According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an individual home should be kept under 60 percent humidity throughout the summer months and between 25 and 40 percent during the winter season. By using a simple hygrometer, you can test the air’s moisture content on your own.
Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor in a particular environment. Levels change through condensation and evaporation. Humidity is what can give you that uncomfortable sticky feeling on a summer day, and it can even take a toll on your health by causing feelings of sleepiness and irritability. What’s more, this moisture can also destroy your home if you choose to ignore the warning signs.
Your personal comfort or discomfort will be one of the telltale signs of whether your home is excessively humid. If you find yourself coughing, sneezing or with consistently clammy hands, chances are that something is off. However, these are not the only signs of high humidity.
Here are a few ways you can recognize if your home is too humid.
Damaged Walls and Excess Moisture
Homes do not respond well to trapped moisture. If you begin to notice any bubbles, blistering, peeling or dark spots along wallpaper or paint, you have too much humidity in your home. The key to correcting this hazard is to search for damage in your home early on.
Humidity will make you feel uncomfortable, so assess rooms and floors that are susceptible to moisture first. Most people discover moisture in bathrooms and basements due to excessive water usage in these locations. There is nothing easier to spot than water damage and stains. Investigate these areas with caution, as damaged walls and ceilings grow weaker with water damage.
Swollen Wood and Indoor Humidity
Wooden features of a home are some of the first places to show that there is a humidity imbalance. Wood has the tendency to swell up and warp when exposed to moisture. Monitor doors, flooring and windows for any changes in character.
It is crucial to act immediately at the first sight of swollen wood. Wood that traps moisture often rots and breaks apart, leaving a breeding ground for pests like termites. Replace any rotting wood to protect the foundation of your home from excess moisture.
Too Much Moisture and Musty Odors
The smell of must and mildew sticks out right away with excessive humidity. These allergens prosper in moist environments and only grow stronger over time. Musty odors are a major concern to your health and home, as humidity alters indoor air quality.
Strong odors mean that mold is present. You can find mold as black spots around toilets, showers, sinks and devices handling water.
If the air starts to feel clammy, begin to monitor your windows for condensation. It will look like water beads or fog on the inside of the glass. If you notice condensation, correct the humidity issue before the onset of mold.
Treating Indoor Humidity and Excess Moisture
If you notice the warning signs of too much humidity, remember that the best treatment is a dehumidifier. These devices trap moisture in the air, and you can empty the water that accumulates.
A number of benefits will come with the use of a dehumidifier in your home. The air will smell nicer, your monthly energy costs will be lower and the number of allergens in your home will be reduced. Learn more about all of our indoor air quality products by visiting our Indoor Air Quality page.
Additionally, always be sure to regularly clean your air conditioning filters. Air conditioning can control humidity and keep your home cool and comfortable during the summer months.
SMO Energy offers free in-home consultations for installing a new dehumidifier in your home, so be sure to reach our Client Care Center at 1-888-222-3720. Our Client Care hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Emergency service is available 24/7.