Why should we take care of the humidity in our rooms?

Among all the environmental quality issues discussed in the blog, one rarely reported and often overlooked aspect is humidity. This is the amount of water vapor contained in the air and is strongly related to its temperature. The effect of changes in heat and the process of “precipitation” of excess vapor in cool air, are clouds, fog or dew. Since we spend most of our time indoors, it is also worth taking care of the correct humidity inside.

How much water in the air is a good amount?

Surely everyone is familiar with the sight of water droplets at the windows, especially after a night when the temperature in the apartment has dropped. This is not an unusual or dangerous phenomenon, but it can indicate problems with ventilation and humidity inside the building. A range of 40-60% is considered the ideal range for indoor water vapor concentration.

While indoor conditions, especially temperature, remain more or less the same throughout the year, fluctuations in the outside world are drastic. This causes large differences between humidity values between winter and summer. This is well illustrated by the feeling of experiencing higher temperatures as the water level in the air rises. A pleasant 25 degrees Celsius in Poland may turn out to be a chill for some in Thailand.

Let the steam warm you up

The fact that water is a very good “absorber” of heat, and therefore has a high specific heat, can also be used to save money. It is estimated that an increase in humidity by every 5% equals an increase in the perceived temperature of about 1 °C. So setting the thermostat in winter to 20 rather than 22 degrees and simultaneously increasing the humidity from 40% to 50% should be almost imperceptible.

The golden mean

The impact of too low or too high humidity on health is not just about the unpleasant feeling of dry mucous membranes or the general vapidity of the indoor air. In particular, too much humidity is dangerous in the long term because it creates favorable conditions for the growth of many microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, which, especially in inadequately ventilated rooms, multiply at a cascading rate. Black mold, present in many buildings, is a producer of some of the most potent mycotoxins. One of the isolated substances is Satratoxin-H, which causes an itchy rash, lung pains, fevers and a feeling of fatigue.

The extremes of humidity are also bad for household appliances and furniture. Be especially wary of items made of wood, paintings, instruments, photographs or, in extreme cases, even electronics.

Moisture under control

The solution to the humidity problem is humidifiers and absorbers. There are many types of such devices, from small and portable, also to those integrated with a thermostat and automatically regulate the humidity level throughout the building. They are, of course, correspondingly expensive to purchase and will not be suitable for all apartments or offices. Even after getting the right device, you need to make sure that you don’t overdo it in the other direction. Hygrometers are used to measure humidity. The Espirio system is equipped with such a sensor and many others. Its small size and weight comparable to a smartphone will also work well in conditions where you want to take measurements in different rooms. Simply unplug the device from the mains, move it to another location and plug it into the USB cable again, and in a few minutes you can be sure that the indoor conditions are appropriate and healthy.