This time of year, many of our customers are consumed with adding humidity into the air of their homes and offices because of the negative effects of dry air on personal health as well as home furnishings. Dry air can wreak havoc with anything made of wood including flooring, furniture, wood trim, musical instruments, to name a few. It also affects your well-being because it’s a major cause of chapped lips, rough skin and sore throats. Furthermore, viruses that cause the common cold and flu flourish in the low humidity environment of winter, creating a germ-filled environment.
But what happens when a home has too much humidity? Temperatures of 60+ degrees combined with humidity result in a climate that’s often muggy and uncomfortable. This type of weather is normal in the Bucks County area in the spring lasting through much of autumn. It can be particularly uncomfortable during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September when the air conditioner may not be operating full-time, assisting with humidity removal.
HIGH humidity levels can cause just as much havoc to you and your home as low humidity. Some of the signs to look for include:
- Condensation appears on the inside of windows and runs down the glass ending up on window sills, ruining the surface or even rotting the wood.
- An unexplained, musty odor permeates the interior of the home which is embarrassing and unpleasant.
- There’s an increase in the number of insects invading your house
- You feel uncomfortable and clammy at normal indoor temperature settings
- Wood floors, woodwork and furniture show signs of warping
- Foods, such as bread, get moldy quicker than normal
Besides these irritating signs of high humidity, there are signals that you might not see but are critical to keep in mind. High humidity is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which not only can cause unpleasant odors but can aggravate significant health issues such as allergic reactions and respiratory illness. What’s more, dust mites thrive in this type of climate. Interesting, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a recent study suggests that at least 45% of young people with asthma are allergic to dust mites so it’s something to keep in mind if anyone in your household suffers from asthma.
Current ‘rule of thumb’ states that you will experience more comfortable indoor air quality if the relative humidity level in your home or office is kept below 50% in the summer. Take it from the Coop, there are lots of small dehumidifiers available to take care of temporary problems or specific rooms in your house, but that’s usually not going to resolve humidity issues throughout your home. There’s an easy solution that pays for itself when comfort, energy efficiency and overall health benefits are a priority to you. A whole-house dehumidifier, integrated with the home’s HVAC system, is designed to maintain just the right amount of moisture in your home, at a lower thermostat setting. Water is constantly collected and drained automatically — your only job is to turn it on as the temperature starts to climb in the spring.
Although DIYers may want to take a crack at installing a whole house dehumidifier, this type of equipment should be installed by a professional contractor, like Cooper Mechanical, who is licensed and trained to integrate this type of sophisticated equipment into your overall HVAC system. They’ll make sure the equipment is sized properly and installed according to the manufacturers’ specifications. It will be ready to perform correctly when the warmer weather arrives. Call the professionals at Cooper Mechanical at 215-228-4405 for more information and to set-up a free consultation.