July 2014

A heating and cooling system that controls the humidity level in your home plays a key role in your day-to-day comfort and your health. While many people are aware of the dry, itchy feel associated with dry air, most do not consider that their allergies can be aggravated by air that is too moist. With this in mind, let's take a look at signs of too little or too much humidity in your home.

When the Air Is Too Dry

It's important to be aware of the signs that the air in your home might be too dry. Before you go running to the doctor or buy new furniture, consider these basic symptoms of too little humidity:

            •           chapped/cracked lips

            •           dry/itchy eyes; dry skin

            •           cough, sore throat

            •           sinus headaches

            •           dry, cracking furniture

            •           wooden musical instruments cracking

            •           static electricity

Not enough moisture in the air means that your skin is going to absorb less moisture, especially if you are spending a lot of time indoors, such as in the winter months. In the winter season, home heating systems easily dry out the air in your home; the same is true for motel rooms you stop in when traveling.

In addition, the lack of humidity in the air makes your home feel colder and causes your furniture to dry out and become damaged.

When the Air Is Too Humid

Balance is key in all areas of life and the same is true for humidity. Take a look at this list of basic symptoms of too much moisture in the air:

            •           mold and mildew growth

            •           development of a musty odor

            •           wood rots, paint peels

            •           bacteria growth agitates allergies

Just as a lack of humidity can make the air feel colder in the winter, too much humidity makes the air feel much warmer in summer. Besides the above symptoms, muggy air is very uncomfortable to live in. We also do not want to overlook the importance of mold control; learn more here.

How to Measure and Adjust Humidity

No matter the season, your comfort is reason for having a humidifier and dehumidifier or a heating and cooling system that controls humidity in your home. This device will both add and subtract humidity in your home, keeping the air both comfortable and healthy. You can install a whole house or flow-through humidifier, as described here.

There are two basic tools you can easily become familiar with: a hygrometer and a humidistat. A hygrometer measures the moisture level in the room, giving you a specific read out to work with. A humidistat is a built-in appliance feature that controls the humidity.

Once you have these tools in place, make sure you have an automatic shutoff on your humidifier. An automatic shutoff is important for safety reasons as well as energy efficiency. When the water in the humidifier runs out, the unit will shut off on its own. Should the unit continue running after this point, you'll be wasting money on electricity and the unit becomes a safety hazard.

As we now also understand, we want air that is not too moist or too dry. Air that is as close to 50% as possible is both healthy and comfortable. Take a look at this info from the U.S. CPSC for more details.

Feel free to contact us at Cullins One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® with any questions you might have.