Stuck inside this winter? Make sure your home is healthy.
Let’s face it: we’re not going back to whatever “normal” used to be anytime soon. In the meantime, while vaccines slowly begin to roll out and COVID cases continue to rise across the country, we’ve got to settle in at home and make sure we’re as safe and comfortable as possible through the spring.
Of course, a lot of us are using this time at home to make those improvements to our homes we’ve been thinking about for years. We’re redoing our kitchens, carving out workspaces and putting pools in our backyards to stay cool.
But while you’ve gotten the comfort part down, have you considered whether your home is healthy and not making you feel sick? One big factor that can affect how we feel inside our home is the humidity level or the amount of moisture in the air relative to the temperature. If you have low relative humidity, it can cause physical symptoms to manifest and if it’s too high, you can end up with a different set of problems. Just like Goldilocks, you need to find something that’s just right.
When Your Home’s Humidity is Too Low
Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air and when temperatures outside go down, your relative humidity tends to plummet as well. While that can cause things in your home to react, like your hardwood floors to separate and wallpaper to begin to peel, low relative humidity can also wreak havoc on your health.
Ever wonder why your hair gets staticky in the winter and your lips and skin feel dry and chapped? Blame the humidity in your home. But while those discomforts are merely annoying, low relative humidity inside your home can also cause the mucous membranes in your nose and throat to dry out and your eyes to feel gritty, stuck and irritated. For those struggling with respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis, dry air indoors can worsen symptoms and cause additional discomfort. Even more alarming in these COVID times, research shows that the coronavirus spreads more easily in low humidity.
“A home with low relative humidity (“RH”) can be very dangerous,” says Wayne Stock, owner of Stock Environmental Consulting. “We are always concerned about mold when there is a water incident, but homeowners need to be aware of the dangers of a home where the RH is way too low. It can lead to many health issues.”
When Your Home’s Humidity is Too High
When humidity levels swing in the opposite direction inside your home, it’s an invitation for mold to grow and settle in. And unlike more discerning visitors to your home, mold is happy to dig in just about anywhere – from carpeting and mattresses to the inside of poorly maintained air conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers.
For homeowners who found themselves with water leaks inside their homes at the start of COVID but didn’t want to go through the process of ripping things out to fully address the problem, hidden mold could be the source of that funny odor in your home. Now’s the time to rip off that Band-Aid and see what’s living under it.
If you’ve either seen or smelled something you think might be mold growing inside your home, we’re here to help. Our experts at Stock Environmental Consulting have over 20 years of experience making sure our clients’ homes are safe and healthy and we can bring the same care and commitment to your living situation. Call (732) 383-5190 to schedule a consultation today.
How to Get Your Home’s Humidity to be ‘Just Right’
Homeowners can use a room-by-room approach to balancing humidity within a home with portable humidifiers and dehumidifiers, which will sense the amount of moisture in the air and proceed accordingly.
Installing a whole-home humidifier addresses moisture levels throughout the home, adding moisture in the drier winter months and some models will act as dehumidifiers as humidity levels rise during the summer. Whichever route you choose to help manage humidity in your home, make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and service often.
As we navigate these (hopefully) last few months staying close to home, it’s important to make sure our home’s not making us sick and to be able to identify exactly what’s making us feel lousy.
Call the experts at Stock Environmental Consulting for your free consultation and schedule a visit from one of our experts to ensure your home is healthy for you and your family