease the number of indoor plants
- Limits your use of hot water to bathe or wash.
Keeping your indoor space at optimal humidity levels will ensure optimal comfort levels at all times. It is also great for your health and to protects your building and indoor fixtures. The recommended range of humidity is between 30 to 50%. Anything above or below this will be abnormal which means a humidity level of 70% is too high and you should take steps (as recommended above to reduce the humidity level) to avoid unwanted issues.