Humidity Problems: How to Reduce the Humidity in Your House

Jul 5, 2018 | Air Conditioning, Blog, Ventilation

If you live in San Jose, you might have experienced humidity problems like molds, mites, and furniture rots. You probably found Band-Aid solutions to work around these problems. However, do you know that you can control humidity? All you need to do is learn how it works and how to deal with it.

This post may get into a little bit of science. If you find that boring, just stick around! At the end of the blog post, we’ll teach you how to reduce humidity in your house without a dehumidifier.

 

What Is Humidity?

Humidity is the measure of moisture in the air. More specifically, it’s the measure of how much water vapor is present in the air. Humidity has a substantial effect on the air, the particles amidst the air, and the materials touching the air. Some manufacturing, storage, research, and vital processes rely on specific levels of humidity. As such, humidity is an important factor to understand and consider.

 

Common Humidity Problems We All Experience

 

Too much humidity is bad

When it’s too humid, hot temperatures feel hotter. Our bodies produce sweat to cool our body. If the air is saturated with water vapor, sweat cannot evaporate as easily as it should. Instead, it builds up — making your skin wet, oily, and sticky. Skin-related conditions with bacteria that feed on sebum, like acne, may develop on your skin.

It’s also harder to breathe when there’s too much moisture in the air on a hot day.  The air will feel thick as you struggle to fill your lungs with air. Coupled with your body’s inability to cool itself down, this makes heat strokes more likely.

Your house, furniture, and appliances are also susceptible to high humidity. Moisture can seep through wood, metal, electronics, and other household items. Wood can bloat and rot. Metal can also corrode and rust easier in a humid environment. Not to mention, electronics are likely to short circuit when internal condensation occurs.

Dark humid pockets are great habitats for bugs and molds. Infestation is more likely to happen. Children (and adults) may also develop asthma and allergies from the spores and dust mites.

 

Too little humidity is just as bad

Dry air isn’t good either. It means your body dries faster. Dry skin can irritate and damage skin cells, speeding up the aging process. Aside from your skin, the mucus in your body will also dry out faster. Dryness in our eyes, sinus, and mouth will cause irritation, infection, and complications.

If high humidity rots and bloats wood, dry air cracks and splinters wood. Paint, wallpaper, and other adhesive-based installations may peel, chip, and crack faster than it would otherwise.

 

Both lead to higher energy bills

If it’s too hot on a humid summer day and it’s too cold on a dry winter day, you’re going to need your HVAC system running longer than when the humidity is just right.

 

How to Measure Humidity?

We measure humidity in two ways: absolute humidity and relative humidity.

Absolute humidity refers to the actual amount of moisture or water vapor in the air. It is expressed as grams of moisture per cubic meter of air. (Unit, g/m3) The absolute humidity stays the same regardless of the temperature.

On the other hand, relative humidity measures the amount of moisture relative to how much moisture the air can hold. This amount is also relative to the temperature of the air. So, it can also be said that relative humidity measures the amount of moisture relative to the temperature of the air.

Relative humidity is expressed as a percentage of the total amount of moisture that the air can hold. If you have seen weather forecasts, this is how humidity is often presented. In San Jose, the average humidity sits at 68% — highest on January at 70% humidity and lowest on June at 58% humidity.

The best instruments to measure humidity are hygrometers or psychrometers. That’s if your HVAC system doesn’t already measure humidity. If properly used, these temperatures accurately measure the relative humidity in a room.

 

What’s The Ideal Indoor Humidity?

As with everything, moderation is key when it comes to humidity.

According to ApartmentTherapy.com:

“Humidity levels should range between 30 and 50 percent, with the ideal hovering at 45 percent. Anything lower can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat while levels above 50 percent can potentially fuel the growth of harmful bacteria, dust mites, and molds.”

This means that at 68%, the average outdoor humidity of San Jose is still substandard (too humid) to the ideal humidity. Inside our homes, there’s a lot of household activities that will raise indoor humidity. This 68% can easily reach 75% or even 85% relative humidity.

 

How to Reduce the Humidity in Your House

1. Dehumidifier

The most straightforward solution to too much humidity is a dehumidifier. However, buying a dehumidifier may not be an investment with the best returns in San Jose — since the humidity problem is mild.

 

2. Proper Ventilation

Outfitting your house with proper ventilation helps with stale humid indoor air. Fans may also help since increasing air flow leads to a decrease in pressure (which decreases temperature). If there’s humidity build up indoors, exhaust fans and open windows will bring back the humidity to outdoor levels.

 

3. Efficient Air Conditioning

Air conditioners will cool down your home. Cool air holds less water vapor than warmer air. This forces the water vapor in the air to condense, decreasing the humidity in your house. You should also check and clean your AC for clogs that could slow down airflow and efficiency.