North Carolina has famously high humidity levels and high humidity can lead to mold, mildew and dust mites in the home. High humidity can also make breathing more difficult for those with allergies. The drier, less humid winter months bring a new set of challenges for managing asthma symptoms affected by indoor air quality.
Year round, the target humidity level indoors is 35 to 55 percent. It may seem intuitive to counteract the drier air by using humidifiers, but that can create condensation and mold in days when the temperature dips below 30 degrees. While high humidity can cause mold, low humidity can make the house feel too cold and you’ll be inclined to increase the heat. Low humidity can also dry out hard wood floors and building materials. If you notice growing gaps in floorboards, that could be a sign of low humidity levels.
The first step to managing indoor humidity levels is to monitor these levels either with a portable weather station or the controls on your HVAC system. Newer thermostats, like Sensi, provide humidity readings and thermostat schedules that can be adjusted through a smartphone app. Your HVAC system or portable weather station may provide both indoor and outdoor readings to help you make comparisons. By monitoring and comparing humidity levels, you’ll have a better starting point for deciding whether or not to add or reduce humidity levels in the home. Finding the right humidity level is an important step in helping you breathe easier indoors, especially if you have asthma or allergies. For additional help managing humidity and indoor air quality, contact your HVAC technician or an indoor air quality specialist.