You can see the effects of indoor humidity if you have a humidity problem: Condensation on walls and windows, musty smells, or perhaps dry, itchy skin and lots of static charge. But while humidity can certainly have a large impact on your home, you shouldn’t ignore the potential impacts on your health. Here are a few effects that dry or humid air can have upon your body.
- Humid environments lead to the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, and fungus, which can cause illness, trigger allergies, and aggravate conditions such as asthma when inhaled.
- High humidity inhibits the body’s ability to shed excess heat, making hot environments seem hotter. That’s the driving force between the heat index reported with the weather.
- Many people find it more difficult to breathe in extremely humid environments.
- Very dry environments can cause wallpaper, furnishings, and woodwork to degrade, increasing the amount of dust in the air. Dust can also trigger allergies, and the drier the air is, the more likely dust is to become airborne when the air is disturbed.
- Dry environments can dry out the skin, causing dehydration and skin irritation. Dehydration can lead to headaches and other symptoms.
- Some viruses, such as flu viruses, are more adapted to dry environments than wet ones, and will spread more easily when the air is very dry.
- Low humidity increases the risk of static shock, which, while uncomfortable, is usually not dangerous. It can, however, cause damage to electronics.
As you can see, both high humidity and low humidity can cause complications in your home. Using a dehumidifier or humidifier to achieve a balanced humidity can pay off in terms of health, temperature management, and home safety, and increase the efficiency of your home HVAC system, as well.