Achieving a comfortable level of relative humidity in the home is a delicate balancing act. Not only can dry air and muggy air wreak havoc on your health, they also negatively affect your home and the furnishings in it. Improving your home’s indoor air quality requires as little as a simple addition or two.
No matter how dry air can feel at a given time, it always carries in it at least a little bit of water vapour. Warm air is capable of holding more water vapour than dry air. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers, in the simplest explanation, are used to reverse these sometimes uncomfortable realities.
The more time you spend in dry-air conditions the more difficult simple things like breathing become. You can adjust the air’s relative humidity by using one of the many types of humidifier. In each design the function is basically the same: a source of water is evaporated at low pressure and temperature which is then dispersed into the air.
Humidifiers are divided into two general categories: portable (or room units) and whole-home (used in conjunction with a central air system like the furnace, and vented through the ductwork). Portable units are valuable precisely because of their portability, but that doesn’t necessarily address all the issues caused by dry air. Cracked wood, for example, created when it shrinks from a loss of moisture, can be a problem all throughout the house.
For ideal comfort experts recommend a relative humidity level between 30 and 50 per cent. When it becomes too high the result can be equally problematic. High levels of humidity can create mould in the home, window condensation and can cause wood to expand as it takes on more moisture (the shift is easiest to notice in hardwood flooring, where gaps between planks appear and disappear like the seasons). Dehumidifiers, too, can come in portable or whole-home models.
Appleby Systems carries, installs and services a wide selection of whole house humidifiers and dehumidifiers. For more information visit www.applebysystems.ca.