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How Low Humidity Affects Air Quality

C onsider the time you spend indoors. Studies say that we spend almost 90% of our life away from open places. We sleep indoors, work indoors, do sports indoors, and even our hobbies have become more dependent on closed spaces. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We are protected from all sorts of weather inconveniences like direct heat, the frost of winter, or rain and snow with which people had to deal at the beginnings of history. But at the same time, we tend to breathe less fresh air and have to deal with indoor pollution.

Another factor that influences our health is relative humidity, which can be either too high or too low, depending on the area where we live or the season. The effects are diverse and can vary from mild symptoms to chronic illnesses that affect the quality of life.

Today, we will discuss the effects of low humidity upon the human body. We will focus on explaining how humidity works and how it can be measured. At the same time, we will describe the symptoms that can appear when the air doesn’t have a good charge of moisture and the actions you can perform to improve your overall health. So, keep on reading to find out if you are dealing with this phenomenon.

How Low Humidity Affects Your Health Image

What is Relative Humidity?

RH is a report between two factors:

  • The amount of moisture in the air – also known as vapor density
  • The amount of moisture the air can hold at a given temperature – or saturation vapor density

As it is a percentual value, the report is multiplied by 100.

This value can give you valuable information about the air moisture levels in your home, so it is important to make good measurements. It is best to keep an eye on RH by using an indoor hygrometer to check the values daily and see if they oscillate. Below, we will show you that there are other signs that can indicate a low RH, but they aren’t as accurate as a mechanical measurement.

What Is a Good Humidity Level for a Home?

Once you have measured humidity, it is time to assess if the value you have obtained indicates that you have moisture or dryness problems. Thus, the following question emerges: how low or high should humidity be not to affect your life? Some specialists say it should remain between 30% and 50%, while others accept everything that stays between 30% and 60% as healthy. What is certain though is that if RH drops under 30%, you will start experiencing the symptoms of dry air. And your home as well. You may see furniture cracking along with your skin and your plants slowly dying.

One interesting fact about humidity, it is correlated with temperature, so it is normal that during the summer days to experience higher values, while in the winter the measurements may show lower numbers. Here is how RH should vary according to outdoor temperature:

  • Over 50 degrees FahreheitRH should be around 50%
  • Over 20 degrees FahrenheitThe maximum RH value should be 40%
  • Between 10 and 20 degrees FahrenheitMaximum 35% RH
  • Between 0 and 10 degrees FahrenheitAround 30% RH

The temperatures may drop under 0 degrees Fahrenheit and this will force the RH to reach values under 30% but these are exceptional cases and it is normal to experience levels of 25% or even 20%, but if the situation is temporary, you won’t need to take immediate action.

During the winter, you will want to maintain the environment humid but warm. Take a look at our selection of warm mist humidifiers, designed to provide relief during colds and coughs.

Woman with dry skin Image

Symptoms Associated with Low RH

  • Itchy skin and eyes – The lack of moisture on the surface of the skin makes it dry and prone to fine cracks and itches. The eyes go through the same situation
  • Sore throat – As the air inhaled lacks moisture it will dry the mouth and the throat
  • Stuffy nose – It goes the same for the nose. The skin and the cilia inside lose their ability to act as a barrier against bacteria and viruses, and this makes you more prone to catching a cold or the flu
  • Aggravated allergy symptoms – They develop even if it isn’t allergy season and even if you use an air purifier to fight them, the effects may not disappear in case they are produced by low RH
  • Frequent respiratory infections – Since the nasal membrane is affected, and your natural filtering system cannot do its job properly, the risk is more increased, especially in the winter

Your home can tell you if you have low RH problems. Keep an eye on the furniture. If it began to crack, this could be a sign. At the same time, if your plants look sick or become to dry, it’s time to check the RH.

Sollutions for Low Humidity Image

How to Deal with the Effects?

Once you have discovered the cause, there are several measures you can take:

  • Strategically place wet towels or clothes around the house – As they dry all the moisture will be released into the air, modifying the RH and creating a more comfortable environment
  • Pair your heating system with a whole-house humidifier – You can choose a furnace model and solve the problem of dry air during the winter
  • Take hot showers or steam baths often – Steam is water in gaseous form so it will moisturize the air
  • Place a recipient with water in every room – Is a cheaper alternative to an evaporative humidifier that can have excellent results if you remember to refill the recipient regularly
  • Boil water – If you feel that the air is particularly dry, place a pot filled with water on the stove and let the steam cover the space

Check out Crane EE-8065 for both warm and cool mist humidification. It incorporates an innovative antimicrobial technology that prevents bacteria and mold growth, thus offering the guarantee that the moist air will be safe to breathe.

Bottom Line

Low humidity is usually associated with cold weather, so this is when you will want to pay closer attention to the symptoms. It is the period of the year when you turn on the heater and expect to receive the comfort of warmth. But this tends to suck the moisture in the air, so make sure you take your measures before the symptoms appear. Just for this season renounce the dryer and hang the clothes inside or go for a warm-mist humidifier that can help you go easier through seasonal colds. Last but not least, don’t let low air moisture ruin your plants and furniture. At the first sign of dry leaves or cracks, check the RH value.

Lillian Davies
Lillian Davies
Lillian is a fresh college graduate who has lived in Tucson for most of her life, battling the torrid heat ever since she was a child. She is quite versed in the topic of thermal comfort and what solutions work to make conditions more bearable when the temperatures go haywire, which makes her knowledgeable in the topics she writes about here. Since she is a perfectionist, Lilian always takes time to polish her articles before release, which makes her an irreplaceable part of the team.

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