• Jim

How humid should you keep your home?

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

Like many people, you most likely have a preferred temperature for your home. You find that magic number where your home feels most comfortable, and for the most part, you keep it there.

But have you ever considered the humidity level in your home? Is there a magic number for humidity, or should you just go by what feels right? We get these questions a lot, and as Alberta’s largest independent heating and cooling company, we’re happy to give you some answers.

Before we talk about the ideal humidity level in your home, it’s important to understand a little bit about climate, and how humidity actually affects the quality of the air.

Climate has a big impact on humidity

Humidity essentially comes down to how much water vapour is in the air, and the temperature at which the water vapour becomes dew (this temperature is called a dew point).

Warmer air tends to hold more water than cool air. This means a warmer overall climate can both cause more water to evaporate into the air and allow more water vapour to be held in the air.

What is Central Alberta’s Climate Like?

Central Alberta has what’s called a continental climate; meaning the summers are very hot and the winters are very cold. Because warm air can hold more moisture, our summers tend to be relatively humid. On the other hand, our winters are exceptionally cold. Because cold air cannot effectively hold moisture, Alberta’s winter air is very, very dry. Most Albertans find that a humidifier makes their home feel much more comfortable in the winter, both in terms of air quality and temperature.

Your Humidifier Plays a Big Role in Indoor Air Quality

A properly maintained humidifier may help stop the spread of airborne disease, cure snoring, improve skin, and even prolong the life of your furniture. When used correctly, a humidifier creates an environment in which people, pets, and objects can thrive.

You Should Invest in a Humidifier If…

  • You have allergies – Studies show that the right level of humidity can soothe allergy symptoms.

  • You have asthma – Humidified air can make breathing easier and more comfortable.

  • You get frequent nose bleeds – By adding moisture to the air, you’re moisturising your skin (including the skin in your nose); keeping it from cracking and bleeding.

  • You snore – The proper humidity levels can open the airways, reducing or eliminating snoring.

Ideal Indoor Humidity Levels for Central Albertan Homes

Health Canada recommends an indoor air humidity level of 30 – 50%. This will also make the air feel warmer during winter months, helping you achieve higher energy efficiency.

You do not need to adjust your humidifier settings for the summer months, as the humidistat will regulate the humidity levels automatically and will not create additional humidity in the summer. It is, however important that the damper is turned off during summer months.

What happens when humidity is too low?

Viruses and airborne toxins tend to thrive in dry air. When the air is too dry, you may notice a sore throat, very dry skin, and possibly even that you get sick more often. The human body needs a certain level of moisture to function comfortably.

What about when humidity is too high?

Too much moisture isn’t a good thing either, as it can cause mould. While the right level of humidity can alleviate allergies, an excess of humidity may actually make them worse. The excess moisture can even seep into your electronic devices, effectively ruining them.

One of the best ways to prevent your indoor humidity levels from rising too high during summer months is by investing in an air conditioner. Because cold air does not effectively hold moisture, an air conditioner serves the dual purpose of keeping your home cool while also dehumidifying the air. | 2019

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