Everyone experiences personal discomfort when the humidity is too high. Your body reacts to heat and humidity. You sweat a lot - or more accurately your sweat evaporates more slowly so you end up hot and sweaty. While that alone isn’t too alarming, high indoor humidity can have serious adverse effects on your body. It is important to maintain the indoor humidity range between 40% and 60%.Living in a humid environment puts you at risk of being harmed by microscopic organisms. Mold and mildew spores prosper in damp places, and if they enter your body, they can cause a wide range of health issues and allergic reactions. Even if mold and mildew are not visible, they can hide in plain sight or behind walls.
HIGH HUMIDITY ENCOURAGES MITES, FUNGI AND OTHER ALLERGENS
Mites are the primary cause of house dust allergies. Studies done by the NIH show that the typical house mite thrives in a humidity of 70-80%. Maintaining an indoor humidity below 50%, virtually eliminates the risk of dust mites. According to Jens Korsgaard’s studies, the mite density is unaffected by the age of the building or the thoroughness of the cleaning methods. High humidity is the primary cause.
Additionally, indoor air pollution is largely generated by microbial pollution. Hundreds of species of fungi and bacteria grow indoor in a humid environment. Most fungi require a humidity level of over 75% to grow. The most notable effects are allergies, asthma, and increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms. Certain types of fungi can even cause hypersensitivity diseases in healthy persons. Indoor pollution also causes perturbations of the immune system, making you more sensible to diseases.
CHEMICAL INTERACTIONS WITH HIGH HUMIDITY
Many chemicals commonly found indoors interact with water vapors, forming respiratory and dermal irritants. The chemical interaction is accelerated for buildings that contain formaldehyde materials, gas stoves and are geographically placed near outdoor sources of water-reactive air pollutants.
Low-level exposure to formaldehyde produces adverse health effects: irritation of the eyes, throat and skin, and respiratory allergies. A CDC climate chamber investigation found that the concentrations of formaldehyde in the air depend on the relative humidity at a particular temperature.
Sulfur dioxide can act as a respiratory irritant and cause bronchial constriction. It combines with water vapors to form aerosols containing sulfuric acid and sulfate salts that are more irritating than the sulfur itself.
The interaction of water vapors with nitrogen dioxide forms nitrous and nitric acids. These acids play a decisive role in decreased pulmonary function and respiratory illnesses.
AS MANY AS 1 IN 2 HOMES SUFFER FROM EXCESSIVE DAMPNESS
The prevalence of indoor dampness varies within countries, continents and climate zones. In North America, Europe, Australia, Japan and India it is estimated to affect up to 50% of all indoor environments. In coastal areas and river valleys, the occurrence of excessively damp conditions is substantially higher than the nationwide averages. The most important trigger of microorganism growth is the amount of humidity in your house. Microbial growth generates a great number of allergens, organic compounds, and spores in the air you breathe.
According to the CDC, excessive moisture and dampness puts you at risk of asthma and other respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing. Several studies conducted in the United States by Mudarri and Fisk in 2007, estimate the prevalence of mold and dampness in houses to be around 50%. Dampness is a sign of poor ventilation. This increases the levels of certain harmful pollutants and chemical emissions from building materials.
According to a study by Fisk, Mendell and Lei-Gomez in 2007, more than 21% of current asthma in America is attributed to dampness and mold.
HOW TO DEAL WITH HIGH HUMIDITY
Here are a few of things that can help you deal with high humidity. You can:
- Use electric fans and air conditioning
- Improve the ventilation
- Keep the windows open
- Install fans and vents in the bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, common sources of indoor moisture
- Use a dehumidifier
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
SensorPush is a Bluetooth hygrometer that accurately tracks and monitors ambient conditions in your home. It is a compact device that uses the best Swiss sensing technology to offer you accurate temperature and humidity data over time. The information can be displayed on Android or Apple iOS mobile devices. SensorPush records data once per minute. It pushes the data to the mobile application whenever it is within Bluetooth range. The mobile application stores the entire data history so you always have a clear picture of the conditions in your home. This helps you begin to understand the interactions of various factors that create or solve problems.
Our award-winning team designed the application to be as user-friendly and easy to understand as possible. You can also export the data from SensorPush in CSV format and view it in Excel or another program.
It only takes a few seconds to set up SensorPush. Then you can place it wherever you like, even hard to reach or out-of-sight places. You can easily read the data from your phone. Once installed, SensorPush will monitor the data and can even alert you when ambient conditions deviate from the range you have chosen. Only with accurate humidity data, logged over time, can you take proper actions in improving and maintaining your health and comfort and verify their effectiveness.