Keeping indoor humidity controlled year round is important, since both too much and too little moisture in the air pose their own problems. Ideally, home humidity levels should be between 30 and 50 percent during all seasons. Humid summer weather and harsh, dry winters in Northern Michigan can make maintaining those levels difficult, but with a bit of planning and the right equipment, homeowners can strike the right balance.
High levels of moisture in the air are absorbed by walls, furnishings and carpets. This can lead to rotting wood, water stains, swollen sheet rock, and development of mold and mildew in the home, often in hidden areas, such as inside walls or under carpets. Excessive moisture also can lead to increased growth of bacteria and dust mites, which like mold, can cause health issues, especially in residents with allergies, asthma or other respiratory disorders.
Excessive humidity is usually an issue during summer. Air conditioning systems do remove some humidity from the air as a side effect of cooling, particularly newer, two-stage systems. However, if your A/C isn’t keeping home humidity below 50 percent, a dehumidifier can help. Whole-house dehumidifiers connected to your forced-air HVAC system are typically most efficient at controlling home humidity, but stand-alone or portable units can also be helpful, especially in smaller areas such a finished basement. Also, make sure proper ventilation is present and used in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms to carry moisture from bathing, cooking and clothes drying outside the home.
Dry air, typically occurring during the winter heating season, increases the incidence of respiratory infections, since dry nasal passages are more susceptible to invasion by viruses and bacteria. Breathing can become difficult in dry air, and skin dryness and irritation are common. Static electricity is also common, which can damage electronic equipment, and wood flooring and trim may dry, shrink and crack. Adding a whole-house humidifier to your HVAC system can provide optimal levels of home humidity during heating season.
For more expert advice on controlling home humidity, please contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve been serving the home comfort needs of customers in and around Grand Traverse County for over 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home humidity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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