Anybody familiar with the cliché, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” recognizes one of the basic benefits of controlling humidity in your home: it can help you feel more comfortable. However, keeping humidity in check can also help control the quality of the air in your home. While everybody is a little different in terms of what feels comfortable, the EPA recommends maintaining humidity between 30% and 50% to help improve indoor air quality.1
How humidity affects your comfort
Humidity’s role in your comfort is supported by science. Your body cools itself by sweating, and how much you sweat is affected by the amount of moisture in the air. With more humidity in the air, your sweat evaporates more slowly, making you feel hotter and less comfortable. In addition to making you feel less comfortable, high humidity can affect your home’s finishes and furnishings, including causing stains or peeling paint and wallpaper.
On the other side of the equation, low humidity, often associated with cooler climates or heated indoor air, can cause discomfort with dry skin, throats or nasal passages.
How humidity affects indoor air quality
Concentrations of indoor air pollutants can be affected by the humidity level in your home. As an example, high indoor humidity can be linked to an increased opportunity for mold growth. Keeping indoor humidity between the previously described 30 – 50% is recommended because, as stated by the EPA, “moisture control is the key to mold control.”
How to control humidity
You can help control the humidity in specific rooms or areas of your home using a portable dehumidifier, running the bathroom fan when showering, using the range hood fan when cooking, or using a vaporizer.
For a more controlled, whole-home approach to humidity control:
- Run your central air conditioner during the summer, because it actually dehumidifies as it cools your home. Carrier® systems with Ideal Humidity System® technology ensures that they operate to extract the most humidity from your home as possible.
- Install a whole-home humidifier to provide relief from overly dry winter air.
- Consider adding whole-home ventilation, such as a Carrier® heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV).