Help, My House is Too Humid!

 In Air Quality, Keeping Cool, System Maintenance

Hot and sticky aren’t usually two words you want to use when describing the inside of your home. Unfortunately, the warm North Florida weather often translates to a familiar foe: humidity. In addition to just being uncomfortable, indoor humidity can cause a number of issues with the air quality. Here’s a quick guide to identifying whether your home is too humid, and what you can do to fix it.

What is humidity, exactly?

The word humidity describes the amount of water vapor present in the air. People often use the term relative humidity to describe how much water vapor is in the air as a percentage amount (relative to how much water it could possibly contain). The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. Your HVAC system, when working properly, is designed to filter out excessive humidity and keep your home cool and comfortable year-round.

Unfortunately, sometimes humidity inside rises above that comfortable level for a number of reasons. Some experts advise that the relative humidity in your home should be somewhere between 45 and 55 percent. Once it goes above that threshold, the air becomes uncomfortable (and can have a negative impact on the air quality in your home). Dust mites, bacteria, fungi and even viruses can thrive in your home when the air is too damp.

Is my home too humid?

While you can purchase a device that will tell you the exact humidity level in your home, most people don’t have one handy. That’s OK – there are many other ways to detect whether your home is too humid. Look for signs of excessive moisture, such as:

  • Foggy windows
  • Mildew or musty odors
  • Damp surfaces
  • Dark spots or discoloration

If you notice any of these signs, it might be time to schedule an inspection by a licensed HVAC technician. If your home just feels damp and sticky, that can be warning sign that your home is too humid – even without these other signs.

What causes excessive humidity?

There are a number of things that can cause your house to be too humid. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of your home’s design, materials and insulation. Other times it has to do with the layout of the house itself, and the quality of ventilation and fans in rooms such as the kitchen or bathrooms. Your location also plays a huge role, as some parts of the country simply contain much more humidify in the environment. Florida in particular is a very humid state.

If your house feels too humid, it might also be the result of a poorly functioning HVAC unit. Your HVAC should filter out humidity and keep moisture at a comfortable level. If your HVAC turns on and off too frequently, running short cycles, it can’t properly remove moisture from the air.

What can I do to fix it?

Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to remedy a house that is too humid. Take advantage of exhaust fans whenever possible in high-moisture rooms, including the kitchen and bathrooms. Ceiling fans, while unable to change the temperature of a room, can keep the air moving and keep you more comfortable.

If a particular room is feeling humid, dehumidifiers can be a useful tool. Most units are not powerful enough to remove moisture from the entire house, but they can make a big difference in individual rooms. Try placing one in spaces that need a little extra help.

Finally, the most effective thing you can do to fight excessive humidity is to keep your HVAC working properly. Unlike small dehumidifiers, your HVAC is powerful enough to remove humidity from the entire house for immediate relief. Changing your air filters frequently can also help ensure your home comfort system is working as well as it possibly can.

Barineau can help.

A house that is too humid, in addition to just being uncomfortable, can negatively affect the air quality inside your home and result in moisture damage. Barineau Heating and Air Conditioning‘s Total Comfort Service Program is designed to make annual maintenance a breeze, so your HVAC system can be your first line of defense against uncomfortable humidity. Click here or give us a call today at 850.580.4029 to schedule your first appointment.

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