Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air, and having the right amount of humidity in a home is essential for good health and overall well-being. Unfortunately, as residents of Florida, we are well aware that too much humidity can be uncomfortable, damage home materials, and contribute to health problems. The good news is that, even in the Sunshine State, there are techniques for managing humidity problems and create a comfortable environment year-round.
Problems Related to Excessive Indoor Moisture
Pretty much everyone knows that water problems like flooding can cause damage that has to be fixed quickly. But, issues linked to high humidity aren’t always that easy to spot and repair. Homeowners may not recognize the signs of moisture damage from humidity until it has caused severe damage.
Most Floridians have an air conditioner designed to keep humidity at ideal levels of around 50%. But some A/C units are too small, do not eliminate moisture, or may even be too big, which can prevent them from removing enough moisture from the air. When air conditioners fail, moisture can creep in, harm structural materials, and reduce indoor air quality.
According to builder Bob Vila, humidity over 50% may lead to a range of problems that include condensation on windows and toilet tanks and mold growth in the home.
Many Things Contribute to Excessive Humidity
In Florida, humidity is everywhere, so a large portion of the humidity in your home is coming in from outdoors. A home’s insulation, type of construction, and ventilation all impact moisture levels indoors.
Managing humidity can be extra challenging because even everyday activities make the air warmer and stickier. Just running the dryer, washing dishes, and using the washer will make interiors damper. Taking a shower, sweating, and even breathing also contribute to the problem. Issues increase with the number of people in a home, so controlling humidity levels can be challenging for big families, especially if people are constantly going in and out, letting humidity from outside enter through the doorways.
Identifying Humidity Problems Is the Key to Solving Them
The key to controlling high humidity is identifying the problem and then correcting it. The first and most important step is to schedule air conditioning repair if a home A/C unit is not working well since an efficient unit is the best defense against humidity.
There are several indicators that indoor air has become too humid, and they include:
- Peeling paint or very creaky floorboards
- Crumbling stucco and water stains on ceilings
- Condensation on surfaces such as mirrors, windows, and basement pipes
- Surfaces like walls, floors, or shelves that feel soft to the touch
- Family members developing coughs and allergy symptoms (wheezing)
- Discolored areas on surfaces around the home
Managing Humidity Problems
Homeowners who notice the telltale signs of high humidity should locate the source of problems and make repairs as soon as possible. It doesn’t take long for mold to grow in damp areas, which can be dangerous. The CDC recommends controlling humidity to improve indoor air quality since reduced air quality has been associated with several health conditions.
Because A/C system air filtration functions are so important to controlling humidity, replacing an inefficient or older unit may be required to solve excess moisture problems. Depending on a home’s layout, it might also be necessary to use smaller dehumidifiers in areas like laundry rooms or bathrooms.
Homeowners can also control moisture by caulking and weatherstripping doors and windows to stop humid air from entering the home. Installing exhaust fans is also a simple way to remove excess moisture created by showering, drying clothes, cooking, and washing dishes. Fans should remain dust-free so they provide maximum efficiency.
It’s also critical to ensure attics are well ventilated and there is adequate airflow in every room in the house. If all else fails, investing in a whole-house dehumidifier is an option that may be workable.
Benefits of Balanced Humidity Levels
Reducing indoor humidity can make a home far more comfortable, especially here in Florida, with our tropical climate. However, balanced humidity is also important for health. Allergens and pathogens thrive in a moist environment and can contribute to a range of breathing problems. Managing humidity in the home is important for your health as well as your comfort.
Reducing high humidity stops condensation from forming on smooth surfaces like windows and mirrors and protects building materials from the effects of moisture damage. It can prevent the growth of unsightly, unpleasant-smelling mold.
When home humidity begins to climb to over 50%, moisture in the air can lead to health issues and home damage. Air conditioners can usually keep homes from becoming too humid, but owners can also install a whole-house dehumidifier and take other steps to eliminate the problem. Managing humidity improves indoor air quality and protects surfaces from moisture and mold damage.
Air & Energy is a family-owned business that has been serving Manatee County, including Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, since 1983. We’re your trusted neighborhood air conditioning company that also does plumbing, electrical, and generators!