Keeping your home clean and sanitized is important to promote a healthy environment. Especially right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles residents are more vigilant than ever. Wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant has become second nature. But what about the enormous part of your home that’s invisible: the molecules that make up the air you breathe? Recent research shows that relative humidity plays an important part in a healthy home- and you may find the results surprising.
Indoor Humidity: Where Does It Come From?
Air is made up of a lot of different gases, like nitrogen and oxygen. But there is also water vapor in the atmosphere. You might recall from science class that water can exist in a solid, liquid, or gas state. Most of the humidity in a home starts out as liquid H2O, which then evaporates. So indoor humidity comes from a lot of places:
- Boiling water on the stove
- Steamy showers or baths
- Drying clothes on a rack
- Sweat from indoor workouts
- Dishwashers running with scalding water or on the drying cycle
- Coffee pots, tea kettles, and the steam generated from hot beverages
- Blow-drying wet hair
- Steaming clothes to get out wrinkles
You can probably think of many other places where water might evaporate into the surrounding air. But here is the important thing to know: you don’t want too much or too little water vapor in your air.
What’s the Ideal Indoor Humidity for an LA Home?
Here in Los Angeles, we are lucky not to have to deal with high humidity too often. You are probably aware of the consequences for having too much moisture in a home. The primary concern for excessive humidity is the growth of mold. For many years, we have known that keeping indoor humidity below 60% can hinder the growth of mildew.
But research has shown that there is a downside to not having enough water vapor. In a recent study, hospitals with humidity levels under 40% relative humidity (RH) saw a much higher transmission of infectious disease molecules like the flu virus. The numbers increase the lower the humidity gets. Since low humidity levels facilitate the spread of infection, it’s critical that humidity levels don’t get too low.
Therefore, the ideal indoor relative humidity is anywhere between 45-55% RH. Since humidity levels are relative to the temperature, it’s best to target a range rather than a specific percentage.
Tools for Humidity Control
If you don’t already have a sensor to determine the amount of humidity in your home, that’s an excellent start. Many thermostats come equipped with a humidity sensor. If you have a smart thermostat, you may be able to track humidity over time with a connected app.
If you find that your home doesn’t have enough humidity to maintain healthy humidity levels, don’t worry. There are plenty of solutions for dry air in your LA house. We recommend installing a whole-home humidifier that will add moisture to your air automatically when it gets to be too dry.
Stay Healthy with Humidity Control
As research from industry experts shows, humidity levels are crucial to a healthy indoor environment. Contact Brody Pennell to assist with any home humidity and moisture problems you are experiencing. With decades of experience in the Los Angeles area, we can address your concerns quickly and with old-school customer service. Call us at (310) 896-4911.
Feeling like an electricity generator? We’ve all been there. It seems like everything you touch results in a ZAP! Even the gentle touch of a loved one can cause that quick, sharp shock. Static electricity is a symptom of a bigger problem: the air in your house is just too dry.
Static electricity is frustrating, sure. But dry air isn’t just an annoyance.
The Problem with Dry Air
The air in your home has two main properties: temperature and humidity. Ideally, the humidity level in your house should be around 45%.
Most of us are familiar with the problems caused by too much moisture. Besides the dampness, you’d feel, too much humidity can be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.
We don’t often hear about the problems caused by air that is too dry. Dry air causes noticeable changes, like static electricity. You might also notice that your skin gets crackly or scaly, or your lips stay dry and chapped.
But there’s also the changes internal functions to be aware of, like mucous membranes (yes, we’re talking the stuff inside your nose). When mucus is too dry, it loses its natural barrier against inflation of the respiratory tract. As a result, you can be more prone to sickness.
How do I know if the air in my house is too dry?
There are a variety of ways to monitor the moisture level of the air inside your home to ensure it is not too dry. Any of the following methods would work:
1 – Sensing – If your home is at the right humidity level, you won’t have any of the problems associated with dry air. For example, no one in your home will suffer from extra-dry skin, chapped lips, or bloody noses. Also, you won’t be subjected to static electricity at every doorknob.
2 – Changes in your Home – Dry air will pull moisture from your house’s structure and furnishings. So, warped and creaky wood is an indicator of air that’s too dry. You can also check for chipped and flaking paint.
3 – Monitoring – Many thermostats these days come with a humidity sensor built-in. This way, you can know for sure the moisture content of the air in your house. But if your thermostat doesn’t have this feature, not to worry. You can purchase temperature and humidity monitors very inexpensively.
What solutions are there for dry air?
Although there are many short-term solutions for dry air, we encourage you to consider a permanent solution for your house. Installing a humidifier alongside the rest of your HVAC equipment will ensure that your humidity levels never drop below the acceptable range. This way, you can avoid the inconvenience of air with low humidity levels.
And yes – there are many cheap space humidifiers available. The problem with these local humidifiers is that you have to remember to turn them on, power them off, and then to add water. And, a small humidifier will only help the air nearby – not all of the air inside your house.
A whole-home humidifier is installed with your heating and cooling equipment. This way, all of the air in your home will get treated. And best of all, you’ll never have to worry about turning it on or off, or remembering to refill any water reservoirs. A whole-home humidifier is connected to your water line.
In short, a whole-home humidifier can help preserve comfort and healthier air in every space.
Dry Air Solutions from Brody Pennell
Don’t let dry air make you uncomfortable or susceptible to illness. Take control with a whole-home humidifier and enjoy the air all year long. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation on adding a humidifier to your HVAC system.