Longtime apartment dwellers from D.C. to Atlanta and Miami to Houston know more about outdoor humidity than they’d likely care to. Summertime in the East brings sweltering temps and sticky situations.
What’s less often considered, however, is your home’s ideal indoor humidity.
What is Humidity?
Time for a middle-school science refresher: Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air compared to the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. A “normal” range for indoor humidity generally falls between 30 and 50 percent. And that’s where most people feel comfortable.
In wintertime, heat can dry the air inside your apartment – which can wreak havoc on the eyes, sinuses and throat. Conversely, summer’s higher humidity brings with it the risk for mold, pests, rot and, less ominous but just as icky is the potential for musty, dank odors – and it’s important to note that showering, cooking, and even breathing increases the humidity inside your apartment.
What To Do if Humidity’s Too High
There are a host of ways to keep indoor humidity levels in the comfort zone. The easiest way to tamp down high humidity is air conditioning. If your apartment has central a/c, you’ve got the No. 1 weapon. Of course, running the a/c nonstop could make your place colder than you’d prefer – and jack energy consumption to levels of discomfort that rival humidity when the electric bill arrives.
If you don’t have central air, a wall unit will work wonders for you moisture levels. Today’s a/c systems conform to higher standards, with energy-efficient compressors and fans. Be sure to choose the right size for your space, as well, and quality insulation products to ensure a tight seal within the window.
Keep those other self-induced moisture sources in mind, though, and you might help get a handle on things. Lids on boiling pots and cool, refreshing showers instead of steamy ones in summertime will help.
What To Do if Humidity’s Too Low
Depending on your age and where you grew up, you may envision clunky, sloshy, unattractive boxes your parents or grandparents used as humidifiers. We’re happy to let you know that technology has significantly streamlined this appliance for the new millennium. These days, they’re not only filtered, they’re borderline fashionable, with an appearance more like a biosphere or funky aquarium. Some are even designed to evenly distribute moisture throughout the space.
On a budget? There are some wonderfully low-tech ways to aid the process, as well. These include things as simple as allowing your dishes to air dry. While you’re at it, consider line drying your clothes inside, as well. Even more effective (plus it will reduce your heating costs): get a simple kit that allows you to vent your clothes dryer inside. Moisture from your drying clothes will stay in your apartment while simultaneously boosting temps. Enjoy those steamy showers with the door open and the vent fan off – extra moisture will stick around.
These techniques should help you maintain an ideal indoor humidity all year ‘round.
SEE ALSO: Top 5 DIY Skills for Renters
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