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Is the Humidity in Your Home or Office Making You Sick?

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Most people find high humidity makes them feel tired and miserable. However, high humidity doesn’t only make you feel uncomfortable. Indoor humidity that’s above 60 percent can also affect your health and wellbeing? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the effects of high humidity and advise you on what you can do about it. Be sure to reach out to a Greenville HVAC professional for personalized advice.

What Happens When Humidity Isn’t Optimal

For the most part, experts say ideal indoor humidity levels should be between 35 and 60 percent. This range is comfortable and generally optimal for good health. If the humidity is higher, it will be more difficult for your body to regulate its temperature. Typically, when the temperature around you gets too hot, you’ll sweat and as the moisture evaporates from the skin, you’ll feel cooler.

However, it the air is too humid, the sweat won’t be able to evaporate. That’s why you feel hot and sticky when the humidity is 70 percent or higher. To help your body cool down, your breathing will speed up and your heart will send more blood to your hands and feet and less to your brain and other organs. If you’ve ever felt sluggish or faint on a hot, humid day, this is why. In a worst-case scenario, you can experience heat exhaustion or heat stroke as your body loses fluids and electrolytes.

Other Consequences of High Humidity

In addition to these direct effects, there are several ways in which humidity can indirectly impact your health. Respiratory infections are common in humid environments because bacteria and viruses thrive in those conditions. Also, pollutants stay airborne for a longer period when humidity is high. If you’re in a space where people are coughing or sneezing, the germs will stay around longer and multiply, making it more likely that you’ll inhale them.

Excess humidity also leads to increased levels of fungi and dust mites and these can be very bothersome for some allergy sufferers. For people with asthma , mold and fungi can make their condition worse. However, even people who don’t have chronic respiratory illnesses can be sensitive to an increase in fungi caused by humidity. Mold and fungi can grow in the ductwork of your air conditioning and get dispersed throughout your home or office.

You also need to be concerned about airborne chemicals. These are more likely to cause problems in high humidity. Chemicals like formaldehyde are present in wood products, plastics, textiles, and even paper products and they get released into the air. If it’s very humid, the chemicals react with the water vapor and their concentration increases. This can result in respiratory symptoms as well as irritation of the skin, eyes, and throat.

What to Do If There’s Too Much Humidity in Your Home or Office

If you want to avoid these problems, you need to ensure that the air quality in your home or office is kept at optimal levels. One aspect of this is ensuring the humidity levels are properly balanced. An experienced HVAC contractor can help you to make the best choice. Some of the things that may need to be addressed are:

  • The size of your air conditioner. Bigger isn’t always better. If you have an AC unit that’s too large for your space, it will cycle on and off frequently. This means it will not run long enough to remove the humidity. You may need to replace it with a smaller unit to get the humidity under control.
  • The frequency of your HVAC maintenance. If you don’t get routine inspections from an HVAC professional and you neglect your system, it may no longer be functioning optimally. This can increase the amount of humidity in your home or office. If you get the system checked and cleaned, this may be enough to fix the problem.
  • The ventilation system. Humidity and pathogens will cause more problems if a space isn’t getting enough fresh air. You may need to reroute some of your ductwork or add makeup air to make things less humid.

Contact C&L Services Today to Get Your HVAC System Back on Track

If you think excess humidity is affecting your health or that of your family, let our team of professionals help. We’ll inspect your system, diagnose the problem, and make recommendations in keeping with your needs and budget. Contact us today to schedule an inspection or ask questions.

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