Part I: How to Lessen Asthma Symptoms by Addressing Indoor Air Quality, I explained how improving indoor air quality with the right air filters is key to managing asthma symptoms. In Part II of this series, you’ll learn how to manage indoor humidity levels to prevent mold growth.
Checking Humidity Levels
Air filters are great at capturing particulates that can exacerbate asthma symptoms, but asthmatics can also be sensitive to heat and humidity. Since high humidity can encourage mold growth, it’s best to maintain 30-50 percent (% RH) humidity levels year-round. Humidity levels are higher at night and first thing in the morning during the summer, so leaving the windows open at night can actually raise the humidity levels in your home. It’s best to leave windows closed in the summer unless the outdoor RH is about 50 percent.
Some thermostats, like Sensi from Emerson Climate Technologies, will tell you your home’s humidity level both on the thermostat and through the companion smartphone app. Although use of air conditioning can help with dehumidification, there are times when it may not be sufficient and a whole-home dehumidifier will help close the gap.
Bath and Kitchen Fans
Kitchen and bath fans are also important for keeping humidity in check. Today’s modern fans are equipped with automation and controls to run the fan at the most optimal times. Controls or use methods can also be adapted to older installations. Be sure to run your bath fan for a half hour after taking a shower.
If you’re unsure about the humidity levels in your home, consult with your trusted HVAC technician or an indoor air quality specialist. They can help you determine if your current fans, thermostat and air conditioning unit are working efficiently or if there is a benefit to install new equipment.