While you cannot see humidity, you can feel it. Sometimes, its effects are obvious, especially if you are outdoors. Humid air feels heavy, wreaks havoc on your hair, leaves a sheen of moisture on your skin, and just causes general discomfort. Humidity also affects indoor air quality, though the consequences are different, and the cooling and heating systems in your home (or workplace) need to keep humidity levels in check.
The quality of the air you breathe affects your health. Indoor air quality and humidity have a direct relationship. Ambient Edge offers Arizona and Nevada heating and cooling services to help keep that relationship balanced so you stay healthy and comfortable breathing the air in your own home.
What Is Humidity?
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Water vapor is simply water in its gas form. When water in its liquid form evaporates, it becomes a gas–water vapor. As the amount of water vapor in the air increases, so does the air’s humidity level.
Humidity is not only in outdoor air. Humidity outside gets inside–into our homes, workplaces, and schools. Often, indoor humidity is a product of the outdoor air. But it can also come from leaks or other imperfections that allow moisture to collect and evaporate. Properly working indoor heating and cooling or plumbing systems keep humidity at healthy levels.
When those systems fail, Ambient Edge can repair or replace them.
Indoor Air Quality and Health
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasizes the importance of indoor air quality. The air we breathe in our indoor environments can be contaminated with pollutants that compromise health. These pollutants can be “chemicals, gasses, or living organisms like mold and pests.”
Indoor air pollutants can lead to health problems, including:
- Sore or irritated eyes
- Burning in the nose and throat
- Respiratory conditions
- Heart disease
- Cancers or other long-term illnesses
- Death–for example, carbon monoxide poisoning can be almost immediately deadly
Clearly, caring for your indoor air is critical to your health and comfort.
Humidity and Indoor Air Quality
Humidity is not the sole culprit for corrupting indoor air quality, but it does its fair share of damage. According to the EPA, indoor humidity levels should be kept between 30% and 50%. There are steps you can take to improve your indoor air quality, but when you need to take more systemic measures, reach out to Ambient Edge.
Low Humidity Levels
Water vapor, or humidity, can weigh down bacteria, viruses, or particles of other pollutants. These particles fall rather than travel freely through the air you breathe. When humidity is too low, these particles now have “free reign” and circulate through your breathing space.
You may feel the effects of these circulating particles through:
- Skin irritations–rashes, dry skin, possible infections
- Dry, chapped lips
- Dry, itchy eyes, nose, sinuses, and throat
- Chronic coughs or nosebleeds
- Increased asthma symptoms
Too-low humidity levels mean you breathe in too-dry air, which can dry out your mucous membranes, making it hard for your body to fight germs that cause cold, flu, or other respiratory illnesses.
High Humidity Levels
Too-high humidity levels also create an unhealthy and uncomfortable environment by increasing concentrations of some indoor air pollutants. According to the EPA, by keeping air moist, high humidity increases mold growth. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes mold as contributing to allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions, fungal infections, and other serious health consequences.
Other conditions stemming from high humidity include:
- An increase in dust mites
- Eye and skin irritation
- Sinus congestion and stuffiness
Humidity, Air Quality, and Your Home
While your health is the most important consideration regarding humidity’s effects on indoor air quality, your living space is also affected by humidity levels. Your floors, furniture, and even your walls and windows respond to humidity.
Low Humidity Levels
Air that is too dry–it is not humid enough–can damage wood. You might find cracks in wood floors, window trim, or window panes. You may even see damage to wood furniture or finishes. The cracks in window panes or trim can open opportunities for rain or other moisture outside your home to find its way in, causing water damage, mold growth, or other problems.
Peeling wallpaper and cracked wall paint are also effects of too-dry air. While it will not decrease the value of your home or make you ill, low humidity levels can increase static electricity, causing wardrobe and hair annoyances.
High Humidity Levels
Air with too much water vapor wreaks its own type of damage on your living or work environments. Water stains on ceilings and walls, paint discoloration, or “bubbles” are all consequences of high humidity levels, as are warped or rotting floors, furniture, or other surfaces and materials.
While the mold caused by high humidity can lead to serious health problems, it also fills spaces with unpleasant, musty odors. Mold can also be visible, showing up as black spots on walls or in crevices or corners.
Bedding, carpeting, throw pillows and blankets, and other furniture or soft surfaces can be “infected” by too-humid air in unsettling ways. Along with taking on a musty smell, they also provide spaces for dust mites to thrive.
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Balance Humidity to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Whether in the home, workplace, school, or any other indoor space, air quality matters to health and comfort. Balancing humidity levels helps improve air quality by:
- Keeping occupants comfortable
- Minimizing the growth and spread of pollutants to protect occupants’ health
- Protecting the physical qualities of the space from humidity-related damage
Ambient Edge offers the services and products necessary to keep your indoor humidity levels balanced throughout the year, no matter the weather or season.
We Look Forward to Serving You
Maybe you are feeling stuffy or have itchy eyes. Perhaps you feel like you just cannot get your bedding or home smelling fresh. Maybe you are experiencing dry skin or breathing issues. Or maybe you are seeing cracks in your window panes or warped flooring. These problems and others may be the result of too-high or too-low humidity levels.
Contact Ambient Edge for solutions. You can call or leave a message to tell us about your issue and schedule an appointment. Whether you need a new system, installation, repairs, or maintenance, we have got you covered.