[Humidity and Excessive Moisture]

Excessive moisture in the home almost always results in indoor health risks.

Clearly, any kind of water or moisture leak in a home will cause a host of issues, ranging from mold growth to structural damage. Though not as obvious, higher than normal humidity can affect also affect the indoor air quality in your home. Here in the desert southwest where the air is typically very dry, humidity can play an important role in comfort and indoor air quality in a home.

Humidity is a measure of the quantity of water vapor in the air throughout your home.  Studies have shown that the ideal relative humidity in a home should range from 30% to 50%.

When humidity starts to exceed 50%, issues can arise throughout the home. With higher than recommended humidity, mold spores begin to grow and multiply. Wood swells and doors stick. Prolonged moisture in the air will cause wood to start to deteriorate.

Common places to find higher humidity in your home are in the kitchen and bathrooms. Prolonged showers without using exhaust fans, boiling water on the stove, etc. can lead to these moisture issues in the home.

Humidity in the home can easily be limited by controlling the source. In kitchens and bathrooms, use exhaust fans to vent out. Be sure fresh air is introduced into the environment while exhausting old, stale and damp air from the home. You will also be adding to the humidity levels in your home; one person breathing produces about ¼ cup of water within an hour’s time.

Outdoor temperatures can have an effect on the humidity within the home. The warmer the climate, the more likely the air is going to hold onto moisture. Cooler temperatures do not hold onto as much moisture in the air as warmer temperatures.

Also, clothes dryers can be another source of excessive moisture in the air. Dryers should be properly vented outdoors to limit the additional moisture and humidity from entering into the air.

Additionally, higher humidity in the summer time translates into higher cooling bills. As the humidity increases in the air, it takes an air conditioner longer to extract the excessive moisture from the air before it can cool it.