Heat and humidity have a reciprocal relationship: humid air can carry more heat, and hot air can accommodate more moisture. Humid air also more readily transfers heat to the human body, increasing the perceived temperature as well. But while this might seem like the natural solution to a chilly winter day – increase the humidity to stay toasty warm – raising your indoor humidity will only help up to a point.
Air that is too humid can cause a number of issues in your home, which may include the growth of mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria to home furnishings and fixtures damaged due to the condensation and drips. Excess water isn’t something you need in your home. And cold, wet air and fabrics are more efficient at pulling heat from your body, so if your clothes absorb moisture from your indoor air, going outside in the winter could get chillier.
Excess water content in your indoor air can be controlled by installing a whole-home dehumidifier, which treats your air as it circulates through your central furnace or air conditioner. Or, you can address problem spots directly with smaller, stand-alone units sized to handle kitchens, bathrooms, or utility rooms.
On the flip side, air that’s too dry can cause problems as well: making your furnace work harder to keep you warm, encouraging the spread of flu viruses, increasing static electricity, and dust production in your home. If your home has air which is chronically dry, a whole-home humidifier can help address this problem. Stand-alone humidifier units also exist, and can often provide benefits for rooms like bedrooms.
To manage your indoor environment, look to balance your humidity. A relative humidity of between 40 and 60 percent is recommended by many experts, and can give you the benefits of air that’s not too wet or too dry while avoiding the unpleasant drawbacks. Some of the newer programmable thermostats actually monitor humidity readings in your home.
If you have questions about managing heat and humidity in your Eastern North Carolina home, give us a call at Jackson & Sons!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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