High levels of humidity can promote the growth of mould, mildew, dust mites and other allergens and pests that can trigger allergy symptoms and asthma attacks. High humidity levels also create ideal breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses and insects.
However, low humidity levels open up a whole new plethora of problems, including dry skin, eye irritations, respiratory issues and other health problems.
Most people find that indoor RH levels between 30-50% are most comfortable. Still, other factors like climate, personal preferences and health conditions should be considered to identify ideal RH levels.
The difference between humidity and relative humidity
Although used interchangeably, humidity and RH carry different meanings. Humidity refers to the actual amount of water vapour present in the air at any given time. Relative humidity, however, calculates just how saturated a specific area is with water vapour.
Both humidity and relative humidity can be measured using hygrometers, a device that measures the air’s ability to hold water vapour. The measurement for RH is expressed as a percentage, with 0% being dry and 100% being completely saturated.
For convenience, many Australians use humidistats instead as they usually express different humidity level indicators, including absolute humidity and RH levels.
Ionmax dehumidifiers have built-in humidistats to read RH levels for users efficiently and also allow users to select their preferred RH level for maximum comfort.
Identifying the problem
Step 1: Too much or too little humidity?
Before being able to apply solutions and fixes to your humidity problems, it first needs to be identified whether the issue in your home deals with high or low levels of humidity. If you do not have access to a humidistat, look out for the following signs.
High levels of humidity are characterised by the following:
- Feeling hot and sticky
- Excessive sweating
- Musty odours
- The growth of mould and mildew
- Condensation on walls, ceilings and windows
- Damaged wooden furniture
- The appearance of pests, including dust mites and cockroaches
RH levels above 50% are usually considered too high, whereas RH levels below 30% are considered too low. If you are experiencing the symptoms below, your building could be suffering from low levels of humidity.
- Dry, itchy, flaky or cracked skin
- Dry eyes and throat
- Chapped lips
- Dry nasal passages (leading to congestion and nosebleeds)
- Cracking wooden furniture
- Wilting houseplants
To combat high levels of humidity, occupants of the building must, of course, employ measures to lower humidity levels, whereas the opposite is true for low humidity levels; employ measures to raise humidity levels.
Step 2: What’s causing the issue?
Now that we’ve identified the humidity level in your living space, we can now explore some potential causes.
Common causes of high RH levels:
- Drying laundry indoors
- The use of gas heaters when cooking (made worse when paired with poor ventilation)
- Poor ventilation
- Water leaks or damp materials at home
Common causes of low humidity include:
- Cold and dry outdoor air
- Dry indoor heating during winter
- Desert areas
- High altitude locations
- Too much use of air conditioning during summer
Fixing the problem
It’s important to note that the most ideal fix for either low or high-humidity issues will depend on the specific circumstances of your home or living space and the severity of the problem, but generally, following the guidelines below is likely to yield favourable results.
Fixes for high humidity issues
Issues that have to do with high humidity are usually caused by poor ventilation. Opening up a window and letting fresh air in your home will help with ventilation and indoor air quality issues. Other fixes for high humidity include
- Using a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air
- Ensuring adequate ventilation and air circulation, especially when cooking or drying clothes indoors
- Fix any leaks and clean up any water spills
- Avoid leaving carpets or clothes damp for too long
- Use air conditioning to dehumidify the air
Fixes for low humidity issues
In a nutshell, fixing issues related to low humidity involves introducing more moisture or water vapour into the air. This can be done through the following methods
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
- Place bowls of water around the room
- Opt for the use of far-infrared heating instead of dry heating
Ionmax dehumidifiers give users complete control over indoor relative humidity levels, allowing users to select their preferred RH level. Ionmax dehumidifiers also have a dedicated laundry mode to help users dry their clothes indoors worry-free.
Browse through the Ionmax full range of air treatment appliances and start living better today.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.