summer humidity

5 Ways Summer Humidity Affects Your Indoor Air Quality

Summer in Naples means sunshine, hot weather, and yes, humidity. It's not unusual for the relative humidity to reach 89 or 90 percent. It's manageable when you can cool off indoors, but when the humidity penetrates your home, it can be miserable.

Summer humidity is more than uncomfortable. It can affect both indoor air quality and your health. We'll take a closer look at the connection between high humidity and indoor air quality and give you five tips for managing both.

1. What Is Humidity?

OK. We know you know humidity causes that sticky, hot weather in the summer, especially here in Florida. The technical explanation is that humidity is vaporized water in the air. The more water that's absorbed into the air, the higher the humidity level.

Fun fact: The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends you keep the humidity level in your home less than 65 percent. It's more comfortable, and it maintains a higher level of air quality.

2. How Does Summer Humidity Affect Indoor Air Quality?

The biggest issue caused by high humidity indoors is mold. Mold is actually a fungus, and it loves warm, damp air.

When the relative humidity gets above 60 percent, mold and mildew can begin to grow. The fungus can grow on a number of different surfaces including wood, drywall, and carpet. Incredibly, mold can eat away those surfaces and cause structural damage to a building.

The bigger issue for most people is the health issues mold can cause. You don't have to be allergic to mold and mildew to have trouble. Some of the most common symptoms of exposure to mold are:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Nasal congestion
  • Burning, watery eyes
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Skin irritation

The simplest way to tell if your physical symptoms are caused by something inside is to leave for a period of time. If you feel better after leaving your home, that's a pretty good indication the problem is inside.

3. How Can I Tell If the Humidity Is Too High?

There are a couple of ways. One, you can buy a device called a hygrometer. It measures humidity levels indoors. You can find them in most home improvement stores or online.

The second way is cheaper but not as accurate. Fill up a glass with ice cubes and leave it on a counter in your home. Don't use a bathroom counter for this, because humidity levels in bathrooms tend to run higher.

Check on your glass after about five minutes. If you see a lot of condensation on the outside of the glass, the humidity level in your home is high.

4. What Can I Do About It?

As we said a minute ago, humidity tends to run high in bathrooms (and kitchens). If you have an exhaust fan in the bathroom, switch it on when you take a shower or bath. That will help remove moisture from the air. If you don't have exhaust fans, consider having them installed.

You might also purchase a dehumidifier for a room or for the whole house.

5. Is My Air-Conditioner to Blame?

Possibly. You should make sure your HVAC system is functioning well. (HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling). Schedule an appointment with your service provider to have the unit inspected.

If you've had a problem with the humidity in your home, you might consider having the ductwork cleaned. At a minimum, change the filters regularly to maintain good airflow.

You Can Save Money Too!

There is a financial benefit to maintaining your HVAC and keeping those summer humidity levels low. If your unit isn't running well, it's not as energy efficient. That means it uses more energy to run. That costs you money.

Contact us with any questions you have about your indoor air quality. We're happy to schedule an appointment.