Humidity has a number of benefits, such as reducing the risk of spreading airborne diseases. However, too much humidity in your apartment can cause problems. Excessive humidity can promote mold growth, create health problems, and even lead to heat exhaustion. If the air in your apartment is thick and humid, finding the cause can help you identify and quickly adopt a solution to achieve the ideal indoor humidity level in no time.
How do I know if my apartment is too humid?
Your apartment may be too humid if you experience these signs:
- The air is stale: Too much humidity can usually lead to inhibited airflow, leaving your space thick and still. It can also promote the presence of indoor air pollutants, such as dust mites. If the air in your home seems stale, try using an air purifier to freshen the environment.
- Windows or other surfaces have condensation: Surfaces such as pipes, mirrors and windows collect condensation in the presence of moisture. To see if moisture has spread from these surfaces, feel the moisture in the surrounding areas. Surfaces that remain wet can cause long-term problems.
- There are stains on your walls or ceiling: Foreign moisture may cause discoloration. Although often difficult to spot, it can be a sure sign of too much humidity. Additionally, excess moisture in the air can cause floorboards to crack and crumble stucco.
- Your space smells musty or mildew: Excessive humidity can often promote mold growth. To check if your home smells of mold or mildew, take a deep breath as soon as you enter the space. After breathing fresh air, any unusual odor will be easier to detect.
- You have allergic type symptoms: The moisture and mold it can cause can manifest itself in physical symptoms. If you, a family member, or a roommate suffers from excessive headaches, shortness of breath, or a persistent cough, it may be due to humidity. Other symptoms of exposure to mold include blocked nasal passages and irritation of the eyes, skin, or throat.
- You constantly feel exhausted: In addition to experiencing the symptoms listed above, those who live in homes with excessive humidity may experience dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion. This happens because the moisture in the area traps your sweat against your skin, preventing it from evaporating naturally. While you are working to dehumidify your home, drink plenty of water and avoid excessive physical activity.
If you’ve checked for these signs of humidity and want a second opinion, humidity monitors are also available for a relatively low cost. You can use a humidity monitor to check your home’s humidity against ideal humidity levels. Ideal indoor humidity levels are between 40% and 60%, with the lower percentage more likely in winter and the higher range in summer.
Why is my apartment so humid?
Potential sources of excessive moisture include:
- Leaks: The most obvious cause of humidity, leaks (especially small leaks) can go unnoticed and wreak havoc in your apartment. Report any leaks to your landlord so they can fix them as quickly as possible.
- Poor ventilation: Maintaining an appropriate level of air circulation in your home helps counter the release of moisture that occurs when you perform routine activities such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. Poor ventilation can usually result from a lack of fans or windows.
How to achieve the ideal indoor humidity level
Once you know the cause of the humidity in your apartment, it’s easy to find a solution and achieve the ideal indoor humidity. Here are some ways to combat excess humidity in your apartment:
- Ventilate your space: To promote ventilation in your home, simply open a window or turn on a fan. Turn on your exhaust fan whenever you cook, especially if you are steaming or boiling food. If you don’t have a fan in your bathroom, consider opening a window when you take a bath or shower.
- Turn on the air conditioner: While reducing the use of your air conditioner can save you money, it can also contribute to humidity. To keep the air in your apartment moving on cooler days when you don’t feel like you need the air conditioner, set your thermostat a little higher than normal. You should also replace your air filter regularly to keep your air conditioner working optimally. Ideally, you should replace your air filter once every one to three months depending on how often you use your HVAC unit and if you have pets.
- Use a dehumidifier: A dehumidifier helps remove excess moisture from your apartment. A dehumidifier can also eliminate odors, stop the growth and spread of mold, preserve household furniture, and banish unwanted pests.
If you find that humidity continues to be a problem in your home, there are several long term solutions that you can try as well. After trying the solutions above, consider speaking with your landlord about:
- Caulking: By lining surfaces that are constantly subject to humidity in your apartment, you are essentially waterproofing your space. You will especially want to check for caulking around areas such as sinks, toilets, tubs, and faucets.
- Weather stripping: The same logic that makes caulking beneficial also applies to the exterior of your apartment. Weatherstripping, typically done around doors and windows, helps seal your home against moisture and prevent conditioned air from escaping. By insulating your apartment, you may also be able to save money on your electricity bill.
- Insulation: Similar to weatherstripping, making sure your apartment is properly insulated can also help prevent heat from escaping and moisture from entering.
The ideal indoor humidity is between 40% and 60%. The humidity in this rancid can be easier on your respiratory system, banish allergens, promote better sleep, and be beneficial to your health and well-being. The sooner you can get your humidity to ideal levels, the better off you’ll feel and the safer your home will be.
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