September 18, 2023

What is Humidity?

Humidity refers to the amount of water vapor present in the air. 

What is the relationship between humidity and temperature?

The relationship between humidity and temperature is essential to understand: 

1. Relative Humidity (RH): This is a measure of how much water vapor is in the air compared to the maximum amount the air could hold at a given temperature. RH is expressed as a percentage. When RH is 100%, the air is saturated, meaning it can’t hold any more moisture at that temperature, resulting in dew, fog, or precipitation.

2. Temperature’s Impact on RH: Warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air. So, if you have a fixed amount of water vapor in the air and you increase the temperature, the relative humidity decreases because the air’s capacity to hold moisture has increased. Conversely, if you cool the air while keeping the moisture constant, RH increases because the air can’t hold as much moisture at lower temperatures.

Why we need to control humidity?

Controlling humidity in our homes is important for several reasons, as it can significantly impact our comfort, health, and the condition of our living spaces. Here are some key reasons why humidity control is necessary: 

1. Comfort: 

• Temperature Perception: Proper humidity levels can make your home feel more comfortable at both high and low temperatures. In winter, higher humidity makes it feel warmer, while in summer, lower humidity can make it feel cooler. The ideal indoor humidity level, which is generally between 30% and 60% relative humidity. 

2. Health:

 • Respiratory Health: Excessively dry air in winter can lead to dry, irritated respiratory passages, which can exacerbate conditions like asthma, allergies, and bronchitis. Maintaining the right humidity can help alleviate these issues.

 • Mold and Dust Mites: High humidity can promote the growth of mold and dust mites, which are allergens and can worsen respiratory problems. Controlling humidity helps mitigate these issues. 

• Viral Transmission: Studies suggest that maintaining proper indoor humidity levels can reduce the transmission of certain viruses, including the flu and COVID-19, by affecting virus stability in the air. 

3. Home Preservation:

 • Wood and Furniture: Excessively high or low humidity can damage wood, causing it to warp, crack, or deteriorate. Proper humidity levels can protect your wooden floors, furniture, and structural elements.

 • Electronics: Extremely dry conditions can lead to static electricity, which can damage sensitive electronic equipment. 

4. Energy Efficiency: 

• Heating and Cooling: Maintaining the right humidity levels can make your home feel more comfortable at slightly higher or lower temperatures, allowing you to adjust your thermostat and potentially save on heating and cooling costs. 

 5. Sleep Quality: 

The comfort provided by appropriate humidity levels can improve sleep quality by reducing discomfort, dryness, and nasal congestion. 

How to control the humidity in our house?

Controlling humidity in your house involves a combination of strategies, and the effectiveness of each method depends on your specific situation and needs. Here’s a breakdown of the options you mentioned: 

1. Fix Air Leakage in the House:

 • Pros: Fixing air leaks in your home’s envelope can help prevent unwanted moisture from entering during humid conditions and can also help retain humidity during dry seasons.

 • Cons: This primarily addresses outdoor humidity levels and might not be sufficient for controlling indoor humidity during extreme weather conditions.

 2. Install an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV):

 • Pros: An ERV can help maintain balanced indoor humidity levels by exchanging stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air while recovering some of the energy in the process. This is especially useful in tightly sealed homes.

 • Cons: ERVs are more commonly used to improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency. They may not be the sole solution for humidity control if you have extreme humidity issues. 

3. Use a Humidifier: 

• Pros: Humidifiers are effective for adding moisture to the indoor air during dry seasons, such as winter. They can alleviate dry skin, nasal passages, and static electricity.

 • Cons: Humidifiers need regular maintenance to prevent mold and bacteria growth in the water reservoir. They may not be suitable for summer when humidity levels are already high.

 4. Use a Dehumidifier:

 • Pros: Dehumidifiers are excellent for reducing excess humidity in your home, especially during hot and humid summer months. They can help prevent issues like mold growth, condensation, and discomfort.

 • Cons: Dehumidifiers consume electricity and require regular maintenance to empty the collected water and clean the unit.