Is 70% Humidity in the House Good or Bad?
Humidity in the House- I have been living in the southeastern United States for the past 6 years, and I’ve noticed something funny about humidity. It doesn’t matter which month it is, if you go outside during the day it’s always humid! My friends back in my hometown of Seattle never talked about humidity because they don’t experience it as we do here in Georgia. So I decided to look into what 70% humidity feels like inside your house when no fans or air conditioning are running. The results were astonishing!
Humidity in the House:
This year, our summer has been one of the worst on record. We’ve had several days over 100 degrees, and it wasn’t until just recently that we finally dropped below 90 degrees for the first time since June. Our humidity however was pretty much at 70% during this entire 5-month period! It’s now September and although there’s significantly less humidity inside my house, I still wake up in the morning with a wet head because I’m so used to having all the fans blowing throughout the night.
Humidity in the House- Is 70% humidity good or bad? Well to answer that question you have to understand what humility is. Humidity is simply water vapour in the air. Water vapour occurs when warm air comes into contact with cooling surfaces such as your skin or a cold drink can. As the temperature of the air and the surface both reach equilibrium, this excess heat is given off as water vapour. It’s like taking a cold soda out of the fridge and watching it fog up because it’s too warm outside to hold onto that cold temperature.
Humid days are cooler than hot days because humidity prevents sweat from evaporating as quickly as it would on dry days. The more humid the air, the slower your body loses its heat which is why humid days feel so much cooler than hot ones under direct sunlight without any clouds to block those rays. We sweat to cool our bodies down, but when the humidity is high, we don’t need to work as hard at losing that heat because it isn’t as hot outside.
Humidity in the House:
70% humidity is considered very comfortable by most people, but you won’t find this level of comfort in the southeastern United States. The average humidity for any given region usually varies between 40-60%, and according to the U.S National Weather Service, anything above 55% feels muggy. Atlanta’s typical daily dew point (temperature where the air must be cooled until saturation occurs) hovers between 60-64 degrees year-round, so overall our humidity level averages just below 70%. This is why even when there are no clouds in the sky, your body sweats during your outdoor activities all day long!
Humidity in the House- Different locations have varying levels of human comfort depending on local conditions such as cloud cover, air temperature, wind speeds, vapour pressure, and many other factors that affect the rate of evaporation. If you live in a climate where the humidity is on the lower end (40-60%) then any dew point above 60 degrees will feel muggy and uncomfortable. The higher your dew point climbs above 60 degrees, however, the better off you are because it means you’re comfortable at that level of humidity since your body sweat more easily when it’s hot outside.
Humidity in the House- Another interesting phenomenon about outdoor humidity is how drastically it differs from indoor humidity levels. Since we spend so much time indoors during the winter months when our heaters keep our homes warm and cosy without having to turn on air conditioning or fans, we rarely get exposed to outside humidity levels. When you look at relative humidity with indoor air temperatures, it’s no surprise that the time of year when your home is most humid is during the summer months when outdoor air temperatures are also at their highest.
Humidity in the House- This makes sense because it’s unlikely for your home to feel muggy in the winter unless you have a moisture issue within your walls or attic with indoor humidity readings around 70-80% most days. The most likely place for this type of problem to occur would be in areas where cold fronts frequently drop nighttime temps to near freezing but daytime highs stay above 50 degrees during the winter.
Humidity in the House- In colder climates people often keep their windows shut and don’t allow much fresh air inside after dark even if they do run a fan to circulate the air because they don’t want that cold air coming in and making their home even colder. This creates a “stagnant” environment where indoor air pollutants can build up over time and cause Sick Building Syndrome.
Humidity in the House- If you’re someone who suffers from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems, it’s best to try and keep your indoor humidity levels below 50% during the winter months. You can do this by using a dehumidifier, running your air conditioner, or opening your windows to let in some fresh air for a short period each day. Doing this will help you breathe easier and keep your symptoms under control.
Humidity in the House- Keeping track of not only outdoor humidity levels but also indoor humidity levels is important if you suffer from allergies, asthma, or any other respiratory ailments. Pay attention to the relative humidity with indoor temperatures so you know how comfortable your home is during both the summer and winter months. You may be surprised at just how much dryer the air feels when outside humidity levels are very low compared to simply looking at outdoor humidity percentage numbers!