Humidity may not be a home’s worst enemy, but it’s up there. This doesn’t just apply to communities like St. Clair Shores or Grosse Pointe Woods, which are right on the shore; we’re vulnerable to the results of excess humidity right across the Detroit metropolitan area.
The term “humidity” describes the amount of water vapor present in an atmosphere. Inside homes, that moisture comes from cooking, showering, watering plants, even pets and people breathing out.
Try these four ways to test your home humidity levels:
1. Visual Clues
When mirrors or windows frequently show condensation as a build-up of visible droplets, too much water vapor is probably present in your home’s air (unless there’s an immediate cause, such as running a bath). Take note if the glass in an exterior door, for instance, dews up like your bathroom mirror when the weather’s cold but the air is steamy.
If stains appear on walls or ceilings, and they’re unrelated to a water leak or ingression through poorly-protected outside walls, it’s a sure sign that excess moisture is present.
Mold and mildew have a distinctive, musty smell. Check for traces of that smell in the most moist environments, such as bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.
4. Purchase a Hygrometer
Hygrometers are specialist devices that measure atmospheric humidity. Mechanical hygrometers are like thermometers; they respond to ambient circumstances and give a reading on a dial. Electronic counterparts use batteries, and are both swifter to respond and rather more accurate. Both are available from home improvement warehouses and some department stores.
Recommended levels of RH change according to the season. For most healthy people, levels should be around
- 30 percent in winter
- 55 percent in summer
If you don’t have a dehumidifier to help bring down the moisture levels, it’s good to know that running a regular air conditioner — be that a window unit or a whole-house installation — brings down humidity even as it cools the air. For more information on home humidity, specific to our situation here on Lake St. Clair, contact Aladdin Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Warren, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about home humidity and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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