Pacific Sheet Metal Blog

How Low Humidity Levels Can Affect Your Home

Posted by Joey Haack on Jul 6, 2017 10:07:00 AM

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When the humidity levels inside your home aren't where they should be, your property and health could be at risk. If the air is too dry, which is our main focus for this blog post, several components throughout your home will be susceptible to damage. If you suspect low humidity levels, you can get a hygrometer to test how much moisture is in the air.

Most describe ideal humidity levels as falling between 40–60%, but some experts believe  35-45% humidity is preferable. Low humidity levels can cause health problems, destroy wooden furniture, and cause musical instruments to go out of tune. If your indoor humidity level falls below 35%, seriously consider investing in a quality whole-home humidifier to keep your family and your property safe.

 

When Humidity Levels Are Too High

High humidity in your home can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can cause eye and skin irritation, nasal congestion, shortness of breath, and other more serious symptoms for those who are allergic. Wooden floors can buckle and swell if there is excess moisture, making them uneven or even hazardous to walk on. Paint and wallpaper can begin to peel off the walls, and the walls themselves, the insulation inside the walls, and carpeting throughout your home could become breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.

 

When Humidity Levels Are Too Low

The dry mountain air in the Roaring Fork Valley can make our homes uncomfortable. Your eyes and skin could become dry and itchy, and the mucous membrane lining your respiratory tract could become inflamed, putting you at higher risk for getting sick. In extreme situations, anything in your home that is made of wood or paper can be ruined. If you notice a lot of static electricity in your home (if you're being shocked frequently and your hair is full of static), then your home is probably too dry.

 

Wood

If you have wood flooring, you may find gaps between planks if the air is too dry. When too much moisture is removed, wood contracts, creating gaps in the floor where there shouldn't be any. Wood floors, furniture, and even doors and windows, can shrink, buckle, or crack. The coating on your furniture could be damaged, leaving the wood underneath exposed and brittle. Your home could become drafty when wooden components like window frames shrink. 

 

Walls

If your wallpaper is peeling off the walls or your drywall is cracked, this could be another sign that your indoor air is too dry. Your walls are made of layers of materials, and low humidity can cause these layers to separate. Over time, your drywall could become more and more brittle and could eventually need to be replaced entirely.

 

Personal Items

Certain valuables can get destroyed by low humidity levels. If too much static electricity builds up in your home, it can damage your electronic devices. Your long term stamp or rare book collection, important papers, photographs, and precious artwork could become brittle or shrink. Plants can also shrivel up and die, and musical instruments will have a hard time staying in tune; any wooden instruments, such as pianos and guitars, could crack.

 

If the air in your home is too dry, consider adding a humidifier. Lennox offers whole-home humidifiers that work in conjuction with your current heating and cooling system to distribute just the right amount of moisture to your home. If you live in or near Aspen, Colorado, feel free to call Pacific with any questions or concerns you have about your indoor air quality. We install and repair HVAC and indoor air quality systems. Let us help you make your home safer and more comfortable!

 

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Topics: indoor air quality