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How to Manage Humidity Levels Through the Seasons [Infographic]

by Stewart Unsdorfer

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When the weather heats up, high humidity levels are often close behind. Seasonal humidity can affect indoor home comfort, so managing the humidity in your home during all seasons can make the time you spend there much more enjoyable. 

People often describe summer to be "heavy," "sticky," and "muggy," while winter air can feel "dry," "crisp," and "bitter." These descriptions are related to the feel of the air due to the differing amounts of moisture present at different times of the year.

In this post, check out our infographic that shows:

  • What humidity is and why it changes
  • The optimal ranges for home comfort
  • Problems created from high or low humidity
  • How to manage indoor humidity

While central air conditioning can deliver comfortable indoor conditions, it's important to use it wisely. Learn about possible health risks from too much indoor air conditioning use here.

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How to Manage Home Humidity Levels Through the Seasons

Seasonal humidity levels can affect home comfort.

Summer air feels "sticky." Winter air feels "dry."

What is Humidity?

The amount of water vapor in the air around you.

The optimum humidity level in your home depends on your personal preferences, clothing, and level of physical activity.

ASHRAE* suggests a range of 45% - 55% humidity to manage health effects and illnesses.

Comfortable: 30% - 60%

Recommended: 45% - 55%

High: 55% - 80%

How Does Humidity Change With the Seasons?

Summer Air: Warm, summer air "holds" more moisture, so the humidity is higher. 
 
Winter Air: Cold, winter air contains less water, so the humidity is lower.

Extreme Humidity Levels Create Problems

Too much or too little moisture in the air can cause a variety of health threats and illnesses.

The optimum relative humidity range is 45% - 55%. At higher and lower levels of humidity, health threats and illnesses can increase. These include: bacteria, viruses, fungi, mites, respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis and asthma, chemical interactions, and ozone production.

Issues Caused by High or Low Humidity

Low Humidity

  • Dry & itchy skin
  • Susceptibility to colds and infection
  • Damage to wood furniture and floors

High Humidity

  • Mold growth
  • Muggy conditions
  • Sleep discomfort

How Can You Achieve the Ideal Home Humidity Levels for All Seasons?

In the Summer

  • Discontinue the use of humidifiers
  • Use air conditioning to remove moisture indoors
  • Use exhaust fans

In the Winter

  • Use a portable room humidifier
  • Add live houseplants
  • Place water basins near your heating system
  • Add a whole house humidifier
* ASHRAE is the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.
 
Home Comfort Guide
 

Topics: Central Air Conditioning

blog author

Stewart Unsdorfer

Stewart has been in the HVAC business for more than 25 years. He is a state licensed heating and A/C contractor, as well as being certified in design, fabrication, layout and installation of forced air heating / cooling systems.

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