Humidity and the Seasons: How to Manage Levels Year-Round
Improving your home’s air quality and comfort often requires managing humidity levels. In the winter, the air could be too dry and in the summer it’s usually too humid. Air that’s too dry or moist isn’t good for you or your home. Bacteria and viruses thrive in dry conditions and mold needs damp air to proliferate.
The optimal indoor humidity levels range between 30 and 50 percent. You can track yours by using a hygrometer. These inexpensive meters are often included in multifunction thermometers or indoor home weather stations, available at big box and online stores. Check the humidity level periodically, and when it’s too high or low, use these recommendations to bring it up or lower it.
During the Heating Season
- Avoid using the kitchen and bathroom fans when it’s possible. Cooking and bathing add considerable humidity to the air, which will raise the indoor level.
- Bring potted patio plants indoors. Not only does it keep them warmer, their moist soil will supply a constant level of moisture for the air.
- Simmer a pan of water on the stove.
- Consider adding a humidifier to your HVAC system. Central humidifiers attach to the air handler and tap into the plumbing system for filling and draining. They require little maintenance and turn on and off automatically by use of a humidistat, which is just like a thermostat. Unlike portable humidifiers, a central system will supply humidity evenly to your whole house.
During the Cooling Season
- Turn on the bathroom and kitchen fans while bathing and cooking.
- Use the air conditioner for managing humidity levels. It condenses water vapor as a byproduct of cooling your home. In order to keep energy consumption as low as possible, start the cooling season by having your HVAC contractor clean and adjust it.
Keeping the air filter clean throughout the cooling season will help it dehumidify because the evaporator coil, the part where humidity condenses, will stay cleaner.
Maintaining ideal humidity improves the health and comfort of your home. For more information about managing humidity levels, contact Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions, providing HVAC services for Orlando-area homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).