If you’re a homeowner in Georgia you probably know the feeling – you’re sitting on your leather sofa in the comfort of your living room when all of a sudden your legs start sticking to the material. Summers in the South can be brutal, especially when you don’t know the ideal indoor humidity for your home. Many residents in and around Atlanta struggle to maintain that perfect balance of indoor water vapor levels as our seasons fluctuate faster than we can comprehend; so many of us wonder what is the proper humidity for a room. Below are a few concerns Atlanta homeowners should have when they believe their ideal home humidity may not be where it should be.
What should humidity be in a house?
According to the EPA, the proper indoor relative humidity (or RH) for a home is typically between 30 and 50 percent. Most ranges start at 30 percent and go up to 60 percent, with an average “comfort” level being between 30 and 45 percent. Both ends of the spectrum have adverse effects on living conditions and furniture quality. Higher or lower humidity can cause residents in your home to become ill or uncomfortable.
Atlanta’s Naturally High Humidity
This is especially important to know for local homeowners in Atlanta, Georgia, as humidity percentages can get as high as the 90s on summer days, which is well outside this suitable standard. The humidity levels in Atlanta in the summer tend to be high, so making sure your home is accommodating for this sudden rise in humidity is essential.
High RH and Mold Growth
An RH of over 60 percent is associated with faster than average mold-growth in your home. This makes for a mess when wallpaper starts to mildew and peel, mattresses lose their luster and your furniture begins to degrade quickly over time. Also, dangerous molds like black mold, penicillium and aspergillus can lead to severe respiratory damage.
Illness and Discomfort
Both too high and too low RH in your home can lead to illness for the people living inside. High humidity tends to cause a higher level of bacterial growth, leading to skin, eye and respiratory tract issues. Not only that, but increased humidity leads to higher than normal amounts of sweating and water loss, which can cause rapid dehydration. In the case of humidity that is too low, people can experience itchy, dry and irritated skin and eyes, as well as chapped lips and dry sinuses. This dryness puts you and your family at a higher risk of contracting colds and infections.
High Humidity and Pests
A higher than average relative humidity level in your home can create a haven for pests and vermin. Mold, insects, dust mites and a number of other nuisances thrive in moist environments and can wreak havoc on your home and its inhabitants. These types of intruders are everywhere in Atlanta due to the tropical environment and high Georgia humidity; normal indoor humidity levels need to be within the ideal range of 30 percent to 50 percent in order to keep them out.
Skyrocketing Energy Bills
When your HVAC unit is working overtime to compensate for the high humidity in your home, it’s using more and more energy to get the same job done – keeping you comfortable. If you notice your energy bills are on the rise, it may be time to test the RH in your home and see where your levels are and then adjust them properly.
Low Humidity and Wooden Flooring
When asking yourself, “What should humidity be in a house?” remember that there is a flip side to this as well: low humidity. If you have lower than average humidity in your home, it can destroy your hardwood floors and wood furniture.
If you’re finding it hard to get to sleep at night, it may be due to high relative humidity in your home. The ideal humidity for sleep is between 30 and 50 percent, so if your levels are creeping up, that could be why you’re not getting the decent rest your body needs. High humidity can cause layers of sweat to form on your skin that doesn’t evaporate off, causing a sticky and uncomfortable sleeping situation, as well as respiratory congestion as you try to sleep.
If at any point you believe your RH is too high or too low in your home, or if you find yourself asking “What should humidity be in a house?” call the professionals at Gainesville Mechanical. Something as simple as a dehumidifier or cleaned duct may help you get your indoor RH under control and working to your home, health and pocketbook’s advantage. The middle of the summer is nothing to take lightly in Georgia, so the faster you have the humidity in your house tested and set right, the better off you’ll be.