Why Does High Humidity Degrade Air Quality?

June 4, 2020

High humidity and living in the state of Florida go hand in hand. If you’ve lived down here for any extended period of time, you grow used to it pretty quickly. That being said, the vast majority of people would much rather escape the humidity when they enter their homes, rather than having to deal with it 24/7.

What exactly makes high humidity uncomfortable, and how does it degrade indoor air quality in Tampa, FL? There are several issues to consider.

Sweat production

First, there’s the issue of how your body produces sweat. Sweat is designed to keep your body cool. As it evaporates off your skin, it creates a cooling effect that helps to lower your body temperature. This is why some people find spraying themselves with mist and letting it evaporate helps to cool them off.

However, when the air is extremely humid, that means it’s already saturated with water and won’t be able to evaporate the water from your skin as quickly. This results in an oppressively muggy, hot feeling that makes you feel even warmer than if the room was at the same (or even slightly higher) temperature with a lower humidity level.

Air quality

You also have to consider what high humidity levels can do to the quality of your indoor air. Condensation will form on various cool surfaces throughout your home if the humidity is too high, and wherever there is condensation, there is the possibility for mold formation. When you have mold growing inside your home, the spores can spread through the air, which can result in symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, congestion, watery eyes and sore throat. By keeping the humidity down, you can help prevent mold growth and spread in your home.

You should also be aware that bacteria and viruses that cause respiratory infections and other potential problems thrive in environments with extremely high humidity. Therefore, high humidity doesn’t just put you at risk of mold exposure—it also elevates the danger of your contracting certain types of illnesses.

The good news is that the vast majority of adverse health effects associated with high relative humidity levels can be eliminated or reduced by ensuring your indoor air humidity levels stay within the 40 to 60 percent range. Standards issued by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) contain recommendations of having 50 percent relative humidity at interior temperature ranges of 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This should be a comfortable setting for most homes.

There are multiple strategies you can employ to keep your home’s humidity levels in check and keep your indoor air quality good. We encourage you to contact an experienced HVAC contractor in Tampa, FL to figure out which methods will work the best for your home. It may involve installing a new air conditioning system, or implementing more dehumidifiers around your home. The team at Kenny’s Air Conditioning & Heating Services, Inc. would be glad to discuss your needs with you and help you figure out a personalized solution that will keep your home comfortable throughout the hottest, most humid parts of the Florida summer. Reach out today to learn more!

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