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Considering we spend a large portion of our day in our homes, making sure the air we breathe indoors is clean and healthy is very important. One way to improve your indoor air quality is by maintaining good relative air humidity.

Relative humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air – in relation to the temperature. You’ll see relative humidity labeled as a percentage, which is the amount of water vapor currently in the air compared to the total amount that’s possible at that given temperature. Depending on the weather outside, the humidity levels in your home should fall somewhere around 30-50 percent.

What affects indoor humidity levels?

The air inside wants to mimic the air outside. Outdoor air that is too moist or too dry will directly influence your home’s relative air humidity. During the cold, winter months, when the air outside holds less water vapor, it is recommended to keep your home at a humidity level of at least 40 percent. However, in the summer, air will usually hold more water vapor – so your home’s levels shouldn’t exceed 50 percent.

Why are indoor humidity levels important?

Too much or too little humidity can have negative effects on both your health and your home. During these hot, dry, summer days, having indoor air that doesn’t have enough moisture can cause physical discomfort like dry or cracked skin, chapped lips, nosebleeds and sore throat. Along with irritated skin, dry air can also make you more susceptible to allergies, cold and flu viruses and sinus infections.

The wooden frame of your home also needs the right amount of moisture to avoid structural damage. Not enough humidity can crack and warp wooden floors, walls, windows and furniture.

How to get ideal humidity levels

One way to ensure indoor air quality is by utilizing a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to dry air and help keep the humidity in your home at an appropriate level. Hygrometers are another useful tool if you want to regularly check your home’s relative air humidity.

However, you don’t want excess moisture in your home, either. To avoid the spread and growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and viruses caused by high humidity, make sure your AC is in good condition. Air conditioners moderate your home’s humidity by pulling moisture out of the air as they run. If your AC isn’t functioning correctly or the air in your home feels muggy, a proper AC replacement may be the solution.

If you have questions about the ideal humidity levels for your home or if you are in need of AC replacement in Sacramento, feel free to contact Big Mountain Heating and Air to talk with a trusted HVAC specialist today.