Indoor Air Quality: For Comfort and Health

Posted On: September 09, 2014

Does the air in your home feel damp? Have you found spots of mold on your ceilings or around windows? Or does your family suffer from dry skin year-round? These could be signs that the inside of your home has too much or too little moisture. Luckily, there are ways to remedy these problems and other indoor air quality (IAQ) issues.

Too Tropical? Time to Dehumidify.

Signs that your home may have too much moisture inside include:

  • Condensation on windows and glass doors – Condensation or fog on windows and glass typically indicates that there is too much moisture in the construction materials surrounding the glass or that the window or door isn’t sealed or flashed properly. In addition to repairing the seal, using a dehumidifier in the affected room can help reduce the moisture level.
  • A musty odor, either concentrated to one space or throughout the house – That musty odor means mold or mildew. Again, this may be caused by improper installation of construction materials or leaks in ceilings or walls. A dehumidifier will help dry out the space, but you’ll also want to have a professional take a look to identify the source of the problem.
  • Mold growth on ceilings, walls, and other surfaces – If you see mold in your bathroom or laundry room, it is most likely caused by ineffective ventilation. Check your bathroom fan and the vents connected to your dryer and have them cleared or repaired if necessary. Use a dehumidifier to get rid of the excess moisture.

More Like a Desert? Just Add Water.

How can you tell if the air inside your home is too dry? Telltale symptoms include:

  • Dry skin and nasal passages, even when the weather outside isn’t dry – If you and your family are suffering from uncomfortably dry skin, it’s highly likely that your home isn’t retaining enough moisture. This dryness can also exacerbate eczema symptoms.
  • Wood furniture or other wood items cracking inexplicably – Yes, your house can get so dry that it causes wood to crack! The lack of moisture can also damage other natural and porous materials.
  • Excessive static electricity – Adding moisture to the air helps prevent static buildup and can help keep you from getting zapped and shocked throughout your house.

What’s the Right Level of Humidity for Your Home?

The optimum humidity level in your home should be less than 60 percent in the summer and between 25 and 40 percent in the winter, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If your home is having trouble maintaining those levels, a humidifier or dehumidifier can significantly increase your comfort level.

Ductwork and IAQ

Keeping your ductwork clean and free of obstructions is critical to achieving a healthy IAQ in your home. An annual ductwork inspection and cleaning can help keep the air in your home free of irritants and can pinpoint potential problems before they require costly repairs.

If you want to know more about IAQ and maintaining comfort inside your home, contact Metro East Illinois’ Ernst Heating & Cooling.

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