The Importance of Proper Humidity Control During Winter

March 25, 2022Back to blog
What is humidity in simple terms

Overly high humidity can lead to mold and mildew infestations, create a hospitable environment for pests and germs, increase wear on your belongings, and make indoor air feel stuffy and colder than it should be during winter. Likewise, low humidity levels can make the air feel too dry and aggravate respiratory conditions.

Despite these factors, humidity is rarely talked about when it comes to home comfort, but it actually plays an important role in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and air quality. In the following article, we’re going to address this issue by explaining what humidity is and how you can make sure the indoor humidity levels are just right at your home. Read on.

What is humidity in simple terms?

Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air. Water vapor, the gaseous state of water, is generally invisible to the human eye. Typical signs of high humidity include fog, dew, and precipitation. Three primary measurements of humidity are widely employed: absolute, relative, and specific.

Here’s a quick rundown of these 3 measurements:

  • Absolute humidity is expressed as either the mass of water vapor per volume of moist air (in grams per cubic meter) or as the mass of water vapor per mass of dry air (usually in grams per kilogram).
  • Relative humidity, often expressed as a percentage, indicates a present state of absolute humidity relative to a maximum humidity given the same temperature.
  • Specific humidity is the ratio of water vapor mass to total moist air parcel mass.

Relative humidity is the most important of these when it comes to home comfort. You want to adjust for temperature when determining how much moisture is in the air. The lower the temperature, the less percentage of humidity there is.

What do you do if your house has high humidity?

When your humidity is too high, there’s more moisture in the air than is necessary. This affects home comfort and can even cause some health issues. All that moisture can end up costing you extra money in energy bills. That’s because moisture isn’t a great conductor of heat. The higher the humidity, the harder your HVAC system will have to work to heat your home.

Furthermore, slightly high humidity can cause people to feel hot or generally uncomfortable. As humidity climbs higher, you may notice condensation on your walls or window panes.

High humidity can become an even bigger problem than just home comfort, especially in colder weather. That’s because in the winter, you’re more likely to keep windows and doors closed all the time. This seals in moisture in your home, which can make your home a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, fungi, and even viruses.

What are symptoms of low humidity?

Low humidity occurs more often in the winter than in the summer, mainly due to two factors. First, the air outside is cold so it holds less moisture than warm air. That cold, dry air is seeping into your home through cracks, drafts and any space it can find.

At the same time, your furnace warms the indoor air but doesn’t add moisture. This means the air’s capacity to hold moisture rises as temperature goes up. But with no extra moisture, the relative humidity goes down.

This creates a low-humidity situation because the original, cold air is dry. Then, the temperature rises, creating more capacity to hold moisture but not adding any moisture. Fortunately, low humidity in the home doesn’t cause as many problems as high humidity. However, there are still some undesirable effects.

Static electricity is one. As you move around, you potentially build up small charges of electricity. In humid air, the water vapor acts as a conductor and moves the charges away from you. When it’s less humid, the charges build up rather than disperse. When they finally discharge because you touched a conductor, like something metal, you’ll feel a shock. 

A more severe problem with low humidity is nosebleeds. If the air around you is dry most of the time, the membranes inside your nose can dry out and begin to crack. This causes your nose to bleed, especially if it’s already irritated due to a cold, allergies or other factors.

What do you do if your house has high humidity

Where can I find seasoned air duct cleaners in the Greater Toronto Area?

Sem’s Duct Cleaning offers comprehensive residential and commercial air duct cleaning services to private and public clients throughout Toronto and the nearby communities. This service ensures optimal operation for your HVAC system and facilitates indoor humidity control at your home or workplace.

Contact us today by filling out our quote request form or reaching out to us directly at (647) 476-2711.