Summer’s High Humidity Affects Indoor Air Quality

Summer is almost here and with it we welcome the long-awaited warm weather but not the sticky, high levels of humidity that often come with it.  High humidity affects the quality of indoor air and can affect the health of you and your family in a variety of ways.

High humidity levels can cause mold, encourage dust mites which are a major cause of allergies, and cause a hot of problems in the home that can affect your physical health.  Visible signs of high humidity levels include condensation on windows, peeling wallpaper, damp patches on walls and ceilings, a musty smell and dampness.  But there are also numerous problems that go undetected because you can not see or smell them. 

A few of the most common health effects of too much moisture in the home include the following:

Dust mites:  At least 10 percent of the population suffers from a dust mite allergy.  Half of American homes have enough bedding with enough dust mite allergen to cause allergies.. Of these homes, 24 percent had levels that were five times greater than the threshold to cause allergic reactions.

To control dust mites, experts recommend regular cleaning to reduce dust, as well as encasing mattresses, box springs and pillows in allergy-free cases.  The more dust-free the home, the less likely it will be able to support significant populations of allergen0causing dust mites.  Some of the symptoms associated with it include sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal stuffiness, runny nose, stuffy ears, respiratory problems, atopic dermatitis and asthma.

Bacteria: you can't see or feel bacteria but they live on countertops, table surfaces, carpet, pillows, mattresses and just about anywhere people are.  Bacteria also grow profusely when there is plenty of moisture present.

Formaldehyde: When humidity levels are high, products such as furniture, cabinets, building materials and even some latex paints then to release formaldehyde into the air at a faster rate.  Studies have suggested that people exposed to formaldehyde levels ranging from 50 to 100 parts per billion for long periods of time are more likely to experience asthma-related respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and wheezing.

If you suspect that the air in your home is too moist, be sure to vent the areas that create moisture, like the show or bathroom.  You may also consider a whole home dehumidifier like the Aprilaire Model 1710A, 1730A,1750A or the 1770A.  The Aprilaire dehumidifiers can work independently or in tandem with the heating and cooling systems to remove extra moisture from your home.  A system like this will allow homeowners to achieve the EPA recommended humidity levels in the house of 30-50 percent.

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