If you’re wondering why it’s so hard to reduce humidity inside your Valdosta home, consider the conditions outside. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining indoor relative humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent for optimum health, comfort and HVAC performance.
Unfortunately, the daily average relative humidity in our area exceeds 60 percent year-round. In this environment, natural processes are continuously working against you as water vapor in the air naturally migrates from a moist zone into a dry zone. The drier interior of your home acts like a wick, attracting and absorbing outdoor humidity around the clock.
It’s still possible to reduce indoor humidity. There are simple steps you can take right now and upgrades you can consider for the future that will help get reduce humidity levels into the recommended range and keep them there.
Why Reducing Indoor Humidity Matters
Before we get to how to reduce indoor humidity, here are some good reasons why to do so.
- Indoor humidity makes the home feel less comfortable, even when the indoor temperature is in the desired range. Moist air holds heat more efficiently, inhibiting your body’s natural ability to control temperature and making you feel hot and sticky. That’s a major reason why the air conditioning process involves more than just removing heat. Effective air conditioning for comfort means extracting humidity from the air as well.
- Prolonged exposure to high humidity is hard on the structure of your home. Wood warps and rots more readily, paint peels and blisters, chronic condensation forms on window panes and deteriorates wooden sills and panes, and wooden flooring swells and buckles.
- High indoor humidity is a major contributor to indoor mold growth. Dormant mold spores require exposure to minute amounts of moisture to trigger active growth that releases toxic reproductive spores. Humid air seeping into internal spaces in the home triggers unseen mold growth that taints indoor air quality. Mildew growth also flourishes when relative humidity remains above 50 percent.
- Pests like cockroaches, ants and other species prefer to nest and reproduce in a humid environment.
Tips for Reducing Humidity Indoors
From simple DIY measures you can take immediately to upgrades you can invest in over the longer term, here are some ways to reduce humidity indoors, even when it remains elevated outdoors:
- On hot and humid days, limit activities that add water vapor to indoor air, like hot showers and food preparation that involves boiling liquid.
- Buy houseplants that absorb water vapor at a higher rate, such as ferns and other tropical plants.
- Keep outdoor humidity outside. Use caulk to seal air leaks that allow humidity to infiltrate the home and replace worn weatherstripping around doors and windows.
- Moving air is drier air. Reduce humidity by maintaining air circulation with energy-efficient ceiling fans.
- Exhaust from the clothes dryer carries water vapor. Make sure the dryer vent hose is intact, unobstructed by lint accumulation and vents properly to the outdoors.
- Install spot exhaust fans in the ceiling of humid areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. These should be ducted all the way to the exterior of the home.
- Install a plastic vapor barrier over the dirt crawl space floor to block moisture rising from the soil.
- Maintain your A/C with annual tuneups to keep the dehumidifying function optimal.
- Purchase a portable room dehumidifier for closed single rooms, such as bedrooms, or consider a whole-house dehumidifier. The gold standard to reduce humidity and keep it at a comfortable level 24/7, these units connect directly to the return ducts of your existing HVAC system. Because all the air in your home circulates through the ducts multiple times each day, your entire air volume is repeatedly dehumidified. Precise indoor levels can be programmed at the digital humidistat. Water condensed from the air is plumbed directly into your home drain system so user maintenance is limited to cleaning a washable air filter twice a year.
For more ways to reduce indoor humidity, check out Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning’s home comfort solutions, or call (229) 686-5531.
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